Character of a Poker Player

RiverboatPoker

To be a winner at poker, you must understand the mentality of the other players. After more than 30 years of playing this great card game, I think I understand how a poker player thinks.

Poker players are aggressive people. Some think they can muscle their way to victory. Not so, but they try. I like to play against players like that. They have their eye so focused on the prize that they overlook the danger. I try to be that danger.

The other night i made the two-hour drive up interstate 17 north from Charleston to Myrtle Beach. There is a casino cruise ship called The Big M docked at Little River about eight miles from North Myrtle Beach.

I paid my $20 entrance fee, only to find 14 players had already signed up for the $2-5 no limit Texas Hold'em game. The casino had only one dealer -- the others were off sick. So I had to wait to get into the game.

They finally called my name and I made my $200 minimum buy-in. A few hands into the game I was dealt A-Q off-suit. In the past I would have raised with this hand, but I just call. Another player with a big stack of chips raises. i make the call.

The flop comes a-7-8. i check and the raiser bets. I call. On fourth street, a 3 falls. I check and the raiser makes a larger wager. I call. Fifth street brings a 2. i check. This time the raiser bets enough money to put me all in. I call and turn over the winning hand.

He threw away his pocket 10s and said he knew I probably had an ace.

'I wanted you to throw away your ace,' he confessed.

That is the thinking of many poker players today. They play a bold aggressive game of poker -- too aggressive sometimes. While these tactics will win, they can get you in trouble with the wrong player. I wanted to be that player.

During the two and a half hours of play, I competed in three hands and won all three. The wins gave me a nice profit for the evening.

One of the other players told the others, 'He played in three hands and won all three.' It was a combination compliment and warning to the other players.

AggressivePokerPlayersGame

Gambling on a boat is fun. The gentle rocking of the vessel is comparable to riding a saddle bronco which I did for years in New Mexico and Arizona. You just move with the boat and you'll never get seasick.

Quite a few of the 360 passengers on The Big M became seasick on the cruise. They could be found lying on the stairwells holding brown paper bags to their mouths. Or lying with their head cradled in their arms at a table.

The Big M is a three-decked ship with an open air deck on top. There passengers can smoke, order drinks and live the free life that much of society restricts. I love it on that open air deck.

Two musicians performed for us. They were Michael Stallings and Stony Bowman. They are incredible guitar-playing blues musicians who can enthrall a crowd with songs like 'Black Magic Woman,' 'I shot The Sheriff' and B.B. King's 'The Thrill Is Gone.'

These guys do blues, jazz, standards and rev/d up country. They're worth a long look anywhere they play. I give them five golden stars.

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