How to Tell if Someone Really Understands Poker and Poker Players
Late one evening in 1973, during the midst of the Watergate scandal when American democracy teetered in the brink of collapse, a young and enterprising beat reporter named Carl Bernstein who wrote for The Washington Post telephoned the Attorney General of the United States of America.
Bernstein sought a response from the highest law enforcement official in the country to substantiated allegations the White House was involved a crime and cover up that would ultimately force the President to resign from office. The phone rang at 11 pm and was picked up by Attorney General John Mitchell who was apparently sleeping at the time of the interruption.
“This is Carl Bernstein of The Washington Post,” the reporter said. “Tomorrow, we’re running a story on the front page which claims officials in the White House knew about the break in at Watergate and attempted to cover it up. Do you have any comment?”
“What the hell…what time is it?” Mitchell barked into the phone.
“It’s 11 o’clock, Sir,” Bernstein replied.
“Eleven o’clock? Morning….or night?” Mitchell asked, coming fully into consciousness after being woken up from a deep slumber.
“Um, it’s 11 at night,” Bernstein replied.
Mitchell groaned. Then, he threatened Bernstein, the newspaper’s editor and owner, and command the reporter call his law office back in the morning. After that, Mitchell hung up.
That bizarre exchange essentially summed up the daily ritual not just of a corrupt Attorney General, someone who would end up as a convicted felon, but oddly enough — of most serious poker players. I know, the comparison does seem to be a bit of a stretch. “Let’s meet at 9 o’clock” is much more likely to be accepted if it’s nine at night, unless one of the parties just so happens to be playing in a poker tournament and is still alive. Then, all bets are off. There is no best time.
Earlier tonight here in Dublin, Irishman Padraig Parkinson told an interesting story of a potential sponsor who approached him a few years ago. The representative of the gaming company proposed to sponsor Parkinson in a series of prestigious poker tournaments over the following year. The representative proposed a face-to-face meeting to be held on the following day to discuss the arrangment.
“Let’s meet at 8 o’clock,” the prospective sponsor said.
“8 o’clock is perfect!” Parkinson replied. “Better yet, let’s have dinner.”
“No, not dinner, not in the eving….I mean 8 in the morning,” came the reply.
8 am? Is he crazy?
Right then and there, Parkinson basically said, fuck it. “This clown doesn’t have a fucking clue what poker is all about,” Parkinson thought to himself. “Anyone who thinks any poker player is getting up for a meeting at 8 am might as well be someone working a regular job asking the loan manager to come into the bank and fill out an application at 4 in the morning. Now, how crazy would that be? I really thought he was joking.”
8 fucking AM?
Indeed, Parkinson realized the suitor knew absolutely nothing about poker. He blew off the idiot, slamming down the phone without even bothering to explain. No self-respecting poker player would ever wake up for an 8 am meeting.
An Attorney General of the United States? Sure. He’ll take that 8 am meeting and be there. But not Parkinson, or any self-respecting poker player.
That’s one of the best ways to tell when and if someone really understands what poker is all about. Meeting at midnight is much more likely to produce the intended result than anything before noon.