Playing Poker: “Why I’m Now Officially Afraid of Rob Schmid”

Have met a few interesting characters lately in the process of doing a little uncharacteristic activity (“work”). A while back I saw that one new acquaintance, Rob Schmid, one of the infamous “BOTW boys”, placed highly in the Vegas PubCon poker tourney. Being an addict and occasionally a fair player, I figured “Hey, I want a shot at this guy“. After all, I’d kicked buns in a 360 man free-roll on Full Tilt the night before, last man standing… who was this wannabe?

Now somebody will point out this is a sign of a longstanding problem… an indicator of issues that have haunted me for years. My time in the Fortune 500 was short-lived due to a certain recurring semantic misunderstanding. Every time I was introduced to a new boss, someone slipped and called him my “superior“. The resulting fist fight invariably proved otherwise in my own mind, but oddly did little to foster a successful corporate career.

In the same vein I need not add what happened at weddings when someone was introduced as “the best man“. I don’t get invited to a lot of weddings anymore. Other people can be so sensitive.

Anyway I was all prepared to take Rob at poker. Granted I had nagging thoughts that his first name just might be a sign of great intelligence. Nonetheless, in all likelihood I’m the older bunny and know my way around, gotta be worth a shot. Then, I got a chance to talk to him on AIM one day, and it all changed. {insert ominous sounding musical chord here}

In a part of a bold plan to woo him to his doom I began by complimenting him on his win. Flattery would no doubt set him up for a fall. Surely he’d feel obligated to play if only from pride if not kindness or pity. Then he threw the plan into turmoil by saying the worst thing possible…

Oh, I’m not all that good, I just got lucky.

Argh… Curses! He’s not only on to me, he’s better, he’s faster, and he’s probably already plotting to take away all that I own.

*Nobody* says “I just got lucky“. The guys that are REALLY just lucky attribute everything to skill. The guys to fear are the ones who say they they aren’t good. Even worse are guys that lead off with some line about how they “always wanted to learn the game“. No no… if someone says that, put your hand on your wallet, even if you’re playing online with free chips. You just can’t be TOO safe.

A few of us (at least I wasn’t alone) once lost a lotta cash to a guy like that. He shuffled like his hands were made of brick, and couldn’t concentrate on the game because it interfered with his current story about “An old gal (he) met in Juarez“. All of his stories started like that, and the hands of stone invariably held real card hands in all the right pots. Smooth, masked by a solid good-ole-countryboy persona. Not that I’d accuse him of cheating, but I’m spiritually opposed to playing against people who really ARE that lucky.

As a marginal player that has good and bad days I get a kick out of watching the online kiddies. They think unbridled aggression is the key, and come to the table talking serious smack. You know… “Welcome to my table, suckers!” sorta stuff. The ones that go all-in preflop on absolute rags are a reality of large free-roll tourneys. The guy holding AA (who really has business being all-in) usually loses to some kid with a King-Deuce off-suit who catches two more deuces on the board.

The first few hands are a Darwinian slugfest, and by a few hands into the game one-third of the players are gone. We’re left to contend with some really well funded nutcases until about the half. Going all-in pre-flop is natures way of removing all but one looney from the table. I avoid even looking at the first few hands to avoid the temptation to play. Tourneys are dominated early on by guys that caught a lucky card in a senseless race, but by the middle of the game those that depend on the dealer to do their work invariably exit (cussing someone as a “donk” typically).

After the dealer awards someone a few hands based on ridiculous calls… some old buzzard with a little patience will start to pick their bones. Eventually the big gambler hits his ace high flush on the river and bets a timid opponent all-in… and finds he bet into a boat someone with a working brain made on the flop or the turn. Always entertaining, and happens every tourney.

Anyway, I may get a chance to play Schmid someday, but I know to be wary now. !@#!!! Why couldn’t he have said his brilliant traps positioned him for the kill? Oh well, I’ve been warned. Just hope he doesn’t have stories about an old gal in Juarez.

Wouldn’t be fair if he was good AND lucky.


I’m Rob Jones, and I approve this message.