In last week’s Poll of the Week I asked “What do you think when someone apologises for putting a bad beat on you?” and your answers were, in order, that you:
1 – appreciated the gesture;
2 – weren’t bothered if they did or didn’t;
3 – preferred that they didn’t apologise.
I said I would return to this subject and that’s what I’m going to do today. The reason I asked the question is because of something somebody said to me in a live game in Australia after I had apologised to a player.
The hand was worthy of an apology I can tell you. It was the luckiest hand I played the whole trip. Basically I had two red tens on a 7c 8c 9c flop and I shoved all in. I’d put in a big raise preflop against some limpers and one opponent flat called. I decided I had so few good cards left in the deck that I didn’t want to see any of them and I ended up going all in on the flop. I wasn’t playing that deep but it was still a big overbet. Of course he had two black aces! I was in big trouble, but I somehow wriggled out of it as the Jack of spades came to my rescue and gave me a straight.
“Sorry mate” I said to my opponent. I really was sorry – he had me in a world of pain on the flop (77% – 23% fav) and more’s the point, had totally outplayed me with that flat call preflop. I wouldn’t have guessed he had AA if I could have had ten guesses.
“If you were really sorry you’d give him his money back” said the floorman who happened to witness it.
I hear this all the time. And I think it’s one of the most unoriginal, bullshit things said in poker. People assume you can’t possibly be sorry because you’ve won some money. Apparently the only thing in the world that can prove you are sorry is by handing over all the money you just won.
“Well I AM sorry” I insisted. “I’m sorry for him. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy I won the hand but I’m honestly sorry because I sucked out so badly”
“Well if you were sorry you’d give him his money back”, he said, tediously repeating his pea-brained little point, which he was no doubt only saying because he’d heard someone else utter it once before. (You might think I’m being harsh but he was saying it with a really smug expression, palms face up with a little shrug that said “I’m just so right on this one mate”, like he’d just proved Fermat’s Last twatting Theorem). I didn’t pursue it.
I don’t have a problem with people apologising to me and I think it’s good form unless they are blatantly taking the piss. But I’ve heard the floorman’s argument so many times before. It’s just not true that you can’t be sorry.
Was I being dishonest by saying “sorry”? Absolutely not.
Like I say, I’m happy for me, sorry for him. And if people can’t understand that simple point, particularly people who aren’t in the hand, then it’s just tough luck. Ever heard the saying “mixed emotions”? It is possible. Let’s just say in this case I was 80% happy and 20% sorry.
You’re probably sorry when you hear someone’s lost his job. But you don’t give him your own salary, do you? There are millions of people starving in the world and I bet you are genuinely sorry for them, but you don’t give them all your food. You don’t have to give something in order to be sorry.
I’m sorry for the family of the soldier that dies. But I don’t offer up my own life as a sacrifice to their families. OK maybe I’m getting a bit ridiculous now. But the point I’m making is this: it is possible to be happy for yourself and sorry for someone else at the same time and you don’t have to hand something over in order to be sorry. This is poker and I’m trying to beat you, but I’m still a human being who can sympathise with a guy who got unlucky.
All the saying “if you were sorry you’d give him his money back” proves, is that there are an endless army of morons walking the planet who just mindlessly repeat things they heard someone else say because they think it sounds cool and believe that having the ability to repeat a string of words somehow makes them intelligent, usually when butting into a conversation about a hand of poker that they were not personally involved in.
And that is all I have to say on the matter. Oh except one last thing.
For the record, my opponent wasn’t getting upset in the slightest. His response was a cool
“No worries Champ”
It’s a great response – conveying his total lack of concern at the money and also planting a seed of doubt in my mind. Because when a much older gentleman calls you “Champ” you can never quite be sure that he isn’t taking the piss out of you. He probably was, but you can hardly make an issue out of it, can you? Especially when you’ve put a bad beat on him like that!