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The Wayward Tale Of The Sixth Best Poker Player

The Wayward Tale Of The Sixth Best Poker Player

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The most important decisions we make as poker players begin before the first card is dealt to us. Two critical decisions that affect your potential profit the most are table selection and opponent/position selection. At the Poker Politico, we think it is best to illustrate this point by telling the ancient poker lore about the story of “Evil Mordy and Beam Tolliver”. The lessons we should take away from the story are described directly below the true tale. Enjoy!!

Once upon a time, in a land far far away……the Evil Mordy, a used computer salesman, stumbled upon a magical genie lamp. He rubbed it, and a genie named Jardel came out. This was not a normal genie, rather Jardel was a grotesque female genie. She had the hideous appearance of a combination between Roseanne Barr and Rodney Dangerfield. She gave Evil Mordy two wishes. First he said that he wished to become a great poker player. Jardel the Genie granted him this wish. She said, “I will make you the 6th best poker player in the entire world. With these poker skills you should be able to amass a fortune beyond your wildest imagination”.

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His second wish was especially malevolent and cruel. Evil Mordy derived his happiness in watching and hoping for the failure of others. Evil Mordy was insanely jealous of another townsperson named Beam Tolliver, who was always very happy with his life and adored by the townspeople. Beam Tolliver, a baker of modest means, yearned to make enough money playing poker at night to buy the bakery where he worked before it was forced to close its doors by the bank. For Evil Mordy’s second wish, he asked Jardel the Genie to ensure that Beam Tolliver could never become a great poker player. The genie granted him this second wish. The genie said, “Beam Tolliver will never be able to play poker above a mediocre level. No matter how much he studies and learns, he will only be a middle of the road player”. Evil Mordy callously giggled with glee at Jardel’s the Genie’s words. With the fortune that Evil Mordy amassed with his newly gifted skills, he would buy the bakery that Beam Tolliver worked at and board the doors shut. This tragically would leave Beam Tolliver without a job and his family to starve. Evil Mordy continued his dainty skipping routine for the rest of that day, repugnantly laughing the whole time.

Beam Tolliver studied poker material night and day, so he could make enough money to buy the bakery before the Evil Mordy could buy it first and board the doors shut. Unfortunately, he had been cursed by Mordy to not be able to become a great player but he never wavered in his confidence that he would make enough money to save the bakery he loved so dearly.
Evil Mordy used money he stole from the town orphanage and baby penguin sanctuary as a bankroll to begin applying his new amazing skill set to amass riches in poker. He heard of a game where the best players in the world go, and they played for big money! The other five players at the game were known as The Fearsome Five, and were the best five poker players in the world. He couldn’t resist his ego and decided that is the game he would play and beat. He sat down at the last empty seat of the six handed game. For some reason, he could not win a hand to save his life!! Every hand, every session, everyday, the evil Mordy would lose. His massive ego would not allow him to leave this game and simply go down the street to the poker games with players much less talented. Eventually, he lost every last penny. Poker lore knows him as the ‘6th Best Player in the World and The Fearsome Five’. He became a beggar on the street and eventually entered the dark underworld of male street walking.

Meanwhile, Beam Tolliver decided it was time to put his mediocre poker skill set to use. Unlike the Evil Mordy, Beam Tolliver kept his ego in check and had no darkness in his heart. He searched the lands far and wide for poker tables with terrible poker players whose skills were less developed than his own. He found these to be very plentiful. Once seated at the table, he would pick the worst two players and try to play only against them, rather than attempting to beat the best players at the game. His mediocre skill set was far better than the technique of the two worst players he was competing against in these easier, more profitable games. In this way he was able to generate a very high hourly rate, and a rate much higher than the Evil Mordy was able to generate back in his days of fast moving used computer sales. Beam Tolliver used the money to buy the bakery from the bank.

His bakery became extremely successful. Beam Tolliver was able to provide financial security and happiness to his family, his two main goals in life. His hourly rate was so high that he had much wealth to spare. He decided that since the money was of little importance to him, he would save the Evil Mordy from his bleak existence and he offered the beggar a job selling used pagers at a kiosk outside his bakery. Evil Mordy named it “Hit me on my hip” and it became a modestly successful business.
Everyone lived happily ever after…

The End

The moral of this story is that the competition we play hands against is the single biggest factor in our profitability. The first and most important decision to make in any given session is which table to sit down and play. If you play poker in casinos, you likely have many tables to choose from. Don’t put yourself on the players list until you have walked through the room and seen which tables look like the most profitable. Commonly the floor person has multiple choices of available seats at different tables. If you don’t ask them what is available, they will just send you to the first one on their list. Once you get a seat, assess the table again more thoroughly. If you were given an unfavorable table, immediately ask the floor person to be on the table change list for a table that you surveyed and concluded is profitable.

Upon first being seated at the table you want, it is important to select which opponents are weakest. These need to be the players you constantly seek to get in hands with. If they limp and you think you can isolate them with a raise, then do it!! This should certainly be an area of focus for home game players that are stuck with only one table to play. Don’t go overboard and widen your hand range too much. Make sure the hands you are playing against these fish have positive value. Just try to isolate them whenever possible.

As poker players, most of our money comes from the mistakes made by our opponents. Why would you not try to mainly play pots with the players who are constantly making critical mistakes? Too often, ego gets in the way, and players like to try and take down the ‘big stack’ or the tough aggressive player who stands out, while totally missing the loose passive “fish in a barrel” that is floundering right next them.

Don’t be an Evil Mordy. Be the Beam Tolliver!!

Written by: Jason Bloom
July 6th, 2015

Comment(10)

      1. Had a bad week in Vegas during WSOP. Bumped out in position 510 in tournament of 1915 players. Then played cash 1/2 NL games for 6 days. Lost every day. Felt I had been hexed, as my record for the past year was above 70% wins in the 2/4L and 1/2NL games here.

        1. Sorry to hear that. Next year will be better. As your total numbers suggest, you are a winning player. Did you change the range of hands you played during the wsop cash games? What about aggression?

          1. Wish I knew what I had done differently other than making a few mistakes and not getting real action when I had a strong hand. I just think I was hexed:).

  1. I enjoy your blogs a lot. I liked this one a lot, but I need some help. I try to do that, but I have trouble spotting the good players or the fish without playing or atleast watching them for awhile. I could use help spotting them quicker.

    1. Thanks for your comment. Classifying players and tables into categories is very important, but can prove to be easier said then done. First and foremost, identify which kind of table and opponent you play best against. If you do well in crazy loose aggressive games, then seek out large multi-way pots. These tables are often very loud with younger players. If you do better in tight games, seek out quieter games where opponents are older. Loud tables are typically action tables. Avoid games where it looks like everyone is paying attention. The same can be said for individual opponents. Avoid players who are constantly paying attention to the action. Seek out opponents who don’t seem like they are paying attention to the game. Look for large pots moving back and forth between players. A wise tight player can capitalize on the mistakes made in these games. The presence of alcohol is always good of course. The most important factor is to seek out opponents who are not playing to win, and they are everywhere!

  2. Game selection is definitely one of the most overlooked concepts in poker today. It’s surprising how few people even consider it. However I do also believe that, whilst it may be a costly lesson, there is definitely added long term value from playing with players that are considerably better than yourself. It’s beneficial to see what exactly they are doing different to the losing players and trying to analyse their actions. That being said with Training sites and other great sources of free information available now-a-days it may not be the most cost-effective method!

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