Announcing: For $1,000 I’ll Listen to Your Bad Beat Story
Let me be perfectly blunt.
If you tell bad beat stories, you’re a loser.
End of discussion.
Yes, I’m talking to you. No exceptions.
When you tell me about how your powerhouse poker hand was cracked, you transform yourself instantly from someone I probably like into a total bore. You’re a loser. Now get away from me.
I’ve never told a poker bad beat story to anyone. Ever (see footnote). Accordingly, I have no tolerance whatsoever for such trivial nonsense. Sure, I’ll listen sometimes if the bore is a really close friend, usually faking sympathy while daydreaming about something else. I don’t like to see my friends sad. But the bottom line is — I don’t care.
This reminds me of one of my all-time favorite lines about bad beat stories which go like this: There are two kinds of people who listen to bad beat stories. 1. Those who don’t care. 2. Those who wish you’d lost more.
One of the most profound things I’ve heard at this year’s World Series of Poker bears repeating. It was relayed to me by the champion of Event 38. His name is Justin Oliver, from Toronto. He won a gold bracelet and we were talking about his poker background after the tournament.
Oliver told a great story about a time when he was playing in a cash game at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. He took a wicked beat that cost him several thousand dollars. Oliver stormed out of the poker room and started complaining to others who were around about the outcome of the hand — the quintessential bad beat story. You know the schtick.
Oliver bumped into a man named Bill Hubbard who turned his poker career around with what amounted to a two-minute conversation. Hubbard stopped Oliver and confronted him. He asked Oliver if he was a winning poker player. Oliver affirmed that — indeed he was. Next, Hubbard asked Oliver — why the bad beat mattered then? After all, if Oliver was truly a winning player, weren’t occasional bad beats just a natural part of the game? Moreover, weren’t bad beats essentially seeding the prospects for future wins?
A winner shouldn’t be concerned about bad beats, because they will inevitably happen. The more poker you play, the more bad beats you suffer. Direct correlation. No one is immune from this. That’s just the way it is.
Winners understand this.
Conversely, the losing player complains about his bad beats because — he’s a loser. He can’t win because he’s not good enough. So he blames his losses on things like bad luck and bad beats, rather than his own lack of skill. Naturally, acceptance of variance requires a long-term approach to the game. But the bottom line is — just as Bill Hubbard once told Justin Oliver — winners don’t complain about bad beats. Only losers do.
So, next time you’re out in the hallway and hear someone lamenting about taking a bad beat, be assured — that’s a loser.
That said, I have some very personal reasons why I won’t bear bad beat stories any longer. It’s called self-preservation. You’re a sadist by wasting my time and more importantly, my energy. I’m here at the WSOP 15 hours a day with no days off for six straight weeks. Over the course of the last decade, I’ve seen more hands played than you’ll see in your lifetime. There isn’t a hand or a beat I haven’t witnessed. Besides, it’s so cold in here, my penis has turned into a popsicle. So, don’t expect me to show you any sympathy.
However, I am willing to make an exception. I hereby announce a standing offer. This will be in effect from this moment forward. The offer is this.
I will listen to your bad beat story from start to finish for the sum of one thousand dollars. Cash. For an extra $500, I’ll frown and shake my head. For another $500, I’ll make “tsk tsk” sounds, wherever appropriate.
No credit. Payable upfront.
Heretofore, this is my policy on listening to bad beat stories: If you don’t pay, I walk away.
Footnote: Sports betting exempt from the discussion.