Respect is a two-way street at the poker table

October 25, 2012  

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. So simple and logical. Are you living your life and conducting yourself at the tables that way? I think most of us do that to the best of our ability. If you’re like me, you fall short of that sometimes and usually after giving it some thought you feel bad about it. I also have learned that a lot of the time when I have an issue with the way someone acts it’s because they’re displaying qualities I don’t like about myself. It took me many years to realize that.

To be on top of your game, you have to think a lot before you act. You plan ahead, contemplating the actions and results you’re expecting. You have intentions and desired results. Too many players today, especially so-called professionals, adhere to this with the mechanics of their game, but they don’t adhere to it when thinking about the things they say to players and dealers and then things they post using social media. They are berating others, insulting them and whining when things don’t go their way. How would it make you feel to go on Twitter, Facebook or a forum and read disparaging comments about yourself? How would you feel if dealers laughed at you because you made a mistake?

I’ve been blessed to meet some of the most awesome people playing poker and have developed strong friendships that I know will last for life. I also have met some people who are so negative, bitter and angry, who enjoy putting others down and pointing out their faults.

Treat others with respect. Only good can come from that. Besides, when you do negative things, it only exposes your lack of security, confidence or character. It shows ignorance of how others should be treated and your lack of concern for others.

If the best players always won then most of us would never get that chance. That’s the beauty of the game. If someone plays poorly, you don’t want to call them out on it. You want them to play that way. You want them to have money to play. They are your customers. If you claim to be a professional then act like one. Don’t tell me how good you are. Show me by playing hard. Playing with dignity.

Poker is a game and yes we’re playing for lots of money. Yes it stings when someone plays badly and sucks out. And we want them to play badly so we can play well and win over time. How can you want them to play badly so you can get their chips and then also think it’s OK to berate them if they make a bad play and get lucky against you?

I know I have a lot to learn about the game and becoming the player I want to be. And I have a lot to learn about life and being the man I want to be. I am no more valuable than anyone else, and neither are you.

— Lee Childs is the founder and lead instructor at Inside the Minds. For information about his group training sessions and personal coaching, visit inside-the-minds.com.