The Friday Five: The 5 Most Frustrating People to Play Poker With

As noted in previous PO Life discussions our group spent a huge portion of our free time growing up playing poker in myself and McCannon’s basement. We played so much at one point that I have a distinct memory of simply sitting alone at the poker table waiting for people to eventually show up at my house and come downstairs to play… and sure enough some 10 minutes later, McCannon, Clifford, and Eli showed up and we got a game going. Not sure why I was sitting there alone, and also not sure where the hell they came from… but hey it worked out.

As we continued to play we all also continued to improve to the point that relative to others we actually had a pretty legitimate home game going. While some of PO faded from the game, others stuck with it. I and a few others from the PO Life continue to play fairly consistently whether it’s in Vegas, Atlantic City, or everyone’s favorite rundown, disgusting, tacky, overpriced, yet strangely endearing casino – Chucktown.


Like many games, someone’s capacity to enjoy a poker game is only as good as the company they keep. There are always going to be WFG’s, douchebags, assholes, clowns, as well as drunken bigots, hilarious old Asian men, and most importantly those with a complete and utter disregard for the money in front of them. The following composition represents not necessarily the extremes of those types of people, but simply the five most frustrating types of people to play poker with. These are all examples of real people that I have played against and had to deal with; let us simply hope that you never have to experience them.

1. The Vegas Pro Stuck at 1-2*
I understand that to do well at something you need to take yourself seriously but some people take this shit too far. This set up is especially nice when the person is playing 3-6 limit* poker and has been playing for 6 hours at the table and is down $8. Taking yourself too seriously in a casino is an easy way to be frustrating to play with. First of all, you aren’t going to be much fun to play with if you are THAT into the game that you can’t even carry a conversation. Couple that with the facts that you can’t hear shit because you have headphones on, you don’t know any of the suits on the cards because sunglasses weren’t manufactured to be worn indoors, and you are sweating profusely because your hoodie was designed for the Iditarod, not a 1-2* No Limit Saturday cash game in West Virginia… all of these factors lead to a pretty miserable guy to play poker with.
* These numbers indicate the “blinds”. Put simply, these are the stakes of the game and are very low for a “Vegas Pro”.

2. The Guy who Hates Dealers
Unbeknownst to some, there is an entire counterculture of people who spend every waking moment in their local casino. These people get up from slot machines when they “go cold”, switch blackjack tables because of bad omens, and bet on red because the last 4 spins were all black. Put nicely (in the words of my father); these people aren’t exactly geniuses.

Occasionally, one of these noble donators will venture into the poker room to take a shot at the cash games. After all, it has to be easier than trying to beat the house right? (Why is anyone trying to beat the house….) They normally play wild, chase hot streaks, and say things like “With my luck, I don’t even want to be dealt aces.” Then it happens. They get dealt a winning hand, completely misplay it, and get outdrawn in one way or another. They immediately berate the dealer, cursing them out for as long as possible, eventually vowing to never tip them another dollar, to which the dealer awkwardly laughs and briefly considers whether the person is being serious or not (they are). The person then normally gets up and leaves totally convinced that they are doing everything right, it just wasn’t their day.

3. The Big Leaguer

Number one rule in a casino is that no one ever plays at stakes these low, this is just a one-time deal. I always find this fascinating. “I normally play 200-400 No Limit, but I am playing 1-2 because my friend wanted me to.”

“Where is your friend?”

“He left.”

This guy is similar to the Vegas Pro Stuck At 1-2 only instead of frustrating with his table demeanor he does it with his conversation.
The best part about these people is that they have made their way to the blackjack room too. They tell stories of thousand dollar winning streaks while betting 500 a hand and nights in Vegas where they lost every dollar to their name. There is nothing to be ashamed of when playing low stakes – just embrace what you are and stop deceiving yourself.
4. The TV Guy
When in a poker room, there is constantly an enormous battle over what channel or what game is going to be shown for the next few hours. Because so many hours are logged at these hellholes of wins and losses, getting the right channel on could make or break an entire session. That is where the TV guy comes into play.

I want to provide a visual image of the guy so the reader gets a clear picture of who I am describing:  the guy is about 74, his skin is barely hanging on after years of overexposure to the sun, and is about 40 pounds overweight but doesn’t care because he doesn’t buy into that “diet” bullshit and thinks being “healthy” is another ploy by the fucking liberal media. He has been sitting in the same chair for about 7 weeks in a row now, betting away the retirement pension that he receives that should be helping out his wife but never seems to make it there. If anyone in the casino asks to change the channel on any TV within a six-mile proximity he flips a shit and then starts citing how much he plays at the casino to build up credibility.

Somewhat recently I was at the casino on the night of the Celtics/Heat Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals only to discover that the TV near me wasn’t showing it. In fact, the TV near me was showing horse racing THAT WASN’T EVEN FROM THAT DAY. I asked the floor to change the TV and the TV Guy immediately budged into the conversation to claim that he was watching the horse racing and that he “had money on it”. Some thoughts:

1. If we had changed the channel without saying anything there is absolutely no chance in hell you would have noticed.
2. There is no fucking way in hell that you have money on this horse race, it took place two days ago and is from a track in southwestern Kentucky.

To say the least, I was quite infuriated. Luckily, reasonable, Lebron-loving, red-blooded Americans prevailed and we turned off Seabiscuit in favor of the King.

5.  The Know It All (KIA)
This guy takes the cake. There is absolutely nothing that frustrates me more than when I am at the table with this guy. Here is normally how things play out: Player 1 bets a significant portion of his stack on the river*, player 2 immediately shoves his entire stack into the middle. The KIA assesses the situation, tanks** for a few minutes, adjusts his stupid sunglasses that accomplish nothing, surveys each player, and then proceeds to make a terrible call in a spot he has absolutely zero chance of winning. He then flips over his hand which is in 4th place out of the 3 players, and gets a look on his face as if to say “Why does God only punish me?”

* The river is simply the 5th and last card in a hand of poker.
** “Tanking” is taking forever to make a decision.

He then says something like this: “Well, I called because I knew that you had a full house.”  …What the fuck does that mean??

Then player 1 will say, “I had a flush draw and missed so I tried to steal” at which point the KIA will immediately jump in:

“Yeah I knew you missed your flush and I knew what he had so I was just calling because I knew what everyone had.”

Some things need to be addressed by the KIA at this moment:

  1. Why would you call if you knew he had a hand that has you absolutely dominated?
  2. Why aren’t you a multi-billionaire considering you know every hand that everyone has at all times?
  3. Why do you wake up in the morning?

So, my fellow poker players, when you find yourself at a table or in a casino with one of these 5 people, don’t walk – run to the nearest exit because you are going to want to kill yourself.  If there are no exits available (or if the game is really good) just buckle up and get ready, because it is going to be a very frustrating ride.



  1. Pingback: The 5 Most Frustrating People to Play Poker With

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