Players need to know when to walk away

I know I’ve quoted Kenny Rogers’ “The Gambler” before. It may have even been this line that I quoted … “Know when to walk away.”

Rogers’ song was from a different time. That’s how the line “Know when to run” made it into the chorus. Poker players in those days were packing six shooters when they sat down. You had to be prepared to use that sidearm in some situations. There were times that cheating was going on. Cheating was frowned upon.

Today, you don’t have to play under those circumstances, but of course, there are those who do. Carrying weapons is not usually acceptable, but there can be risky situations in which you can set your cash on the felt.

I was playing at a tournament a number of years ago, names are being withheld to protect those who were picked up and punished for operating the game. I didn’t have a very successful run and was out with 11 players left.


A friend was doing well and headed to a payday when the police broke in and took the money and arrested those who were holding the game. So much for the payday.

Most players in the Altoona area are aware of a game a year or so ago in Juniata. What I have heard is that I could have bet a year’s salary and there would have been enough money on the table to cover it when some ski mask-wearing individuals came through the door and took all the money on the table.

Seems the players were set up by one of the people who had been playing earlier in the evening. Police were called. Not exactly sure how that one ended, but it’s hard to go to the Better Business Bureau to demand justice when the crime occurred during an illegal poker game.

I imagine Rogers was moved to run away from the game because of some safety issue as mentioned above. For the rest of us, we play in casinos. You generally don’t have to worry much about your safety. Emotions will get hot from time to time, but personnel are in place to keep the peace.

Today, you’ve got to have the control to walk away because your luck has run its course. You keep getting rivered by that straight chaser. Your rent money has gone from the middle of the table to another player’s pocket. Maybe you should think of playing slots.

And remember another quote from “Rounders” … “If you can’t tell who the sucker is, it’s you.” That would be a prudent time to push away, take what’s left of your chip stack and get some gas money back.

Email Weston at charlie