I’ve been in Sydney for the Sydney Poker Championships this week and as usual I’ve heard players scream out every over-used term that has ever polluted the ears of their opponents. Which got me thinking – what poker terminology would I like to see stricken from existence if I had my way?
By far the most common of these is the good old “One time”. This is a term yelled out by players when they are all-in for their tournament life and needing some help from the dealer to stay alive. Maybe it’s the good old A-K versus Q-Q race where they need their Queens to hold. Maybe they’re on a flush draw? But you see, the problem with yelling “One time” is that it isn’t “One time” at all. Players find themselves in these spots all the time and plenty of them yell “One time” many, many times over the course of their lives. I understand that if you’re playing in a big buy-in tournament then this may well be the “One time” you really do need your hand to get there, but please, spare me the cliché.
I have also noticed a proliferation of players needing to inform the table that if they had played the previous hand they would have flopped a monster. Let’s say we’ve got a 4-bet pre-flop pot and the flop comes 3-5-7. How often have you heard someone quip “No, I folded 6-4!” as if they have made some terrible life-altering mistake. It’s a pointless announcement, because if you were to even contemplate getting involved with 6-4 in that 4-bet pot you’ve got bigger problems than what the flop might or might not have been.
And the killer? “SICK”. If I had a dollar for the number of times I’ve heard this these past few days I’d buy the casino. On one particular hand, when the chips went in with one player holding Q-Q and the other A-A, we witnessed a Q appear on the flop and then an A on the turn, which of course elicited multiple cries of “Sick … that’s so sick” from around the table. Well, aside from the fact that the best hand won in the end, there is nothing sick about anything that happens at the poker table. Poker is a game of mathematical probabilities and possibilities. Sometimes your opponent is going to overcome the fact that they are a 2 percent underdog and hit their one-outer. That’s inevitable.
So please, avoid the clichés and stop trying to be like everyone else in the crowd. Who knows, the Poker Gods might even smile on you for your efforts?