There are so many great quotes about poker, and all of them will help you be a better player. Paul Phua Poker picks 10 of the best
“You’ve got to know when to hold ’em and when to fold ’em”
This saying was popularised by the country singer Kenny Rogers in his 1978 version of The Gambler, though the song was written and first recorded by 23-year-old Don Schlitz two years before. It’s one of the simplest and yet most profound lessons in poker.
Too many people hang on to their hand when it’s obvious they are beaten. How many times have you heard a player sigh and say, “I know you’ve got me beat, but I’ll call?” Like many things in poker, it’s a lesson with wide applications in life and love.
“As long as you’ve got ‘a chip and a chair’, there’s still hope”
This means that in tournaments, you should never give up until you’ve lost your very last chip. Many are the times when someone has fought back from near-obliteration to double up, then double up again, then go on to cash or even win the tournament. The saying originated with Jack “Treetop Straus”, and his extraordinary comeback from a single chip to win the WSOP Main Event. Read more
“If you can’t spot the sucker in your first half hour at the table, then you ARE the sucker”
This quote is from Rounders, the greatest of all poker movies. It’s a film that cares so much about authenticity that its climactic hand is copied from Johnny Chan’s famous winning hand at the World Series of Poker Main Event in 1988.
It is famously good advice. When you sit down at a new table, observe the other players. Are they betting too big, too often? Conversely, are they calling stations who don’t raise to protect their hands and allow you cheap draws to a winner? In short, can you spot players worse than you, the “suckers” whose money you will be raking in by the end of the session? If not, move tables if it’s a cash game; and if it’s a tournament, where you can’t move, sit tight and wait for a premium starting hand.
“Don’t tap on the glass”
You know how the bad poker players who are likely to be donating their money to the rest of the table are called “fish”? And you know that in an aquarium you are told not to tap on the glass as it scares the fish? This saying is a kind of code from one poker shark to another.
Let’s say one is berating a fish for sucking out on him with a bad play that got lucky. “Don’t tap on the glass” would be said as a reminder to keep the fish happy instead – at least for long enough to lose the money back again! This saying is also included in the Paul Phua Poker School Dos and Don’ts of Poker Etiquette.
“You call, it’s gonna be all over baby!”
So famous it’s printed on T-shirts, this is what the irrepressible Scotty Nguyen said to Kevin McBride in the final hand of the World Series of Poker in 1998, when he bet out on a board showing 89988.
The taunt was well judged: McBride made the call, saying “I play the board”. Nguyen held a 9 to make a bigger full house, and it was indeed all over baby. Read 10 more memorable events in WSOP history
Look out for five more great quotes in part 2