Taking out the trash…talking

January 25, 2009

    “I want your mother and your sister out of my house, immediately.”
    Ah, “White Man Can’t Jump,” one of the greatest trash-talking movies of all time.  Woody and Wesley in their primes.
    Caught this on cable the other day, and it made me assess my own trash-talking skills.  Not so much in basketball (although I do trash talk, I just can’t back it up most of the time), but in poker.
    I never really stopped to think if I’m the type of person who trash talks when the cards are out.  I know I’m the type of person that finds it incredibly annoying when others do it, especially “big names” on TV. 
    “Yeah, yeah, great, you’re “the mouth,” and you’re good at poker.  Keep it shut and just do your job. 
    I know, I know, it’s part of the game…trying to psych out the other guys, or use the banter to get into their heads a little bit, try to pry out some response that’ll give you a window into their hand.  And I’m sure it works, but man is it annoying.
    It’s actually one of the reasons I watch ESPN poker on mute these days, if I watch it at all anymore.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I’m flipping the dial over to soccer (which, in my opinion, contains no more real action than poker).  I just can’t stand it when they focus on these guys going on and on, talking like they’re the other guy’s friend.  Whatever.
    It’s all business, it’s all part of the game, and it’s overdone and annoying.
    However, I’m certainly not immune to doing it myself.  Here’s where the hypocricy really starts rolling.
    And I’m sure I top most of the rest when it comes to irritation.
    You know, the same nonsenses comes out of my mouth as everyone else’s…someone starts it off…
    “Nah, you don’t have the spades.”
    “Probably not.  Guess you’ll have to call to find out.  Can you…can you move aside your hand.  Your chip stack is so small I couldn’t even tell if you had enough left to go in.  Heh, this whole conversation could’ve just been a moot point.”
    Little red boils up in their face…touch of steam escapes from the collar.
    “Do we need to take a break so you can cash in for some more chips?  I know it might be against the rules, but I just feel so bad that you’re going to lose this hand, I at least want to make sure you have the opportunity to see the loss all the way through to the end here.”
    Then for extra effect, you have to add a time element to the trash talk.
    “Let’s go, buddy.  The clock for the blinds is ticking down as we speak.”
    That added pressure is always fun.
    Of course, I’m more or less the type of guy who will really lay it on when I know I’m going to win, and there’s already a large sum of money in the pot.  Ideal conditions.  Even if that is one of my tells, it’s still pretty fun.  I’m quite sure if you ever saw me playing poker on TV (which will likely never happen, because I’m not that good), you’d dash for that mute button so fast you might strain your shuffling thumbs.
    And I’m proud to say I’ve never been kicked out of anyone’s place for trash-talking.  Or maybe I should be ashamed to say that…maybe I’m not coming across as effective enough if nobody’s gotten fumed enough to boot me from the premises.  No matter, I’d come back the next week with a whole new arsenal of worthless jibber jabber.
    Why?
    Because the bottom line is I just enjoy it.  It’s part of my personality.  And, to be perfectly honest, I’m sure as hell not doing it to pull some information out of my opponents.  What can I say, I just like being a prick sometimes.
    And what else is there to say?  Oh yeah…
    “No, no…this ain’t Raymond!”