Stop Free Rolling Yourself

As I was getting on the elevator at The Rio today, a kid with a backpack came running up yelling at one of the other people on the elevator.

“Why don’t you give me my six grand back you scumbag! That’s right, cover your face. Everyone is gonna know you are a filthy thief now! I’m never gonna stop!”

My guess, which is right about 99% of the time in this situation, is that the supposed thief did in fact defraud the the angry shouting kid with the backpack. But it probably wasn’t your standard theft. At some point, backpack kid probably trusted the thief with six thousand dollars. They probably knew each other, had mutual friends, and backpack kid had never heard anything bad about the thief.

This scenario plays out daily in card rooms all over the country. There is so much cash floating around in poker that it is a perfect environment for con men and there are so many gambling addicts that it’s like a giant bad neighborhood full of junkies. If you loan out money, even if it’s only rarely, you will eventually get screwed. It will burn your ass and you’ll be so pissed that you’ll play bad for a week and every time you think about you will get angry again.

The downside is obvious, though most people ignore it because “Oh this guy will pay me, he’s cool.” But what about the upside to loaning out cash in a poker room? You know what? There isn’t one! You get nothing out of loaning out cash. You aren’t receiving interest payments, you aren’t garnering any significant good will that you can use later no matter how much you might think you are, and you have nothing but downside. You are free rolling yourself and eventually someone will free roll you out of your money.

It happened to me 18 months ago when Austin Monson got me for $1,100. As it turns out, a ton of people knew he was a worthless, scumbag, con man, but no one said anything because they all thought they might still get paid. If someone had said something it would have saved me $1,100, which was a lot of money to me at the time and screwed up some plans for me. It also pissed me off for months. Not worth the trouble. I had not been ripped off like that in twenty years, so it made me that much more angry.

When you loan money out in poker rooms you are not only enabling con men, and helping them rip you off and encouraging them to keep running their game because it’s profitable, but you are hurting gambling addicts and people who are bad with money. If you don’t have enough money to play poker, you shouldn’t be playing poker. And more importantly, if you don’t have enough money to play poker, but you are choosing to take out a loan to play poker, it’s not likely that you are going to have the money to pay me back any time soon.

I’m not sure I have ever borrowed money in a poker room more than a few hundred dollars to save time running to an ATM for something, and that has only been a few times in my life and I borrowed the money from people I knew very well. When someone asks me for a loan in a card room, I have a simple formula to decide if I will loan them the money.

Would I loan this person the money if I saw them on the street and they asked me for it? Do I know that this person is going to hunt me down and pay me the money within a few days? If the answers to both questions are yes, then I JustSayNo_NancyReganstill say no because I don’t loan out money in poker rooms. How’s that for a simple formula? Be Nancy Reagan. Just Say No. Tell them that you don’t loan out money in card rooms. Ever. Tell them it is just your policy. Don’t hedge at all. Just say no. If they continue to bug you, you can move on to things like –

“Stop bugging me, you are never getting  a nickel from me”

“Sorry, I don’t have it”

“Fuck you”

and the old favorite


I don’t want to hear any more of my friends whining about losing money because someone borrowed it and can’t pay it back. Don’t trust someone because they are a poker pro, don’t trust them because they have a nice watch, don’t trust them at all because you have no reason to. Just keep saying no. Stop free rolling yourself.

I don’t mean to say that I would never loan anyone money in a card room. But if I have to think about it, then the answer is no. But there are definitely people who I know are good for it. If Kou Vang walks up to me tomorrow and wants to borrow $5,000, I peel it off and hand it to him and I don’t think about it again until he finds me a few days later and pays me. But those people are very rare and until you have known someone a long time and know that they are very financially stable and trustworthy, just keep saying no.

And remember, this also includes buying action from players you don’t trust, swapping with players you don’t trust, or anything else that includes a possibility that someone ends up owing you money. The amount of money that is owed in this town is incredible and I hate seeing a guy win a tournament and ten people showing up and not getting all of their money because he owes more than the $100,000 he won. It’s disgusting.


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  1. #1 by Deoncogle on August 25, 2014 - 2:01 am

    I went through the blog and it is quite interesting. I came to know that lending or borrowing money in the poker rooms is not a good thing. Never lend money to anyone if you don’t know them personally.Nice Content.keep it up!

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