Are You a Stone Cold Sucker at the Poker Table?

Poker has changed over the years and so has my poker game. I know my game has changed. Besides knowing it intuitively, I’ve keep records… always did, even when poker was just a hobby. That’s how I learned.

Even when it was dreadfully painful to look back at the results, I kept records… accurate records. Even when they wounded my ego and were a reminder of how poorly I played, I kept an honest log of both my numbers and what had happened during each session.

I carried over that habit into both my poker playing and eventually my poker coaching.

You might call my early poker-playing journals the original good, bad and ugly.

donkey-stone-cold-suckerNothing is more sobering than a grumpy, old poker player looking you straight in the face across the poker table, scowling, and loudly announcing, “You used to be a stone cold sucker,” and then going silent.

That’s exactly what happened just last night at the Beau Rivage in Biloxi, Mississippi during a 10/20 limit, Omaha 8 cash game.

Sure, I had a lot to learn when I first started playing poker in 1996; everyone does, but “a stone cold sucker”… really?

He went on, “Your last name is Blevins, right?”

“Yes,” I flatly said. That I could not deny.

“You used to write about poker, right?”

“Still do,” I said.

He proceeded to repeat himself, “You used to be a stone cold sucker.”

Yeah, I heard that the first time. I felt like someone just opened the toilet door while I was in the middle of taking a dump. I felt totally exposed and, yes, defensive.

It occurred to me that he might just get up to use the microphone and make that announcement so everyone can hear. Give it a rest.

When I first started playing poker…

We lived in Southwest Florida when I first learned to play, and we would make the long, full-day drive to Biloxi for real poker. The Grand was our favorite poker room until Hurricane Katrina picked up the casino barge and dumped it across Beach Boulevard in 2005.

I learned to play Omaha 8 at the Grand and last night was like a homecoming. It was the first time I had sat down at a Biloxi poker table since 2004, and surprisingly I had run into several familiar faces. However, I never expected to face my past so abruptly.

Grumpy face went on. “I played with you before, and you used to be a stone cold sucker.”

He looked over at the player to my left, who was another ole’ timer, and asked for confirmation. “She was a stone cold sucker, right?”

Geez, give it a rest. You’ve said it 4 times!

The poker player to my left nodded and quietly said, “Yes, she was. You are right.”

Do you ever hate it when someone is right about your poker playing?

It’s been 9 years since I last played poker in Biloxi. How do they remember?

Sure I’m 6 feet 5, but the poker table is the great equalizer. Once you sit down, you are pretty much the same height. It’s your play that sets you apart… Gulp.

With the same scowl on his face, grumpy poker player redeemed me. “You used to be a stone cold sucker… Not no more… Not no more.”

Who would have thought those 3 little words could mean so much… “Not no more”!

As the words registered, I began to chuckle as the embarrassment faded to delight… “Not no more”. .

“What made me such a sucker?” I asked grumpy poker player.

“You were in every pot. You were the life of the party. You were in every pot and chasing… Not no more”.

Hmm… I caution my poker coaching clients to avoid playing too loose and being too chatty at the poker table. At least they now know where that wisdom comes from.

There was a light stack in front of me, and I had not pulled any pots since I sat down an hour ago. I certainly had not made any moves or demonstrated any stellar play.

How did he know that I was no longer a stone cold sucker?

I had been quietly sitting there paying close attention to the other players. It’s good to know that my table image has evolved along with my game.

Feedback about your poker game is good, even when it’s startling.

It’s proof that what I share with my poker coaching clients comes from real life.

Seventeen years have passed, and my poker has morphed from a hobby to a vocation to a lifestyle. It continues to help me discover the truth about myself and step into my power as well as giving me the platform to coach other players to find their authentic game.

The process of looking back at what just happened comes from my sales background. When we owned a real estate brokerage, my husband and I made it a consistent practice to debrief each other after each sales call. Even when it was a painful process, I gained perspective by stepping away from the situation and taking an honest look at the experience.

In my poker mindset coaching practice, I’ve refined that debriefing process I learned in sales into a method of coaching that is effective, honest and forgiving.

I think the forgiving part is critical for quick growth with your poker game. When you’re judgmental about your actions at the poker table, you shut down.

Self-forgiveness and acceptance shows us the lessons and allows growth both at the poker table and in life.

When you are ready to take your poker game to the next level and face the honest truth about where you are and what you want from your poker game, you might be ready for my Elite Poker Coaching program.

Send me a message on my contact page with “Poker Scholarship” in the subject line, and tell me why you want me for your poker mindset coach.

Someone might come up to you some day and say, “You used to be a stone cold sucker… Not no more.”

Until next time, remember my motto…

“If you can’t raise, don’t call.”

Donna Blevins
Poker MindSet Coach

BTW, I’d appreciate you commenting below and sharing this blog on social media.

12 Responses to Are You a Stone Cold Sucker at the Poker Table?

  1. Kat TrabertNo Gravatar August 23, 2013 at 4:03 pm #

    Love the revelation…and feedback can be very constructive, in my humble opinion! Play large, Donna!

    • Donna BlevinsNo Gravatar August 24, 2013 at 8:18 am #

      Yes Kat, feedback is a precious mirror! Love the “play large”!

  2. joyce lafrayNo Gravatar August 23, 2013 at 4:10 pm #

    Ok, so did you win?

    • Donna BlevinsNo Gravatar August 24, 2013 at 8:14 am #

      Certainly felt like a winner Joyce! As far as my bankroll, I temporarily left a few chips at the table :)

  3. judyNo Gravatar August 23, 2013 at 6:19 pm #

    great read— truly love ur blogs!!!!!

  4. Anthony HoweNo Gravatar August 23, 2013 at 7:29 pm #

    Very interesting post Donna. Although I have never been told I used to be a sucker at the poker table. Probably because I have been playing 27 years and started off in an advanced mode from the start. I have been following your blogs and coaching strategies a few years now and think that you a very wise in your coaching ability. Keep up the good work!

    • Donna BlevinsNo Gravatar August 24, 2013 at 8:09 am #

      Thank you Anthony! Being called a sucker and wise on the same page… Sweet!

  5. DCNo Gravatar August 24, 2013 at 4:32 am #

    Good article. The fourth time Grumpy said it really got me. As to feeling so good about his “Not no more,” I don’t know. What are you seeking from him? I kind of relish it when my play is being castigated. It often means they’re feeing threatened. All that massive ego, you know, all those god’s gift to the game types, don’t like being out-gambled. Funny, when you wrote about “poker/vocation/lifestyle” I first read it as “poker VACATION lifestyle … something close to my heart. We perceive in accordance with who we are.

    • Donna BlevinsNo Gravatar August 24, 2013 at 8:06 am #

      Well said DC! Approval was not my intention. It took me so off guard.
      It’s interesting you read ‘vacation’… my feelings too. Even promoted my first boot camp I did using internet platforms as a “poker stacation”… learn from the comfort and privacy of tour home.

  6. SteveNo Gravatar August 26, 2013 at 6:09 am #

    Everyone plays differently, everyone changes their game up from time to time. This person who says how you played way back when, doesn’t know the new Donna and her winning ways on the poker felt .

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