Lee Davy spins another yarn from his experiences at the 46th Annual World Series of Poker, this time focusing on a grudge he created with an Italian player whilst playing the $1,500 Extended Levels No-Limit Hold’em event.
One of the reasons I continue to be a fish, is the grudge. I’m not talking about the Japanese horror flick starring that scary bitch that looks uncannily like my wife after she walks out of a shower. I’m talking about the grudge I hold against my opponent’s.
Did you ever wish that you knew how to fight like Bruce Lee? I did. When I was a kid, people used to pick on me. I’m the by-product of a white woman and Chinese man having a bit of fun in the back of a Lada. They used to call be Chinky China Man. My Dad made me fight them. There was always this split second before the fight would start, the fear would subside, and belief would flood in. I was Bruce Lee. Two minutes later I was on the floor getting the shit kicked out of me.
I am positive that those early experiences shaped the grudge within me. I hate being seen as inferior to anyone in anyway. I hate being told what to do. That means school teachers, parents, bosses, and wives are off my Christmas list. I also hate class differences. I am a working class man at heart, and therefore I despise snobbery in any form.
This is why I am drawn to write opinion pieces on World Series of Poker (WSOP) dealers being ignored, or noticed and then treated like shit. I feel their pain. When I see people abusing dealers I want to pick up the dealer button, use it to smash their skull into dust, and then mould that dust into a big hard phallus which I will then use to butt fuck them with.
But grudges don’t get you anywhere. There is nothing positive about them. I learned a long time ago that I need to rise about the stench of that shit. I guess it’s taking longer for a non grudge like life to become the norm. Like the great Seth Godin recently said: “the problem with holding a grudge means your hands are too full to hold on to anything else.”
Grudges can be particularly nasty when applied to poker.
Here is a case in point.
I am playing in the $1,500 Extended Levels No-Limit Hold’em tournament. I am composed, and feel like I am playing well. There is one player at my table that I have decided not to tango with, a young Italian in the 10 seat.
We are in Level 4 with blinds at 100/200. I’m cruising. There is an open from the cutoff to 400, and I look down to see pocket kings in the big blind. An erection starts to form. The chips start to shake. People wonder if there is a small earthquake? I three-bet to 1,200. It’s a great spot, because I have been three-betting this guy repeatedly. He makes it 2,800, I set him in, and he snap calls.
There is 15,000 in the pot and he turns over [Ad] [4d]. I laughed inside. I couldn’t believe that he would call off his stack with a hand that weak. By the time I had reached the turn I wasn’t laughing internally. Instead, I was bemoaning my luck and wondering if the universe was deliberately trying to prevent me from playing poker so I could spend my time doing something worthwhile?
Two aces – flop and turn.
It affected me badly.
It wasn’t just the hand, it was the second time I had lost a big hand with kings against an inferior hand (I was eliminated in the Casino Employee Event when my KK failed to beat JJ). I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was tilting pretty badly.
I opened [Ac] [8c] in the cutoff. The Italian that I didn’t want to dance with eyed my stack. I had a little over 30 big blinds. He put in the three bet. I started an internal conversation. I believed that he eyed my stack, realized that I had the classic stack size to three-bet, and then pulled the trigger with trash. I folded. I felt like a pussy. I was back in that playground all over again.
I opened [5d] [4d] from the hijack, and the Italian went through the same routine, this time three betting me from the small blind. I should have folded. I shouldn’t even have opened this hand. But I told myself that he was full of shit. I peeled, flopped an open ender, and lost a bunch of chips before folding to a river bet.
The Italian opened to 450 from Under the Gun, and I three-bet to 1,300 rom the small blind holding pocket jacks. He peeled. The flop was [Kc] [8d] [6s], and I bet 1,200; he called. The turn was the [5c] and we both checked. The river was the [Tc] and I checked again. He bet 3,500, and this is what went on internally.
“I don’t beat anything. There is nothing that I beat. Everything that he could have, that calls a flop bet, got there, or is still beating my Jacks. I cannot beat anything. CALL.”
Yes, I called. Despite going through the hand, and realizing that I was beat, I called. He showed me KTo, and I started berating him internally for calling my three-bet with such a weak and often dominated hand. He was probably calling because he knew I was a fish.
It was a period of play that affected me badly until the break. I then took the time to listen to a poker hypnosis audio, and I returned to the felt, played well, and made Day 2.
That final hand with the Italian had nothing to do with logic. It was all about ego, all about the grudge. I created a story that he was taking advantage of me. That is, of course, poker. But I took it far too seriously. I made it personal. That in turn created a war, with only one person looking for a fight.
It was the first time I had felt this way since the WSOP began. I felt a lot of shame. I felt a little stupid. I am better than that. I am sharing this story because I believe the grudge affects many people, and not just in poker. We all create stories, and grudges that don’t even exist. We make shit up, and it comes from a long time ago, in a land that is now far, far away.
Grudges don’t just appear. They are the consequence of a trigger. Mine was the KK v A4 hand. Learn to notice what your triggers are. When you see them, then act. Get away from the battleground. Turn your heat into something cool. If I had put my headphones on and listened to my poker hypnosis track I would have saved a ton of chips, and a lot of anger and embarrassment.
Hopefully you can learn from my mistakes.