New Players

The good player mentions poker to all potential losers. He gauges his comments to bring out their poker interests. The more he mentions poker, the more potential players are revealed. He hunts for losers, and evaluates all potential players with respect to the maximum income that could be extracted from them.

John Finn tries to fill the Monday night game with at least eight players. He has a nucleus of five players (Sid, Ted, Scotty, Quintin, and himself) who have played regularly over the years. Two or three other players regularly circulate in and out of the game; they usually survive three to twelve months, sometimes longer. Also eight or nine different men play sporadically or when coaxed. Those irregular players provide important income and are valuable for filling and stabilizing the game.

About half of the new players are introduced to the Monday game by John. His major source of new players is other, lower-stake poker games. Mentioning poker to social and business acquaintances generates a few players, especially for the smaller games. Some of those players later graduate to the big game.

a. Keeping players (107)

If a new player is a financial asset, the good player keeps him in the game by--

  • being friendly and helpful to him (especially if the new player is timid or nervous)
  • making him feel that the game is relaxed and enjoyable
  • countering other players' remarks and actions that may upset him (probably more players quit poker because of hurt feelings than because of hurt finances)
  • avoiding overpowering or scaring him
  • not taking full advantage of his weaknesses
  • making him feel that he is a welcome member of the group
  • favoring him whenever possible
  • flattering him when he wins and offering him sympathy when he loses
  • giving him encouragement and advice about the game.

John Finn brings a new player, Aaron Smith, to the big Monday night game. Although Aaron plays in the lower-stake Friday night game, he is timid and nervous. Knowing that Aaron will lose many thousands of dollars if he becomes a permanent player, John sits next to him and helps him whenever possible. He protects Aaron from upsetting losses that could scare him out of the game. He shields him from derogatory remarks that could insult him out of the game. John knows that Aaron will absorb large losses and take insults gracefully once he gets accustomed to the game and its players.

Whenever John folds, he studies Aaron's hand and gives him sound advice; John helps him to a winning night. Aaron is excited ... his confidence increases and his fear decreases. Whenever Sid throws an insulting remark at Aaron, John counters with an ego-boosting comment. By his third game, Aaron Smith is hooked; he loves the Monday night game and its players. At that point, John withdraws his help and Aaron is on his own.

When Aaron Smith (or any big loser) gets discouraged and contemplates quitting, John Finn extends his protection to hold the loser in the game through the crisis.

b. Rejecting players (108)

If a new player is a financial liability, the good player gets him out of the game. The simplest way to eliminate an undesirable player is not to invite him to the next game. If this is not possible, the good player forces him out by--

  • instigating unpleasant and unfriendly incidents toward him
  • insulting him
  • hurting his feelings
  • refusing him credit
  • telling him not to play again.

Scotty Nichols brings a new player, Boris Klien, to the Monday night game. John Finn quickly realizes that Boris is a winning player who will drain money from the game. Boris's winning will increase the financial strain on the losers, which in turn will force John to reduce his winnings in order to keep those losers in the game. Boris is a financial liability and therefore an undesirable player. John wants him out of the game, quickly and permanently:

"Highball draw with a twist," Quintin Merck announces. John notices how Boris carefully watches the deck for flashed cards during the deal.

John checks. Boris opens for $5.

"Five bucks? We ain't playing penny-ante," Sid says while raising to $30. "You've gotta bet something in this game."

"I'll just call; now you can reraise to fifty," Quintin adds as he winks at Boris. "I'll raise ... fifty-five dollars," Boris responds in a clipped voice. "Hey, he knows what he's doing," Sid says. "He sandbagged us!"

On the draw, Boris raps his knuckles on the table. "Pat!" he says sharply and then bets $50. Sid folds and Quintin calls.

On the twist, Quintin draws one card. Boris again plays pat and then holds a $50 bill over the pot.

"Put your money in if you're betting," John Finn snaps and then turns to Quintin and continues, "That's an old bluff trick . . ."

Boris scowls at John.

"Forget it," Quintin says, folding his hand without realizing what John is telling him. "I just had two little pair."

Boris grabs the pot and shouts, "Looky here!" He then spreads his cards face-up across the table to reveal a worthless hand.

"He's got nothing!" Ted Fehr rasps "He pulls a pat bluff on his first hand and wins a three-hundred-dollar pot!"

"Wise guy," Quintin says while scowling at Boris' worthless cards. The other players sit in frowning silence.

Over the next hour, Boris Klien plays very tight. He avoids all action until a lowball hand with John Finn. The pot is large; and after the last bet, only Boris and John remain. Boris turns his cards face-up and declares his hand. John says nothing, so Boris reaches for the pot.

"Keep your hands off my money," John snarls.

"Uh? What do ya mean?" Boris asks. "I won, didn't

"Can't you read?" John says while turning his winning hand face-up on the table. He then snatches the pot from under Boris' stiffened fingers.

"Why didn't you declare your hand?" Boris asks.

"Why didn't you look at my cards?" John growls out of the twisted corner of his mouth. "This is a poker game, buddy boy. Cards speak for themselves, remember?"

"Wish I hadn't come to this game," Boris mumbles to Scotty Nichols. "I'm not only losing, but I'm getting a bad time."

"Wish I hadn't come myself," Scotty whines. "Lost all my money I won last week." "Yeah, but I . . ."

"Listen," John says, shaking his finger close to Boris' face, "no one made you play. If you don't like our game . . . get out!"

