Blog from E. Mark, the "e- Shark"



Sportsmanship, aka Don't Be a Jerk


Poker isn't just about winning, or at least it shouldn't be.  Players should treat the game and their opponents (and the dealers) with respect.  Even 'bad players' who suck out on the river - they wouldn't be drawing to few or no outs on the turn if they were 'good players' - deserve respect.

Let's say you raise A-K, flop a king, and lose to someone holding K-3 when a 3 falls on the river.

What's the right response?  "Nice hand."  Not, "Man you have to be a great player to call me down with such a strong kicker. Didn't you KNOW you were beat when I three-bet the turn?"

By simply saying "Nice hand" and not getting nasty, you show yourself as someone who is not just a good player and good winner, but a good loser and good sport.  You show character and, of lesser import, you keep the 'fish' in the game longer, enabling you a great chance to win your money back, and then some.

So next time you have the urge to lash out after losing to a bad play, remember this: Sportsmanship wins the day.

PS – Probably the dumbest and most absurd beat I ever took was when I raised A-K, got smooth called by the button (no one else entering), flopped a King on a rag flop, and was outdrawn by a player who drew a 2 on the turn and 3 on the river to match his 2-3 offsuit hand.  He won with two pair.  After this amazing and ridiculous suck-out, he didn’t even raise my river bet (I’d been betting every street). 

"Nice hand Stevie!", I said in amazement, and I meant it.

- E. Mark the "e-Shark" Gross



Unfamiliarity Breeds Contempt

 In an unfamiliar casino, I sat down at a $10/$20 limit hold'em game in the cutoff position.

I posted a big blind as the cards were dealt. After an elderly gentleman raised and two players called, I decided to see the flop for another $10 with J-4 of spades. Maybe I'd hit the flop hard, maybe even a flush?

The flop came J-4-Q with two diamonds. The initial raiser bet, one limper called, I raised, and the old guy raised me back. I capped the action in position with a four-bet. The limper came along, calling all the action.

A meaningless 3 of hearts arrived on the turn.The raiser again led out. I popped it again. When he re-raised yet again, I just called. The limper again stayed in, obviously on a big draw.The river was another blank, a 7 of clubs. The raiser bet, the limper folded, and I called.

The gray-haired man showed me a set of queens. I had lost a massive pot with my two-pair flop.

So what did I do wrong? I failed to check the house rules. I did not have to post a blind, despite being new to the table. They played a free hands policy.  Had I not posted, I never would have been in the hand.

So let my experience be instructive: Learn the poker room's rules BEFORE you start playing.

- E. Mark the "e-Shark" Gross

Page 9 of 9