There a great piece of Poker advice that was given to me, not by a fictional Godfather but by a close friend of mine. Me and my friend go back to the dawn of time and have been playing cards since we had to be told to hold the cards so your opponents could only see that back, we’ve done all the normal BFF adventures and he’d be the first person I’d call if I needed bail money or help disposing of a 200 pound suspicious package, no question asked. He’s also someone who’s taken my bankroll and stripped it like a willow at the card table. What a guy.
The advice he gave me was verbal (and for good measure he backed it up on the table). It was not long after I was left scratching my head (with empty pockets) in his den at the end of a long night’s poker session. It was a friendly enough game and as I’m no All –In Mug and neither is my friend, we ended up head to head for a very decent pot. He ruffled his chips before going all in, in a move I’d seen plenty of times before a sure telegram that he was bluffing and I dutifully went all in to wipe him out. Then BOOM his full house (kings over sevens) killed my trip jacks stone dead, and my buddy didn’t even blink as he took the pot.
Later on as we were watching the sunrise with a beer and I was thinking about burning his house down, he told me (rightly so) that there’s no such thing as a “friend” at the poker table.
Buddies pals amigos it don’t matter one iota when you hit those cards. Because even if this guy once gave you a kidney you don’t fold trip Aces just because he needs a new brake pads. Not only will this “friendly” act cost you money (if he needs the cash that badly, just give him it) but it will cheapen the poker experience for everyone (friend included) and may even anger the Gods of Poker.
You will lose value on your hands if you do not bet them properly. You’ll start losing bets and pots because you are giving your (chummy) opponent free chances to outdraw you. If you want to be friend go out and play pool or something where you don’t measure winning on cash. Because (hands aside) the way you see who wins at Poker always comes with a $ sign. No one cares how “nicely” you play a hand, winning at poker is the only way to keep score – you get nothing for presentation or form, it’s all about content.
The other reason you should check your friendship at eth door is because you’re in a sit at a tournament with a “Friend” they should be treating you as an enemy so anything they do or any play they make should be considered wit the same cool headed calculations that you applied to a stranger’s play.
Still there’s no need not to be civil about it, you might need a lift home after the game.