Why I Don’t Talk about Hands When I’m Playing

I’ve made a new friend at Lucky Chances. His name is Django. (Pronounced Jango.) He’s a young, instantly likable player, very sharp and well-respected. The first dozen times we played together was in early 2007 when I played a few times a week for a few months. It was right after my book came out. I hadn’t played for a year and a half. During that time, he had become an established regular in the big no-limit game at LC.

One day, I raised preflop, he called from the blind, he checked the flop, I bet the flop, he checkraised, and I folded.

Another day, the same thing happened.

During those sessions I saw him do the same thing a couple times with draws.

So the next time I went to play, I decided in the car that if this pattern came up again, I was going all the way with my hand if I had a pair.

And sure enough, it happened again. I had a pair (a pocket pair of eights), I opened for $120 preflop, he called from the big blind, he checked the flop, I bet $200, he made it $700, I called, he bet $1100 on the turn, I called, he bet $1700 on the river, I called, and he mucked. I won and no cards were shown.

(The flop was 9-4-2 rainbow. The turn was a queen and the river was a jack.)

He took a break right away. When he came back, he started talking to me about the hand. I knew I must really like this guy because I spoke.

“What’d you have?” he asked.

“I would like to answer your question, really I would, but I am incapable of telling the truth in situations like this, so there’s really no point in me saying anything.”

“You had pocket kings,” he said.

Fastforward to last week.

I hadn’t been to Lucky Chances for about a year. I had been playing for a few hours, when Django took a seat in the game, across the table from me. Right away he started talking about the hand from a year ago. He asked if I remembered the hand.

“Yes,” I said. “The flop was 9-4-2 rainbow.” Before that sentence, it had been five or six years at least since I had mentioned actual cards at a poker table.

“Wow! Nice memory!” he said.

He said some more stuff about the hand that I didn’t reply to. A couple hours later, he moved to a seat right next to me. We chatted a little bit about this and that, and then he brought up the hand again.

“I’ll tell you what I had,” I said. “I had pocket threes. I decided in the car, on the way to the casino, that I was going to call you down with any pair if that pattern came up again.”

“I don’t believe you,” he said.

“I believe you,” I said.

“You believe that I don’t believe you?”

“Right.”

“Well, I had K6. Totally nothing.”

“I don’t believe you,” I said.

“Huh? Are you calling me a liar?”

“Yes. That’s what ‘I don’t believe you’ means. It means I think you are lying.”

“Well,” he said. “I didn’t really mean it when I said I believed you had pocket threes.”

“I believe you.”

“But before you said you believed that I believed you had pocket threes?”

“But you forgot something.”

“What?”

“That I am incapable of telling the truth when it comes to talking about hands, or talking about talking about hands.”

“You’re a sick fuck.”

“I believe you.”