Daniel Negreanu – Poker Articles
Old Man With an EarringPoker article written by Daniel Negreanu and published in Card Player Magazine
When I was growing up, the majority of the professionals in my game were also very young. As I’ve said in past columns, we all became close friends. The live ones were usually older businessmen taking the day off or playing during their lunch breaks, except for one guy we simply called “old man with an earring.”
His real name was Evan Weiner, and he was a regular in the game. He didn’t “need” the money, but he played to win, nonetheless. Evan was quite a character, and was very witty and intelligent, yet if you rubbed him the wrong way, he had no patience for you. I guess he just had a problem with stupid people, I don’t know.
Anyway, when he first started playing poker at the charity casinos in Toronto, he had excellent results. At that time, it was common to see 10 or 11 players take a flop. It was not a hard game to beat if you knew anything at all about hold’em. Eventually, though, the live ones in Toronto either went broke or learned a little more about the game and survived. That made the games a little tougher — simply “playing good cards” just wouldn’t cut it anymore — especially at Fundtime (the place where we played).
After a while, it was clear to Evan that he was outclassed in our game. He missed far too many bets and was far too readable to the young hotshot players. He would either have to learn to play stronger and more aggressively, or find another place to play. The holes in his game were just too big to overcome against tough competition. Evan was no quitter, though; he wasn’t going to let these young punks push him around for too long!
All of the young pros had a unique relationship with Evan. We didn’t see him as an “old man with an earring”; we respected him and saw him as a good friend. He’d often join us after a day’s play for dinner, or sometimes to watch a game.
Now, Evan knew that he wasn’t the best poker player in the world — nor did he claim to be. That was one of his strongest attributes. He didn’t take offense to criticism, he actually listened! That enabled him to really soak up a lot of information that made him a much better poker player. It wasn’t long before Evan was back on the winning track. As I said, he didn’t need the money, but he wouldn’t tolerate being a loser — no way!
We didn’t exactly give Evan lessons, he just became more observant. He really started to pay attention and tried to understand what the better players in the game were doing, and why the things they were doing worked. Occasionally, he asked one of us if we thought he played his hand correctly, and we had no problem discussing it with him. I know, I know, don’t educate, but we liked having Evan around. He was a fun guy to have in the game, and more importantly, he was our friend.
To be honest, I was never threatened by Evan. In fact, watching him improve as a player didn’t upset me at all. I was happy to see him “figure it out.” Watching his improvement as a player made me realize one important thing about poker — one thing of which I had to be aware if I was ever going to be truly successful: Never let your ego interfere with the improvement of your game. Accept the fact that you have much to learn about poker, and that you’ll never truly master the game. At every stage of your poker career, you will continuously be learning. Those who stop learning are left behind. Evan realized this and it paid off. Rather than call the young players “lucky,” he tried to understand what they were doing better than he. It’s much easier to be bitter about losing and blame it on “young luck.” You have no idea how many times I’ve heard this: “When I was your age, kid, I used to make every hand, too. When you get to be my age, though, you won’t make all them flushes.” Blah, blah, blah. How moronic is that?
Take responsibility for your results. If they aren’t as good as you’d like them to be, do something about it! Get a mentor, read a book, study the best player in your game — do something! Learn a lesson from Evan, and check your ego at the door. You’ll be surprised what you can learn if you allow yourself to accept criticism from a friend who may be able to help you. Sometimes it’s good to have a friend help you fine-tune your game when things are looking dismal. When things are going badly, you may develop bad habits that you may not be aware of, but that are obvious to your opponents. Hopefully, your friends will see them and be willing to help you when you’re down. I know that my friends certainly did, and I thank all of them.
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Card Player Poker Articles
With over one hundred poker articles spanning the last five years and a new poker article written every two weeks and published in Card Player magazine, Daniel Negreanu brings the world of poker to the tables of countless poker enthusiasts and poker players alike.
As a regular Card Player columnist, Daniel's poker articles have helped many readers learn the game of poker from the early days of an upcoming professional poker player to the realization of a true poker champion last year as Daniel became the 2004 Card Player Player of the Year, as well as, one of the most successful tournament players in history with 36+ worldwide wins and bragging rights as the WPT All-Time Top Money Winner.
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