Poker pro Lee Childs says, “Quit your whining!”

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Did you get knocked out of a tournament because of some horrific beat or cooler? Would you have been the chipleader with 20 players left if your pocket aces didn’t get cracked? I don’t care. Not a bit. And I’m really getting tired of people whining, especially on Twitter and Facebook, about how life sucks because of one hand of poker. Everyone knows “bad beats” are part of the game, yet they still whine. Most of the time they’re 60-40 or 50-50 hands where they weren’t that big of a favorite anyway. Even if they were a big favorite, who cares? Not me!

 Let’s put it into a little better perspective. Players consistently put beats on one another that don’t matter. I raise with A-K, you call with A-Q, flop comes queen-high. I c-bet, you raise and I fold. I have no idea you hit a 30-percent suckout on me and I really don’t care at that point. I just know I couldn’t stand the heat and folded. Point is, we didn’t get all-in, and I’m not whining and moaning to all of my friends, wife and son (Yep, born in early March, doing great, and he’s awesome!)

Here are a few facts I’d like to mention, and they’re not meant to be a list of the most important issues/injustices facing the world, just a few things to think about when assessing the importance of your bad beat.

• 6,000 children lose a parent to AIDS every day.
• 700,000 to 2 million people are homeless in America.
• 20 million people were held in bonded slavery as of 1999.
• More than 1 billion people in our world lack access to clean water. This causes 2 million unsafe drinking water deaths every year and 90 percent are children.

I have a lot of friends who are “professional” poker players. Many have won WSOP bracelets, won hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars. They get to travel the world playing a game they supposedly love and most of the time just sleep when they want, eat when they want, play when they want. Why, then, do I have to hear about a hand of poker they played that resulted in a bad beat? Do they really think it’s important to post on Facebook how bad they run?

I get you’re disappointed. We’re competitive and want to win. I get ticked off, too, sometimes, but if you’re going to play this game for recreation, and especially for a living, stop bitching about the bad beats and coolers! They are part of the game and if you used your logical brain that makes you a good poker player, you would realize getting a bad beat means you got your money in good, possibly got your opponent to make a mistake. Over time that’s a win for you. The game is about the long run and not about the beat that knocked you out of the tournament today.

Here’s the best story I ever overheard after someone got knocked out of a tournament. His friend asked him what happened and he simply replied, “I lost the hand.” That’s the way it ought to be. Keep things in perspective, enjoy the game and please quit whining for sympathy as you sit in your suite at the hotel, drinking your purified bottled water, booking your flight across the country to play your next poker tournament on your $2,000 laptop that you just bought because you broke your other one when your aces got cracked in that $109 tournament online last week.

Decide to Win!

— Lee Childs is founder and lead instructor of Acumen Poker. He also is an instructor with the WPT Boot Camp. Check out his site at
www.acumenpoker.net.