North SC

The most popular low stakes private poker game is $1-2 no limit Texas Holdem.  In the small blind, when no one has raised, most players will complete the blind for $1 more with any two cards, based on the tempting pot odds.  I usually just fold with junk in that spot, not because of the $1 cost to complete the blind, but because of difficulty of playing out-of-position and the risk that my junk improves just enough to cost me more money on the next betting round but not enough to win the pot.  The positional disadvantage more than offsets the favorable pot odds.

My standard response to snarky comments about my tight play in the small blinds is simple:  “AWD.  As in Ain’t Worth a Dollar.”  Of course people forget the details and the next time I fold a small blind in an un-raised pot, someone blurts out “Ain’t Worth a Damn, right?”  I suppose we could call this a distinction without a difference.

Last week I violated my own philosophy and completed the SB with 72o after several players had limped in.  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 more and got two callers.  On the river I bet again and the big blind called.  My hand was good for the biggest pot I won in the first four card-dead hours of the night.  The stunning part was the play of the big blind, who called all of my bets.  She tabled pocket kings and never raised.  If only RobVegasPoker had been there to pen an epic Dreaded Pocket Kings blog!

I could write at length about the big blind’s passive play, but the back-story of the acronym AWD is much more interesting.

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.  His father, an immigrant, owned and operated a general store in the town’s business district.  For purposes of this blog, I’ll call him “Dad.”  In the 1990’s one of Dad’s four sisters made the town famous during a hilarious appearance on a TV game show.

Dad and his brothers and sisters all worked at the family business while growing up.  One of 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 customer credits.  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 check arrive to show the balance as reduced or paid in full.

Flipping through the ledger sheets, Aunt Frances says she 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, Aunt Frances should let Mamma 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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