One of the strangest things I’ve come across in my travels of poker is the uniformity of phrases that losing players will say. It’s possible you’ve said these phrases.
If you’re going to be a pro, it’s time to take a look at this. This is, of course, satirical, but the lessons for each phrase are applicable.
I HATE JACKS: This is the most common. Jacks is a difficult hand to play. Why is it you don’t hear people say that they hate 10s? It’s because jacks look prettier.
It’s stupid, but it’s true. Since these are face cards, it’s tempting to value them as high as a hand such as K-K.
Try not to overcompensate by making larger-than-normal bets if you feel this way about this great hand.
HOW CAN YOU PLAY THAT GARBAGE? The players that will attack your hand selection simply don’t understand the game. If you are saying this a lot, there’s a good reason.
I will play weaker holdings with opponents who are easy to play against and have a lot of chips, and so will other winning players. This may be why people play poor hands against you.
I CAN NEVER WIN WITH THIS DEALER: The dealer has nothing to do with it. The cards are random. Anyone that’s grasping at these straws is looking for an excuse for a negative ROI. Get this out of your head.
I’LL CHECK IT DOWN WITH MY FRIEND: Anyone actively engaging in this act is doing so because checking vs. playing the game is in their best interest, because they will be losing if bets are made. If you’re a pro, you’re here to make money, and anyone here to check it down with friends is not going to be doing that. Oh, and it’s against the rules.
EVERY TIME I HAVE KINGS THERE’S AN ACE: Often times, players will make sure to see a showdown with kings despite the ace on the board. I promise you, probability works the same for everyone; you just remember bad things more than good.
SORRY: This one comes from a little less obviously a losing player, but the more seasoned a player is, the less likely they will still have any empathy left for opponents.
AW, I FOLDED (WHATEVER HAND WOULD HAVE HIT): A couple of things with this one: Most of these people are lying. I don’t know why, but it’s fairly consistent. You’ll notice this person would have hit every flop.
Pay attention to what opponents may have in hands that you fold, not what you might have had if you didn’t.
— Brent Philbin is a poker pro who lives in South Florida. You can reach him at Brent.Philbin@gmail.com.