Peer pressure is present in all walks of life and the green felt is no different. If you are a regular in any casino on the planet, especially in the low to mid-stakes games, you will encounter the same group of people again and again. What differentiates playing in a casino from many other scenarios is the fact that you will get to meet all sorts of people of different personal and professional backgrounds.
One thing most of these guys (and occasional girl) have in common, however, is that they are not particularly good at poker. They play for fun or because they believe they can play, but in reality their game is often mediocre at best.
Regardless, they have certain views on life and social interaction and they often try to transfer these beliefs to the felt, even when what they are standing for is in total opposition to the game's main objectives.
I can be one of the friendliest guys that you will encounter, honest to God. If you are nice to me, I will be nice to you, even if I don't particularly like you. But being friendly and nice has nothing to do with how I play.
People often mix things up. If you are nice with someone and buy them a drink or chat them up, all of a sudden they get insulted when you check-raise them on the flop. Why would you do this, I thought we were friends?
At first, I am sure you will try to explain yourself, but don't bother. If they could understand, they wouldn't be asking in the first place. Try to smile as politely as you can, stack your chips and let them vent a bit if they need to. Soon it will be water under the bridge.
Being strong-armed into making deals in tournaments is something you will have to learn to deal with. Once again, many of these people are playing for fun and after a while, it gets tiring and it is not fun anymore. This is the point when six-way deals in thirty-person tournaments are proposed.
Besides the fact that the very notion of that deal is ridiculous, they often want to make it so that everybody gets pretty much the same, regardless of the stack sizes. After all, we are all friends and it is just five-six big blinds difference.
What they don't understand is that in a hyper structure, five bigs is quite a difference, not to mention the skill difference and all the scared money out there. And when you refuse to make the deal, you will be the bad guy of the moment. I am sorry to say but there is really no way around it.
If you've chosen poker as your profession or as something to provide you with a decent side income, forget about being the nice guy. There is no need to be a douche, of course, but if you are good at what you do, people will not like you that much. Why? Because you take their money, it's really that simple. Everything else is just empty talk.
Ivan Potocki is a veteran Titan Poker player who was born in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and spent part of his childhood under war conditions. He studied English language and literature and discovered Texas Hold’em while in college. After working different jobs he turned to poker full time and this serves as his main source of income. You can follow him on Twitter: @ivanpotocki
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