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The Cheats

Once, in the law school library, my friend Desi and I were playing in the same SNG. This was two or three years ago. At the time, I realized that if you colluded via IM, you could run roughshod over a table. Desi and I would IM each other our cards. We'd have more information than anyone else at the table. I came in 8th. He came in 6th. It didn't help us one bit. It may have hurt us.

Now, Desi and I were amatuer cheaters. We probably could've arranged with more people to cover 1/2 or more of the tables in a $100 SNG and take it down with ease. But we weren't like that. We were just a couple of schmos who wanted to see if we could give ourselves a little advantage.

That was the ONLY time I ever cheated at poker. I've discussed the possibility with people before, but I never acted on it. Because, to me, poker is a sacred game, and to cheat would ruin the sanctity.

Several years later, I was playing in a home game at my apartment. I had a rotating cast of characters, all of which were friends or friends of friends. One of them, who will remain nameless, was an avid card player. I was inebriated, when I saw him as the dealer, holding the cards below the table and bending two cards up to see the next card that would come out on the turn or river. I don't remember details, but I do remember that this move irked me. If I remember correctly, he wasn't in the hand. A little later, the nameless player was the dealer again, but this time, he was in the hand when the cards went below the table. I watched him out of the corner of my eye. I wanted to see what he was doing before I accused him of anything. And I had to do it in a way that did not tip off the other players, because if cheating was discovered, it could potentially end my home games. The nameless one folded his hand eventually, and I never did see what he was doing.

After the game busted, I pulled him aside. Whispering, I told him, "Look, I saw you messing with the cards beneath the table. I don't know what you are doing, but whatever it is, stop. This is not the place to cheat. We are all friends here, and the stakes are small, so cut the shit." He told me that he wasn't cheating. Apparently, in other games he's been to, its common for players out of the hand to look at upcoming cards. "Well, not here," I laid down the law, "I don't want to see those cards below the table." Quite simply, that's not how we do. To this day, I don't know if he was cheating. He may have been, but I'll assume that he didn't. Its not worth wasting a friendship over.

About a month ago, my mother returned from the annual ABA (American Booksellers Assoc.) convention. My father is in publishing, so for as long as I could remember, every year my parents would go to Chicago or LA or wherever for the annual convention. My father would do whatever he does, and my mom would go around getting freebies for my brothers and me. This year was no exception. I got some choice comics (Kingdom Come trade paperback! I'm a dork.) and a book on poker written by Penn Gillete of Penn & Teller. The name of the book: "How to Cheat Your Friends at Poker." I read through the book for a bit one day at the beach. Realistically, the book alone is not going to teach you much. You need a lot of practice, by the book's own admission. But it does give some guidance on how to cheat. I read the interesting stuff, about how the co-author lived his life as a poker cheat. I then threw the book in the garbage. I'm no cheat. I don't want to be a cheat. And I don't need any of my friends finding the book and thinking I'm a cheat.

If you cheat, get some integrity. Cheat on your wife, cheat on your taxes, but don't cheat at my fucking poker game. That shit is sacred.

posted by Jordan @ 12:58 PM,


At 3:42 PM, Blogger GaryC said...

Good post, J.

That's NOT how we roll. If I can't beat the game straight up, I will find a new game.


At 4:02 PM, Blogger Jordan said...

Thanks G. This is what I meant many a week ago when I called myself an "upstanding" guy. For better or worse, I hold myself to a high standard when it comes to being fair. There is enough injustice in this world without me contributing.

At 7:35 AM, Blogger D said...

An upstanding lawyer? WTF, I think the Bar might kick your ass out. What kind of lawyering do you do?

I am going to post something about cheating on my website. We actually had 2 people cheat at a bachelor party Hold em tourney.

I play poker for the challenge, cheating is for losers.

At 11:02 AM, Blogger TripJax said...

My cheat story coming soon on at my blog...

At 11:06 AM, Blogger TripJax said...

And sometime soon you need to have a post dedicated to explaining what the fuck your About Me picture is about. It's fucking hilarious, strange, scary, and WTF? all in one.

Now that Kip and I have dropped pics on our sites, when do we get to see G's mullet and J without a gun (possibly with fiance Kim!)?


At 3:32 PM, Blogger Jordan said...

Actually, I already wrote a post about the pic, but I'll add a link to it in my next post.


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