Table manners

Everyone who has played poker knows the feeling: the feeling when you want to jump over the table and knock the other guy's teeth in.

I don't get that feeling often. Actually, I haven't got it in years. But when I started playing poker it was very different.

One of the surest ways of putting me on tilt was to win a massive pot as a big underdog and then somehow behave like you deserved it. You know the type of player who gets insanely lucky and then goes like, "That's it. In your face! In your face!"

It used to annoy me like nothing else. Like going to a prison for a decade would probably be worth it if I could just drill my car keys into that guy's eyeballs. That's about how much it annoyed me.

These days, I don't care anymore. I have seen it too often. And since I now have kids, I can't really go to a prison for a decade. Maybe for two years or so, but not more.

After playing poker for a long time you get stoic about what happens on the table. You kind of have to. It is mentally too exhausting to rave about what happens; the beats you take or the beats you put on someone else. The cards come as they come, and that's it. Nothing you can do about it.

This doesn't mean I would be immune to tilt. Far from it. I still get emotional, and I still hate losing. And taking too many beats or coolers definitely affects my game more than it should.


And I still get affected by other players behavior occasionally. I don't mind someone gloating or whining. Usually it is just comic or sort of sad. Especially when it is done by someone who has played poker for years and still hasn't learned that everyone takes bad beats.

What really puts me off is someone abusing other players or dealers. The dealer abuse is surprisingly common. As if the dealer would be at fault for someone being unlucky. And I have seen some pretty nasty incidents.

Probably one of the worst came from a 30-something American player around six years ago at a WSOP tourney. The dealer at our table--an older lady--made a small mistake and this player started insulting her. He went on and on, blurting insults like "Your husband must be the most miserable man on Earth."

Finally the floor came and this player was penalized for one round. Just one round. And it was not even for the insults. It was because at some point he had said the f-word (This was when the WSOP had the ridiculous rule of a one-round penalty for the use of F-word.) Personally, I think the rules should be way more strict to prevent dealer abuse.

Excessive celebration is another thing. I don't really like it. I do love winning. No question about that, but every time you win a pot, there is someone else who lost it. Winning is fun, but excessive celebration looks like you are just rubbing it in. The other guy is packing his gear and leaving the table with his head down, and you are there making dance moves.

But then again, revenge is a sweet thing. I won't gloat if I manage to bust the guy who earlier won a big pot from me with an ugly suck-out, but I will look to see if he's still smirking.

Ville Wahlbeck is a member of Team PokerStars Pro

Ville Wahlbeck
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