Daniel Negreanu – Poker Articles
Ding, Ning, Ning, Ning!Poker article written by Daniel Negreanu and published in Card Player Magazine
That’s the sound slot machines make when you walk through the casino, but I heard this sound long before I ever stepped foot in a casino. I heard it back in my teen years while playing $10-$20 poker at the charity casinos. It was the sound my friend James Canto made virtually every time he won a pot.
I’m serious. He would rake in a pot, and then at the top of his lungs yell out, “Ding, ning, ning, ning!” He’d then display an annoying little grin and giggle some more — just enough to drive most everyone crazy. If I hadn’t known James away from the table, I definitely don’t think we would have been friends. He was just far too annoying at the table to fathom.
I did a lot of thinking, though, about what James was trying to accomplish with his antics. Why was he so keen on getting under everybody’s skin? It finally dawned on me. Now, I’m not sure if James knowingly created this image or was just being himself, but he had everybody gunning for him when he was in a pot. His opponents wanted nothing more than to put a bad beat on him so they could stand up and yell out, “Ding, ning, ning, ning” right in his face. James had that effect on people.
I started to wonder if being annoying was a good way to put people on tilt and play badly against you. It seemed to work for James.
Now, James wasn’t all bad at the table; the recreational players either loved him or despised him. He certainly added energy and life to a poker game, but some of the recreational players just wanted to play poker. They hated the circus act that James put on when he was in a pot. In fact, several of the players would quit the game when James became too much to handle. On some days, he could be quiet for up to five minutes, while on others, I honestly believe he forgot to breathe.
In small doses, James was actually a funny guy, but after a while his act would begin to wear thin. If he’d been drinking at all, he would quickly become unbearable to listen to.
So, I would ask myself, is it worth it? Is it worth ticking off people just so they’ll give you more action? After much thought, I finally decided that I didn’t think so. The alternative was just so much better. Being a “nice guy” didn’t mean that James wouldn’t have gotten paid off. He played lots of hands anyway, so he was going to get paid off regardless!
Since the movie Rounders, I’ve noticed a trend that I’m not too happy about. I’ve noticed lots of younger players playing the game, which is a good thing, but I’ve also noticed some behavior that just doesn’t belong in our game — a lack of respect, if you will. When you win a pot, just take it in, give the dealer a dollar or two, and move on. No victory dance is necessary, nor is an “I’m the man” glare across the table at the person you just beat in a pot. Basically, there’s no need to make winning a pot against somebody a personal thing. It is just a game. It isn’t a war between the young and the old, or between you and the other young kid across the table from you.
For many, the game’s a job, but for others, it’s just an entertaining afternoon. Don’t spoil it for them by behaving immaturely and beating your chest like King Kong.
I receive many E-mails from young players who are just starting out, and I’m always concerned when I sense that they’re taking the game too personally. When I read things like, “This dumb lady” or “This fat old man” hit a gutshot on me at the river, I’m immediately concerned.
Now, as you should already know, I’m not advocating that you shouldn’t have fun at the table; I’d be the last person on earth to tell you that. Just make sure that you have fun in a friendly manner. Don’t needle or make fun of a complete stranger, or someone who is obviously upset about losing a big pot. That’s in bad taste. Needle only those with whom you have a good rapport and who you know can handle it. Also, don’t become too personal with it; keep the humor light and good-natured.
If you want to see a good example of good-natured ribbing and needling, watch Doc Jennings, John Juanda, and Tony Popejoy go at it in the triple-draw lowball game they usually play. After playing with Tony at Commerce Casino recently, I was impressed with the way he handled himself at the table. He was very funny, and was able to needle everybody in the game respectfully and in good taste. The game was entertaining, and the jokes were coming at everyone’s expense, including mine. I was no match for Mr. Popejoy, my choice for “Rookie Needler of the Year.” After playing with Tony for a while, though, I’m afraid that’s the only thing he’ll win this year if he keeps playing poker as badly as he does. Yum-yum! (That is my weak attempt at a comeback after being the victim of a Popejoy onslaught for four hours.)
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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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