Wednesday, December 13, 2006

"The Annoying Bastard"

An article in the November issue of "Bluff" (which I think is the most entertaining poker magazine out there; for hard-core strategy, nothing beats "Card Player," but for lighter fare, "Bluff" is my favorite) is about the varieties of players who chat at the table. For today's grump, I can do no better than to quote verbatim their description of "The Annoying Bastard" (p. 77):

This guy (or girl) talks because he must, the same way sharks have to keep
swimming to live. The patter is generally an unending stream of mundane
nonsense--the equivalent of someone asking "Hot enough for ya?" seven hundred
times in a row.

Of course, babbling about the buffet or the dry heat is one thing; heaven
forbid he starts trying to school you at poker. After he busts your set with a
miracle straight on the river, he'll take pains to educate you on how to
calculate outs, odds, and pot equity until you're ready to stuff a copy of
Brunson's Super System down his gullet and put him on a plane back to
Des Moines.

Recommendation: You can't win with an Annoying Bastard, and you
can't go over the top on him. He's why god made iPods. Screen him out, then bust
him out.


However, another alternative for the inveterate table-teacher is one I've come to use more frequently of late. I ask, "Are the lessons free, or do we have to pay extra for them?" (This has a bit more bite if it's addressed to the dealer, while pointing in the general direction of the self-appointed professor, than if addressed directly to the offender. It sounds a bit more like a sincere question.*) The jerk usually can't resist the bait, and will say something like, "No, they're free." This set-up is such a softball that I should be ashamed to swing at it, but I like to follow that up with, "Oh, good--because they're worth what we're paying for them."

It really does seem to stem the flow of "lessons."

*My apologies to any dealers who have been put into an awkward position by involving them in this way, but in general I think they share my combination of amusement and annoyance at the "expert," and haven't minded the rhetorical question.