North SC

At $1/2 no limit Texas Hold’em, the small blind usually tosses in the extra dollar to see a flop after there are several limpers but no raise. The pot odds are too tempting, they rationalize. I usually fold in that spot, so my junky cards never improve just enough to cost me more money. The positional disadvantage more than offsets the favorable pot odds.

Or as Tommy Angelo says in Elements of Poker:

“From the small blind, I am charged a fee for something I wouldn’t want for free. I have to pay money to see the flop, and by doing so, I am guaranteeing that someone is going to have position on me every street this hand.”

My standard response to snarky comments about my nittyness in the small blind is simple: “AWD. Ain’t Worth a Dollar!”  

Last week I violated my own philosophy and completed the big blind with 72o after several limpers. The flop was 742 with two clubs. Cha-ching! I bet and got three callers. Neither the turn or river cards pair the board or completed a flush draw. On the turn I bet again and got two callers. The big blind called my river bet, and my two pair won my biggest pot over four hours of otherwise card-deadness. The stunning part was the play of the big blind, who didn’t raise pre-fop and called all of my bets with pocket kings. If only RobVegasPoker had been there to pen an epic Dreaded Pocket Kings blog!

Rather than discussing the big blind’s passive play, I’d like to tell the back-story of the acronym AWD.

My father, now in his mid-80’s, grew up in the small town of North, South Carolina as the youngest of seven children in the town’s only Jewish family. For purposes of this blog, I’ll call him “Dad.” In the 1990’s one of Dad’s sisters made the town famous during a hilarious appearance on a Bill Cosby hosted TV game show.

Another his sisters, who for purposes of this blog I’ll call “Aunt Frances,” married the son of a Jewish merchant in another small South Carolina town. After their honeymoon, Aunt Frances went to work at her in-laws store.

At family gatherings, Aunt Frances loved to tell a particular story about learning the business from her mother-in-law, who she called “Mamma.” For purposes of this blog, I’ll do the same. One day Mamma was teaching Aunt Frances how to keep track of accounts receivable from customers. Credit cards and computerized point-of-sale systems weren’t really a thing in the late 1940’s, so there was a metal box full of ledger sheets… one for each credit-eligible customer.

Mamma showed Aunt Frances how to write an entry in the credit column when these customers bought stuff, and how to make an offsetting entry in the debit column when a payment arrived to show the balance as reduced or paid in full.

Flipping through the ledger sheets, Aunt Frances noticed each one had a single letter at the top, mostly A or B, occasionally a C. “Mamma, what do these letters mean?” she asked. And Mamma explained this was the store’s credit rating system. ‘A’ meant they paid their bills right away, usually within a week after their purchase. ‘B’ meant they could be expected to send a payment within about 30 days. And ‘C’ meant the store would have to remind the customer about their bill and needed to be careful about extending these customers too much credit. If a C-rated customer had a balance due and wanted to buy more items on credit, Mamma would have to handle it.

Aunt Frances continues: “It all made sense to me. Mamma told me to study the ledger sheets to get familiar with the names and buying habits of our credit accounts, as these included many of the store’s best customers. Then I came across one ledger with the letters AWD at the top, so I asked, ‘Mamma, what does AWD stand for.’ Without even looking up, Mamma just shook her head a little bit and said ‘those are the ones that Ain’t Worth a Damn.’

Sitting around Aunt Frances’ dining room table, a room full of extended family would enjoy a good laugh.

But Aunt Frances wasn’t done:  “I wanted to continue learning about our credit customers. There were a couple more that said AWD and then I got to one that said AWGD, and I thought to myself ‘Oh Lord, I better not ask Mamma about that one!'”

Mamma would have been a helluva good poker player.


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