Mr. Nice Guy

Mr. Nice Guy was everyone’s friend at the poker table. But I hated his guts. Not away from the table—when we weren’t playing poker, he was one of my best friends. But I hated playing with him because more often than not, he took a bite out of my bankroll. He took bigger bites from everyone else, but because he was so jovial and a really fun guy to hang out with, they enjoyed losing money to him.

Mr. Nice Guy always asked other players personal questions. He’d ask where they were from, did they have kids, what kind of work did they do, etc. They were always happy to tell him. But Mr. Nice Guy didn’t really care if your little kid just hit his first home run in little league or that you were the youngest son of a mineworker and the first person in your family to go to college. Mr. Nice Guy was fishing for information.

We were approaching the money cut-off in a multi-table tournament when my table broke and I was moved to a table that more resembled a friendly Friday night poker game in someone’s basement than an intense tournament with thousands of dollars on the line. I was seated to the left of Mr. Nice Guy who had a huge stack of chips and a gaggle of new friends eager to see him win even if it meant losing all their chips. Everyone at the table was rooting for him.

I was on the button and a banker-looking fellow raised from early position. Mr. Nice Guy reraised and I looked down at pocket Jacks. Facing a raise and a reraise, it was an easy fold, but I thought Mr. Nice Guy could be playing on his image, believing Banker would fold. I pondered for a moment but folded. Banker folded immediately too and Mr. Nice Guy showed pocket 10s.

Mr. Nice Guy pulled in a decent pot and I saw two players pump their fists as if they’d won the pot. The game continued and Mr. Nice Guy took control. He raised or reraised almost every hand and everyone stayed out of his way. They seemed happy to give their chips to him without a fight. They kept saying things like: “Good hand.” “Nice bet.” “I’ll fold cuz it’s you.” But nobody took a stand against him.

After several rounds, we were one person away from the money and Banker raised again from early position. Mr. Nice Guy reraised exactly as he had before and I looked down at pocket Kings. I went in the tank for a minute to make it seem like I had a tough decision then I slowly pushed my entire stack to the middle. Banker’s cards hit the muck before I had my chips all the way out. Mr. Nice Guy looked back at his cards and said, “Well, I’m a nice guy, if I’m gonna double anyone up, might as well be you. I call.” He turned over Ace-King of clubs.

The flop came down all low cards with no clubs. The turn was no help to him and the dealer hesitated before turning the river—Ace. Mr. Nice Guy offered a really sincere apology as he raked in my chips, but all I could muster was, “Not so nice.”