Three hours later Boris Klien is winning over $400.

"He's taking all our money," Sid Bennett remarks.

"I started out losing four hundred," Boris says, trying not to smile. "I'm still stuck a hundred." "Liar!" John snaps. "You're up four hundred bucks Scotty, where'd you dig up this clod?" "At this point, I don't know or care," Scotty groans. "I'm losing plenty, and Boris won most of it." "This is my last round," Boris says. "I've . . ."

"The bore is even a hit-and-run artist!" John cries while snapping his hand on the table. "Plan on this being your last round--permanently!"

Boris frowns. Then, looking at his pile of money, his frown disappears.

"Seven-card stud, high-low with qualifiers and one twist," John announces as he deals. "Trips-eight,"[ 26 ] he adds in a whispering voice.

After the sixth card, John raises on his low hand and drives out the other low hands. By the last card, only Boris remains; he calls John's final $30 bet John wins low.

"Don't know why you were wasting our time by betting," Boris says, while showing his two pair. "We just split the pot. Obviously you're low and I'm high."

"Look at that hand!" John hoots as he points to Boris' cards. "The sucker calls all my big bets and doesn't even qualify for high. I get the whole pot!"

"What do ya mean I don't qualify?" Boris sputters. "I got two pair."

"Three of a kind qualifies for high, you creep," John says as he shoves Boris' cards into the deck. "Trips for qualifiers!" Boris shouts. "They've been two pair all night." "I announced trips-eight," John says with a laugh. "You'd better clean your ears, clod." "I heard him announce it," Ted Fehr mutters weakly.

"Yeah?... Well, then it'd be impossible for me to call," Boris says, reaching for the pot. "I'm taking back my last bet."

"It stays in the pot," John growls, slapping his hand over the money. "When you make a stupid play, buster, you pay for it."

"I've had enough," Boris says, getting up to leave.

"You're winning," Scotty whines. "Sit down and play awhile."

"Let the rock go. We'll play longer without him bothering us," John says. Then, turning to Boris, he makes a sharp hitchhiking motion toward the door. "So long, sucker, hope we never see you again."

"I won't be back," Boris huffs.

"Good!" John yells. Boris grabs his coat and leaves, slamming the front door.

"He'll never come back," Scotty Nichols says while scratching his head. "Why so rough on him? He's an honest player."

"He's a milker," John explains gently. "He hangs back and waits for a big hand to kill you with. Look how he hurt you tonight. Why should we let a stranger in our game to leech money from the regular players? Not only that, he cries when he wins, tries to take back bets, lies about his winnings, and leaves early when he's ahead."

"Don't understand it," Scotty says. "Seemed like a nice guy outside of the game. Maybe we should give him another chance."

"Don't ask him back," John replies. "He'd ruin our game."

"You're probably right," Scotty says, nodding his head. "I'll tell him to stay away." "Besides, he's a good player," Sid Bennett adds. "We need more fish with lots of money." "More players like Sid," Quintin says as his leathery face breaks into a smile.

c. Women Players (109)

The mind and character are neuter. Rationality, competence, and objectivity are human traits, not sexual traits. Poker, therefore, is an activity in which women not only can compete with men, but can regularly beat them by applying the Advanced Concepts of Poker.

Moreover, women have basic advantages over men players. For example, because women represent only a small minority of players in serious or high-stake poker games, they can gain more experience against male opponents than men can gain against female opponents. That advantage is similar to the advantage held by left-handed pitchers, boxers, and tennis players who can gain more experience against right-handed opponents than their right-handed counterparts can gain against left-handed opponents.

A woman's greatest advantage, however, comes from exploiting her opponents' misconceptions about women lacking the "killer instinct" to compete against tough players in high-stake poker. As shown by the Advanced Concepts, winning poker requires discipline, thought, and control--not the so-called killer instinct. Winning poker demands objective attitudes and clear conceptions of reality. The "inferiorplayer" view of women is a nonobjective, flawed view. So the woman player who is not inferior can profitably exploit all opponents who stereotype her as an innately inferior player and thus misplay her.

Still, the woman player will encounter stubborn machismo attitudes, especially when she tries to organize and control high-stake, male-dominated games. But by using the Advanced Concepts, she can exploit any erroneous attitude in her opponents to beat them.

Since the Advanced Concepts have been published, the near-total male dominance of professional poker has been crumbling. Today, about 10 percent of the public professional poker players are women using the Advanced Concepts. And in private poker, perhaps 1 percent of the professionals are women. As the Advanced Concepts of Poker become more widely known, the percentage of women poker players (both amateur and professional) should increase, especially in private games.

The Advanced Concepts provide women with the tools needed not only to compete against men, but to beat them. Increasingly, women are discovering that they can exploit the erroneous and machismo attitudes imbued in most male poker players. And because of the subtle but real advantages women players hold over men, women could eventually dominate public poker and regularly win the major tournaments.

As with all opponents, the good poker player considers female players only from a financial viewpoint. If a woman player is an overall financial asset, she is a welcome player. A woman player can cause men to be less objective, thereby increasing the good player's edge odds. But, on the other hand, if she is a good player and a steady winner, she is a financial liability and unwelcomed. Also, control over men players and attempts to increase the betting stakes can be more difficult when a woman is present.[ 27 ] For that reason, the good player more often than not tries to keep women out of the game.

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