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Poker News | PokerWorks Op-Ed

Poker Plus - The Game of People

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To quote one of PokerWorks bloggers, Linda Geenen, “Poker is a game of people played with cards.” That is a great saying and hits the nail squarely on the head.

For many players, anonymity is one of the things they love about playing online. They don’t have to talk to anyone and can remain a faceless entity. But for many it is and will always remain a game of people, a way to participate in a game, have fun, interact with real people and have human contact with the world.

This point was driven home for me in a recent 7 Card Stud hi/lo game on PokerStars. The game was 2/4 limit and had a good mix of average and loose players. When I first got in the game I saw chat going on between “PB” and “Ax” which was rather heated. As it continued, I watched “PB” call “Ax” every kind of insulting name including moran (which I took to mean moron). Ax took it pretty much in stride, laughing at “PB” because she was beating the pulp out of the whiner.

There are hundreds, maybe thousands of Rudes out there like “PB” and they are what most of us call sore losers. These are the players that think everyone that beats them is a donk or some form of idiot; because they are the best thing the green felt has ever seen. They really believe they are too good to ever lose, their skills being so far superior to the rest of us. No one likes to lose, but it is part of the game and if you haven’t figured that out yet, then maybe you should take up darts and forget poker. If you haven’t learned yet how to lose gracefully, then you should at least learn how to be quiet.

Even the loosest players think they play good and if you are a serious poker player, you want them to keep thinking that. Making derogatory remarks about their play is looking a gift horse in the mouth and the most detrimental thing a player can do in a game. Insulting a loose player can only hurt your winning potential because they will either leave or play tighter, either of which lessens your chances of winning their chips. Plus, rude players can destroy a good game, thereby hurting YOUR chances of winning, which is what happened in the Stud game I was in.

I admit, I am seldom at a table where there is a lot of player interaction, so this was a rare occurrence and I found it very enjoyable. Thankfully, “PB” rude #1, went broke and the game got more lively and chatty. It seemed the more the players chatted the more they played, making the pots much bigger. Maybe players play more when they are enjoying themselves? It sure seemed like it.

While the players were chatting I found out some interesting facts about my opponents; player #1 goes to the WSOP every year as he has for the last 32 years and he used to live in Las Vegas. He is obviously an older retired gent, now living in Oregon and lost his daughter to cancer. This is a nice guy, the kind of rare player who says NH (nice hand) if you beat him and never insults anyone or complains. He is great in and for a game and I wish every table I played at was full of players just like him.

Player #8 also came across as a very nice guy, wishing player #1 luck in the WSOP and saying he would be rooting for him, even though he didn’t know who to watch for. The chatter centered on the WSOP for awhile, then player #8 said how nice it was to play with friendly folks as he is alone and housebound. He told us he is ill, heart problems, and he doesn’t have long on the green felt of life.

While player #1 and I were offering our sympathies to player #8, Rude #2, “USC” joined in, telling player #8 that no one cared or wanted to hear his sob stories. Of course no one was talking to Rude #2, so maybe he just wanted attention but most likely he is just a miserable person and wants to drag others into his misery. How anyone that claims to be a human being can say such rude things to a lonely, dying, very nice guy….is way beyond my comprehension. This is why so many players commented to “USC” that he had no class and should shut up. But of course Rudes never keep quiet or they wouldn’t be Rudes.

The result of the inhumane comments by “USC” caused player #8 to leave telling myself and player #1 he would look for us again to play, but couldn’t take “USC” anymore. When player #8 left, the game changed a lot - for the worse. The whole friendly social atmosphere was gone and players quit playing. Several players commented to Rude that he should be quiet but of course that only made him more obnoxious.

For me the game was over and I quit as did player #1. The result was “USC” was left at a short-handed table and most of the chips were gone. What did he accomplish? He lost his chances of winning by destroying a good game, so if that was his goal, he succeeded.

Exactly what can we learn from all of this? It is a fact that the more we know about our opponents, the better chance we have of beating them. The way we learn about them is watching, talking to them, and taking notes. The information I gained was invaluable to me because I now know player #8 is just a social player and player #1 has a good grasp of the game, although my notes said different. Not to mention the two Rudes who are just plain losers.

The next time you play, don’t ignore the social aspect of the game, remember these are not nameless icons on a screen, they are real people whose lives may be made better just by your friendliness. It is very humbling to think that just by playing poker and being nice, you could be making someone’s life a little brighter and more bearable.

And what should you do about the Rudes? Report them! Don’t let them get away with the verbal abuse and ruining your game, immediately report them to support. When you report an abusive player, copy/paste the offensive chat into the email so the support staff can review the chat log. To investigate your report, support will need to know what table, game and the offending player’s online name. Email your complaint to (example: and put “chat abuse” in the subject line. Depending on how offensive the support staff thinks the chat is, they will either warn the Rude or revoke their chat privileges. I am glad I reported the Rudes in the game I was in, and happy that PokerStars handled it appropriately. These two Rudes at least won’t be insulting the nice guys anymore or ruining games for the rest of us.

Play nice, have fun and remember, poker really IS a game of people played with cards!

Grab a chair….see you there!

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