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Tuesday (the types of poker players) edition: Wha' Happened?

Posted by: Michael Rand under Gambling Updated: September 15, 2009 - 9:16 AM

Let's get this out there: we love playing poker, but we think we love it in the right way. That is to say, these days we don't play more than a few times a year. And even back when we played a regular weekly game, it was more about the spirit of competition and brotherhood than large cash swings (rare was the time when anyone walked away more than $20 up or down). That said, we have had enough exposure to the fair game over the years to hopefully compile this list of the types of poker players (Texas Hold 'em) one will find out there, partly in thanks (or no thanks) to the poker boom about five years ago. So, here we go:

1) Sunglasses and Headphones guy. Yeah, the guy who is playing a 3-6 hold-em table in the middle of nowhere and thinks he's at the final table of the World Series of Poker. He likely has some skills, but they will be diminished by everyone trying to take him down on general principle. He will also probably do some ridiculous things like calling or raising without looking at his cards, just because he's bored.

2) Sunglasses and Headphones guy, Part II: Same look, without any clue. He's just dressed for the part, like a [redacted] tourist. Catch him while he still has money.

3) The Grizzled Veteran: This person will likely be 60ish, be wearing some sort of hat or shirt for some random casino you have never heard of, and will look like they haven't seen enough non-artificial light in the past 40 years. They will likely grumble about every "bad beat," but they will win more than their share of hands.

4) The Grizzled Veteran, Female Version: Even scarier all around. She might look like your aunt, but your aunt wouldn't clean you out of $150 that fast.

5) The Newbie (not to be confused with RandBall's Newbie): Really just happy to be there, whether they have just turned 18 or 21, depending on the age restriction of the place you are at. They will usually have 1-3 friends watching.

6) The Drunk Wildcard: Comes in already lit up, starts betting every hand, and you have no idea if he has a full house or a pair of threes at any moment. Things usually fall apart eventually, but you feel an extra burn if this person takes any of your money.

7) The In Over His Head Guy: The tourist just looking to have a good time, chasing way more hands than he should, playing strange bets and just generally not understanding strategy. You will have to remind this person about the big blind 63 percent of the time. He might nab a couple early hands on luck alone, but later you'll be sweating a heads-up situation, only to find out you had three queens while he was playing a pair of eights.

8) The Average Player (that's us!): Win some hands, lose some hands, have a good handle on how to play, raise when it's appropriate, chase some bad hands from time to time out of frustration, get away with some bluffs, get nailed on some others. In truth, 50 percent of casino players probably fall into this category. As far as we can tell, we had five (including us) average players at a new house game we played in last night. Out of a house game, that's all you can really ask for. Otherwise, you might wind up with ...

9) The Tightwad: The guy who folds 90 percent of hands because 75 cents is too rich for his blood.

10) The Multiple Calls Home guy: Poker has a certain flow, a rhythm that can't be interrupted. Getting up to get a snack or use the bathroom is part of the rhythm. Making ONE quick phone call home to deliver an estimate on return time is part of the rhythm. Multiple, non-emergency, extended calls? Not part of the rhythm.

11) The In Over His Head Guy, Part II: A more hilarious version of his casino cousin, Part II will play strange hands, fold when he shouldn't and wonder why, after five hands of folding, his huge bet is taken as a sign that he might have some pretty good cards and is therefore met with a round of folds from others.

12) The Horseshoe: A player that's probably below average but always seems to catch unbelievable cards. It's almost as if the deck says, "You're playing a 6-2 offsuit? No problem! Here's a 3 and 4 on the flop. And don't worry ... on the river, we're going ot bring you a 5!"

13) The Early Departer: Everyone has a different specific idea of what "late" is, but it's generally accepted that a poker game should go for a few hours to be worthwhile. So if it starts at 7, expect to be there until 10. Sorry if you live in an exurb that used to be a wheat field 20 years ago and it takes you 45 minutes to get home, even in light traffic. That was your decision.

14) And last, but not least: The Host. You will provide snacks, beverages and a place to sit (though if you are always the host, you can certainly expect a donation or some sort of rotation so you're not always the one shelling out money for the goods). You will be in charge of head count and chip dispersal. After that, you are off the hook.

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