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Keeping Your Cool

Not Every Situation has a Solution
By Loki Luchs of

I've seen crazy things happen at the table; I've had a thousand a-holes play at the table. I've dedicated my life in poker to not being that guy. I would sooner throw away my bankroll than be one of the miserable chits who belittle the other players, the dealers, or the staff. Still, I've had to be tested by the fates to see whether I was actually "that guy."

I was playing 2/5 no limit at a very GRAND casino, here in Las Vegas. I'm under the gun with the K/J of diamonds, so I limp in. Five callers go to the big blind, and she checks. (Normally, the actual seat at the table doesn't matter to the story, but in this case, I'm at seat ten, next to the dealer.) The flop comes Jh 8c 2d. Check to me, I bet 45, everyone folds to the big blind. She flat calls. The turn comes the 6d. The big blind checks, I push for my last $175 and she calls. The money is still sitting in front of us, but not in the pot. She flips over the A/J and I flip over my K/J of diamonds. On the river, falls the 9 of diamonds. She flinches, I say 'bad beat,' she taps the table. The dealer rakes in the cards and pushes the pot over…to her!

"Whoa. I won!"…The dealer looks at me. "Her ace plays sir." I said "I hit the flush!" Two more players chirp in and nod. He looks at the Asian lady and her face is a mask. She shrugs. "I didn't see."

So they call the floor. The lady takes her $175 back. The managers take the rest of the pot (including my $175) and walk off to watch the tape. The dealer was told to change tables, and a new dealer sits down. The lady keeps playing with her money, doubles up twice on flopped sets, and an hour passes. I'm fuming, but I didn't yell, because they have cameras and my cards were flipped up and visible. Finally the pit boss comes back. "We couldn't tell if the Jack was of diamonds or hearts, so we're going to split the pot between you." He mumbles.
"Wasn't the Jack of hearts on the board???"
"We didn't look at the board, just at your hand."
"Could you go back and look at that?"
"No, our decision is final."
"But she took back her money…"
"Yeah, well, we saw that, but we don't know how much she took back, so we'll just divide it evenly."
"Technically, doesn't that mean she didn't call the bet and I should just get the pot?"
"Probably. But our decision is final. You can either take your half or not. What's it going to be?"

The choice was easy. I took my money, minus about a hundred of my OWN money, and I left. I thanked the players who said they saw the flush. I thanked the new dealer who, when he heard the situation, just kept whispering encouragement and advice about not going on tilt. I didn't yell, insult, or scream at the woman who knew damn well that she was getting away with about 300 bucks of money she didn't deserve. I didn't throw a chair at the dealer or punch the pit boss who knew I was right, but didn't want to look stupid in front of a table once he had made a decision.

I did, however, handle the situation correctly. I got up and left, never to return. They don't deserve my business. I also called the gaming commission. Their decision border-lined negligence and I did my best to make sure it didn't happen again. In the end, everyone has a boss. I'm going to let them explain to their boss why there's an investigation. I'm going to let them explain to the gaming commission why they made the decisions that they made. At the end of the day, while I didn't have my money, I didn't have any problems sleeping either. Try to keep that in mind the next time you're in a tense situation. The way we handle ourselves at the table, reveals a lot of who we are. If you're disciplined enough to hold your tongue, you're disciplined enough to be a winning player.


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