Dick-swinging with Nick Wealthall

Dick-swinging with Nick Wealthall

Friday, 15 February 2013

This is a column about dicks. It’s about literal dicks, metaphorical dicks, dick-swinging and the dicks who swing them.

I don’t like dicks. I try not to be one or be around them, and I try not to swing my dick, although sometimes I fail. But if you want to succeed in poker, you really need to control your dick-swinging. This applies to men and women, by the way. Women have metaphorical dicks, although the absence of a literal dick often curbs the urge to swing their metaphorical dicks – and that’s a good thing.

Anytime you encounter somebody doing something irrational in life, it is usually because someone has made them feel their dick is small or because of their own need to prove their dick is the world’s biggest. (You can, of course, replace the word “dick” with the word “ego” here, although I won’t be doing it as it’s a lot less fun). [Nor will I – Ed.]

For example, we just had a presidential election. I’d submit to you that trying to become US President is an utterly irrational, borderline-insane thing to do with your life. It’s a pursuit almost certain to end in failure, and, with only one vacancy, your odds are kind of limited.

Getting the job takes years and is incredibly stressful and expensive. And it only pays $400,000 a year, which is a smattering of what Gary Lineker gets, to put it in perspective. You will have very little privacy, no time of your own and will become the number-one terrorist/whack job target on the planet.

So why do it? It’s all about the aforementioned dicks and the urge to swing them. In fact, there is no other reason to seek any political office whatsoever. People who genuinely want to change things go and set up orphanages or build bridges; people who like the sound of their own voices become politicians.

As a columnist and TV presenter, I’ve indulged in more than my fair share of dick-swinging and understand its appeal. It’s certainly true that in a lot of walks of life the desire to swing your dick can help you get ahead, although ultimately it probably leads to bad decisions. In poker that’s not the case. In poker dick-swinging will get you killed. Even worse, it kills poker games.

At the Bristol UKIPT recently, I saw some behaviour that is sadly very common and has become more and more so as time has gone by. At a tough table with three or four “pros or aspiring pros”, one of these players made an opening raise. The action folded round to an amateur player who made a 3-bet from a large stack. The original raise was to 15,000 and the amateur made it 100,000. Everyone folded including the original raiser and then the chatter started between the “pros”.

Just 100,000 then?
Well, it’s so much easier than fiddling with all those little chips!
Yeah, and 90,000 would just be wrong!
Hahahahahaha … HAH!

As ever in these situations, nothing is said directly to the amateur player but every word is heard and the amateur feels suitably belittled.
So let’s look at what actually happened. First of all, if you belittle anyone ever because you know something and they don’t, you’re a dick. If you want to swing your Dick of Extra Knowledge in someone’s face to prove your superiority, you’re a massive dick, although the chances of you having one downstairs are exponentially decreased.

Of course, this isn’t just a matter of politeness, it gets worse. You’ve just pointed out to this amateur player, in the most emphatic terms, that he’s made a mistake. Until you did that, he didn’t know he’d made a mistake. And you know how I know that? It’s because people don’t voluntarily make mistakes. You have educated him; you have gone out of your way to make him better. Now, if you dicks could all just pause from your dick-swinging and have a little think about that, you might conclude that making people you play against better at a game you’re trying to win might be the single most moronic thing you could possibly do in poker.

To sum up, you have tried to show the size of your literal dick by swinging your metaphorical dick in trying to prove that your opponent played like a dick. However, by your actions you have merely proved beyond a doubt that: a) you are a dick; and b) you have a tiny actual dick. Kudos.
It’s staggering that poker players who think they’re good at poker because they have some knowledge of how the game works continue to act in a way that ensures the education of their opponents and the destruction of the profitability of the games they want to win in. It’s totally irrational and, in the long run, self-destructive.

Happy New Year, by the way. Here’s to a dick-free 2013.

Tags: Nick Wealthall, Columnist