Bad Poker Player

So last night, we’re playing a poker game called “Bundai”.

Not to get into the rules too deeply, but it basically works like this. At the start of each round, everyone antes to the pot. After dealing cards, you go around the table and say if you’re “in” or “out”. If you’re “in”, everyone else gets a chance to challenge you. If nobody challenges you, you win a “leg”; the first player to win three legs wins the pot. If you do get challenged, the player with the better hand wins the value of the pot from the loser.

Okay, so the thing about Justin is, he wins the pot a lot. Way more than average. And the way he’ll do it is this: out of nowhere, he’ll just go for it. He’ll have no legs, and then he’ll go in three times out of four hands and just win outright. It drives me up the wall, because I know he’s got to be bluffing fairly often… but every time someone challenges, he’s got the cards.

So this time, Justin has two legs, and he goes in. I challenge, and he beats me. He decides to go in the next hand. Okay, I think. He figures I won’t challenge him again. So I challenge again, and he beats me again. The next hand, he goes in for a third time in a row. Now I’m thinking… my hand isn’t great, but shoot, he thinks he has me cowed. He’s just waltzing to the finish line with crappy cards. I can’t let him do that. So I challenge again, and again I lose. Justin then goes in on the fourth hand. I wisely don’t challenge (thus, as it turns out, avoiding Justin’s four aces) and the game ends.

Well, at this point I’m totally psyched out. I don’t think I can play Bundai anymore. I just turn stupid. And by “stupid”, I mean “stupider than usual” in my poker playing. Fortunately, we’re playing nickel poker, so the worst anyone does is lose $10 or so. I recently heard an archived NPR interview with one of the top female poker players in the world, and she explained that the first time she lost $3,000, she cried herself to sleep. The first time she lost $20,000, she couldn’t sleep for a week. But nowadays when she loses $100,000 in a night, she doesn’t let it bother her. All part of a night’s work. (Lest you feel sorry for this lady and her losses, you should know that she sleeps ’till noon, works her own hours, and has built up a two million dollar bankroll over the years.) Anyway, the point is that I guess I shouldn’t feel bad. My vices are cheap.