Some days you have to work to win

Nov 30, 2004 12:59 AM

I gave our grandson, Eric, a lesson about how to play his first no-limit poker tournament. We gave him a buy-in, which was a part of his birthday gifts from us.

In the tournament that Eric played in there were about 190 players. It was a Monday night ($20 +$10 rebuy) no limit hold’em affair, and I was pleased with Eric’s play as he finished in the top 15 percent of the players.

So, today and from time to time, I will devote this column to trying to teach young players a little bit about life and the living of it and poker and the playing of it.

Sure, all of you of all ages are welcome to sit in class.

You will be on your honor to test yourself whenever you wish at the live poker table. I look forward to playing a few hands with you. A lot of successful poker players have told me that I helped them make a lot of money because of what I have said to them about life and the playing of poker.

When they win a nice pot from me many players say, "Johnny, I raised the pot and played it just like you told me to!" and they also many times say — just like general George Patton said of the German Gen. Rommel when Patton defeated him on battlefields of World War II — "I read your book!"

Of course, they’re talking about "The Gentleman Gambler."

Oklahoma Johnny’s Poker Tip of the Week

Playing winning poker is not really very much fun. It requires a lot of work and a lot of time, energy, patience, skill and knowledge of human nature.

So if you are looking for a fun job, playing poker is not it.

I like to say that it is not playing poker — it is working poker — and you must never play a hand of poker — you must work each poker hand.

But there are a few things that you can do while you are watching the grass grow or the paint dry during the time that you are waiting for a good poker hand, which combined with good luck and correct circumstances, will produce a winning poker session for you.

I have tried to develop some conversational skills with people to break up the boredom between winning hands. Now if you are not a people person you will find it most difficult to ever be a winner at poker.

Because first of all poker is a people business.

I remember that when the Eskimo kills the polar bear or the Indian kills the deer, he kisses the animal or drinks its blood. It has something to do with the bond that they feel between themselves and the animal world. They loved the animal so they don’t want to put an extra bullet into the animal after it is dead or punish it in any way.

with them. Sure, you will want to win their money, and the Indian want to eat the deer, but you must remain human and hang on to your humanity. You cannot always be a cold, hard fish. Otherwise, you’re not going to like life as a professional poker player.

Remain human in your poker playing activities and you’ll like your life. I never play with people who I know cannot afford to lose. That’s why I want to play with the doctors, the lawyers, the professionals: I’m just trying to correct the balance of payments, so to speak. I love to work poker with the guys with the clean fingernails and the smooth hands.

Tune in next time and I will try to give you some inside secrets of how to win. Until next time remember to always stay lucky!