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Old School Poker Stories (pt. 3: Going to War with Nits)


stoic poker war with nits stripes
In this post Stoic Poker Dave goes to war with the nits.

I Once Dabbled In Nit Moves (shame)


If you have been reading along so far, you know that I used to be a bit of a wildman in the poker room, and generally in life. I thought today, rather than telling another story that illustrates what an out of control animal I used to be, I'd tell a story of the greatest service I used to offer: ridding the table of nits and improving the game.


When I first started playing poker I was way too shy and insecure to ask for the things I wanted. If they sat me at a table full of nits, maybe a maniac on my left, I just took it and thought "This session is going to suck." I would never ask for a table change, never a seat change, nothing.


As I became more experienced and serious about trying to win, I started doing all that stuff. I would seat hop people, stake out the other tables for big action and table change, all that nitty shit that ruins poker rooms through selfishness.


I Realized I Didn't Have to Be a Nit


I have never been someone that was that far out of touch with the way my actions affect the people around me, so I realized those nitty things were bad habits. But if I couldn't do those things ad nauseum, what could I do to improve the game I was in.


It didn't take me long to realize what had to be done. I had to learn what made a game good, and create those things wherever I was. I almost immediately started writing down a list of the things I wanted in my games:

  • I wanted action (at least willing to raise or 3b without aa, kk, or aks.)

  • I wanted nice people who could hold it together winning or losing

  • I wanted no angle shooters

  • I wanted no mega-tanking slow players

  • I would love to have at least a few fellow straddlers


Basically, I didn't want it to be impossible to have fun at the table, and I didn't want it to be impossible to play a big hand unless it was a cooler situation. Was that too much to ask? I realized it was too much to ask if I wasn't going to do all of those things myself.


That was the day I made the realization that everyone in the poker room wasn't just an idiot that showed up to punt while I grinded every piece of EV they left laying around. Everyone (except the filthy disgusting nits,) was there to have fun, and if I could provide that fun or turn a non-fun game into a fun one... the players I wanted would come.


Getting Good at Building Good Games


I started playing the way I wanted others to play, quick, action, kind to others, etc., and I noticed my games getting better already. Pretty quickly there were long lists of people waiting to table switch to "that table over there with all the big stacks and all the people laughing and having a good time."


At first that seemed like a great thing, but it was quickly revealed that the people on that list were nits that wanted to come and hoover up every piece of EV that someone accidentally left lying around while they were making the horrific error (in the eyes of a nit,) of trying to enjoy themselves while playing.


During those early days I didn't know how to protect what I had build. We actually lost some really fun whale-types who loved the games when I first started building them, but they got mad when the nits came flowing over and never came back.


If I was going to build something and have it last, I was going to have to learn how to be the nit exterminator.


To Be Continued...


I will lay out my battle plan to crush all the nits in the next blog post that continues this series...


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