In the first half of our two-part series, we turned our attention towards some serious real-life afflictions that affected some of our favorite poker players. As the writer of said editorial, I’ll be the first to admit that the subject matter was awfully depressing and morbid. As I’ve doubtless said a countless number of times, poker is an entertaining card game, and no one embraces that sense of enjoyment more than the staff of FlopTurnRiver. As such, for part two of this series I have decided to focus the on some silly, slightly tongue-in-cheek maladies. While this editorial piece in no way discredits the real-life struggles depicted in part one of this article, we always need a little laughter in our lives (especially during a particularly rough losing session). Here is part two.
1. Chronic Asshole Disease – Dan Bilzerian
Ok, so this isn’t a real disease (that we know of), but let’s face it: Dan Bilzerian, for all his Instagram photos full of half-naked strippers, guns, and piles of cash, is, for lack of a better word, an asshole. While the “bros” around the world may cling tight to their supposed hero, I’m struggling to see anything other than a spoiled brat living off his father’s considerable trust fund. In 2014 alone, he made headlines for throwing a porn star off a roof and for getting banned from a Miami nightclub after he kicked a woman in the face. Stay classy, jackass.
2. Narcissist Personality Disorder – Phil Hellmuth
People with this disorder have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for admiration, and a lack of empathy for other people. They are typically upset when they are not given the special treatment or admiration that they think they deserve. Hmmm, does this sound like a certain 13-time WSOP bracelet winner? Phil is infantile, abusive, and downright comical in the way he handles the ups and downs of poker and his own ego. Despite his considerable accomplishments, his conduct around the poker table (regardless of whether some of it is just for the cameras or not) has turned the world champion and first ballot hall of famer into a running joke.
Here are two of my favorite quotes from Mr. Hellmuth:
“When I watch myself on TV, I am a bit compelling.”
“If there weren’t luck involved, I would win every time.”
3. Thousand Yard Stare/Shell Shock – Mike McDonald
Anyone who has played against or watched Mike McDonald is familiar with his infamous look known as “The Stare.” McDonald, or “Timex,” as he’s known to the poker world, goes perfectly still, slowing both his breathing and his blinking to a crawl, and then he affixes his unwavering gaze directly at his unlucky opponent. He stares so hard it looks as if he can see their very souls! Although it somewhat resembles the thousand yard stare often associated with soldiers suffering from PTSD (haha, we kid Mike!), it’s hard to argue with the results—Mike McDonald is one of the most feared tournament poker players in the world today, with over $11.3 million in tournament winnings, 110 career cashes, and 9 titles.
Of course, it doesn’t work on everybody, which brings us to our next person on the list…
4. Poor Sense of Humor – Daniel Negreanu
Daniel Negreanu may be one of the most famous, beloved, and successful players in the history of poker, but he also has a somewhat off-color side that many people overlook. Although his table demeanor is usually squeaky clean, he occasionally crosses the line with his attempts at humor. Some of you reading this may think that I’m crazy, but Negreanu’s history backs up my claim. DNgegs has appeared in blackface in a wildly derided Internet video, mocked Asian players using a stereotypical broken English accent on television, and has made several insensitive statements towards women. While I have to assume that he doesn’t mean anything malicious with (most) of his comments, someone should tell “Kid Poker” that he’s a poker player not a comedian, and that his comments set a bad example.
5. Delusional Disorder/Compulsive Gambling Disorder – All of us
I’m not a gambling man… ok that’s completely false; I AM a gambling man, and I’m willing to bet that 99% of the people reading this editorial have suffered from either of these disorders on the poker table.
It’s extremely easy to delude yourself into thinking that you are a better player than you really are, that “the spade is going to come on the river,” or that “this fifth buy-in is going to win all my money back.” Ego always plays a major role on the poker table, and, although it occasionally has a place, more often than not your ego is going to kill your play and your bankroll.
So many players fall victim to overconfidence; many more players suffer from compulsive gambling syndrome.
Here are some signs of compulsive gambling:
– Getting a thrill from gambling
– Taking bigger gambling risks
– Taking time off from work and family to gamble
– Lying or hiding how much you gambled
– Feeling guilt or remorse after a gambling loss
– Borrowing money to gamble
– Preoccupation with gambling
Good lord, I think I just described myself and every other player I know.