As a broke college student with no desire for improving my money management, I frequently find myself facing the weekend "ménage à trois" for where my funds shall be quickly depleted. The three choices of course are gas, beer, and food (not the shitty dining hall kind but the "this has so much grease on it you have lip-crater zits the next morning because you didn't wash your face before bed" kind). Of course, if I wanted to bury the fuel needle of my Pontiac and push it a few miles I could probably aim for two out of the three, but it is still rather unsatisfying.

After ruling out drug dealer and internet sex slave for additional cash, the next realistic thing was to start playing Texas

Hold'em vigorously. I decided to take my limited funds to the local card room and give it a go versus the elderly pension players and immigrant welfare recipients scattered throughout. After months of practice I've developed a system which I believe will aid anyone who has adequate skill and appreciation for the game, or better yet, luck.

Keep in mind this is LIMIT poker with the blinds at two and four dollars.

Rule #1: Nobody gives a shit.

Let me size up your opponents so you don't have to. 70% of the table is going to be over 60 years old (especially if there is racetrack betting). They don't give a shit about math. They don't give a shit about odds. They don't give a shit about you. They don't give a shit about money or losing either. They're there solely because of convenience; they live 10 minutes away and their Cadillacs and Mercury Sables will get them to the card room, which, unfortunately, happens to lie within the 20-mile radius they're still willing to drive, because they couldn't possibly know how to use the internet to find a poker room. The other 30% are overweight college kids, middle-aged men waiting for a no-limit tournament to start, and immigrants. Don't worry, they're just as reckless and stupid.

Poker room with old people and a couple of college students
Fish out of water!

Rule #2: Forget everything you learned.

When sitting down at this table, be well aware that everything you've ever learned about this game should now be forgotten. You're not playing the Ivey's and Negraneau's you see on TV, rather, a new breed of poker catastrophes that would cause any professional to cringe at the sight of one of their poorly-played hands and immediately set themselves on fire like a Buddhist protestor. There's no bluffing at this table. No pot-odds at this table. And don't bother with sunglasses or chewing gum. They don't know what a "tell" is.


Now that you know what you're up against, here comes the fool-proof strategy: FOLD EVERYTHING. I'm sure you've all heard the expression I just made up off the top of my head that goes "sometimes ignorance can outweigh fear." This largely fits the theme here. Wait until you have the "nuts" before you add additional money to the pot or I'm guaranteeing you you'll have a very bad taste in your mouth from these poker kamikazes.

Rule #4: Take advantage of great hands.

This is the double-edged sword rule. These elderly folks are "calling stations" and feel fit to see every hand to the end even though someone with only the faintest grasp of the game knows it's impossible to win. When you have the "nuts," or a "made-hand," maximize the value. A great way is to check-raise, where you initially act weak and then double the bet of a person when they send it back to you by raising. I'm telling you they have no idea what a trap is. I'm pretty sure half of them think they're playing pinochle and have no clue what the 2-8 cards are even doing there. Be careful though because sometimes that pays off for them.


This could be the most important rule of all when dealing with these players. Whenever the phrase "There's no way they have…" Comes into your head, immediately fold. They have it. You'll say, "But Nick, there's no wa-" Shut the fuck up, bro! They have it. Yes, it's a 2-outer. Yes there's no reason they should be in the hand. Yes, it sucks you have to fold two pair to their gut shot straight. They're fucking stupid, pure and simple. You're dealing with Alzheimer's patients, war veterans, and plain old moronic baboons all from the generation of "We don't give a fuck!" Keep that in mind and you will excel and never have to order from the Dollar Menu again (although you probably still will, fatty). Good luck.