Yesterday was supposed to be my first reading and my second blog entry. Instead, I spent the day being sick. The hardest thing about being sick might be dealing with people who aren't sick. They have no idea how good they have it. My loved ones quickly lose their tolerance for hearing me blather on about the colorful details of my symptoms.
I ended up canceling my own reading, which was a tough decision, but the right one. I have no idea how many people might have showed up, but I probably would have regaled them all with sordid details of my flu instead of reading from my book.
Just as sick people like to talk about their maladies, in poker everyone loves to tell their bad beat stories. These tales of woe usually begin with something like, "I got dealt a pair of Jacks in the cut-off seat…" I have a million of them and can recite them at will, as can any regular player. If you ever get between two poker players trying to one up each other's bad beat stories, it's best just to leave the scene without a word or you might be suckered in to serve as the judge.
We don't even listen to each other's stories, really. We wait impatiently for our turn to tell our story. When someone tells me their bad beat story, I nod my head sympathetically but I'm just thinking, "I can top that."
Every poker player believes they have great skill and terrible luck. In How to Win the World Series of Poker — Or Not, I write about the hallway of sorrows, where everyone who was knocked out went to call their friends and family to tell them how they got unlucky. No one was out played or out-matched when they lost; they just caught a bad break. Just like me.
No more. I now pledge to never tell another bad beat story. I'm only going to talk about big hands I won, even though I only have two anecdotes about that. I am going to do everyone a favor and keep my tough suckouts and two-outers to myself. If someone asks me what my worst beat was, I'm going to say, "Actually, I've never experienced a bad beat. The cards have always fallen in accordance with statistical probability for me."
Then I will probably quiver and shake and gush, "Except this one time when I was dealt a pair of Jacks in the cut-off seat…"
Books mentioned in this post
Pat Walsh is the author of How to Win the World Series of Poker (or Not): An All-American Tale