Always Let the Fish Get the Last Word In When They Leave


Life is like poker.

The most amazing thing is not how good you can become.

It's that so many people play it so badly.

Like last Saturday when I popped by the grocery store to pick up bananas and water.

The Line Started to Grow

I bought 12 bananas and eight 4.5 liter bottles of water. Technically it was just two items, but my cart was full and slow to maneuver.

You know the etiquette. (Photo: Getty Limages)

I was standing in line for the only checkout open. The line started to grow behind me and the cashier rang the bell for help.

Another cashier showed up. She told me that she would open up another checkout.

I was first in line, as I said. But I couldn't move because the woman behind me stepped out of line and blocked my passage.

She asked the cashier which one of the two possible options the cashier would open.

She didn't understand the answer because she didn't understand Spanish, so she remained in her place still blocking my way.

When she saw where the cashier was going she went there as fast as she could and started to put her groceries on the belt.

Pot Could Have Been Over

Spain is a civilized country where they do not appreciate people cutting in line, so the cashier waived at me to come forward.

I did. I gave her my bananas and one bottle of water and said “ocho," which is eight in Spanish.

The pot could have been over right there and I would have been out of the store 20 seconds later. But the woman would have none if it.

She started to complain to the cashier that she taking care of my business instead of hers.

Spanish people have a very elegant way of dealing with nonsense. They ignore it.

Quite brilliant if you think about it. That’s what the cashier did; she completely ignored the woman.

The result was that the now-upset woman turned to me instead.

Phil Gordon Folds
Right move here is a fold.

The Right Move Would Have Been a Fold

Now, I’m usually very open minded but when it comes to poker, I’m biased because of the simple fact that it’s very profitable.

This woman was very tall, very fit and very ugly. My read on that kind of a player is that they have issues and an attitude.

They've studied hard and their game is technically very sound, but they're bitter because they never get the results they think they deserve.

And they never realize they lack the feel for the game and therefore playing in a game above their skill level.

Anyway, she had raised my big blind and was now offended by my reraise.

The right move for her would have been to fold since she didn’t have a hand, but she four-bet me.

She started a long monologue about how wrong it was of me to cut in front of her.

I explained to her that actually she was the one who cut in line, not me. That did not go down well with her.

I Knew There Was a Problem With My Bananas

When the hand is over you should always analyze it. You should especially focus on your own play. It's really the best way since you have perfect information.

You could argue that I did something wrong in this hand because I knew that there was a problem with my bananas.

You're supposed to weight them yourself. I tried to, but the machine was out of tickets so I knew the cashier would have to solve the problem for me.

This would take time, and that is a reason I could have let the tall, ugly woman go before me.

Ken Lennaard
Really likes to defend his big blind.

I always do, when somebody asks me nicely, but if you abuse my big blind I will fight back.

Besides, I really like to defend my big blind.

The cashier disappeared to the fruit-weighting machine and the woman and I continued the discussion about who was right and who was wrong.

She said that she’s been around the world and knew the rules of engagement of lines when a new checkout opens.

I said that I had travelled the world, too, and gave her the US as an example where people honor the old line when a new checkout opens.

I did not give her Sweden as an example because there they are very uncivilized and behave exactly as she did at every opportunity.

This is How It Works Here

I did explain to her that it doesn't matter how they do it elsewhere. This is Spain, and this is how it works here.

But she just would not give up the pot. I check-raised her on the flop on a very dry board and she reraised me trying to rep an extremely narrow range.

She spoke very good English. Impolite and ignorant, but technically very sound.

I asked her if she was German. I didn't care where she was from; I was just trying to win the pot. She said no, but didn't say where she came from.

The objective is to tilt.

“Ah, so you're ashamed of where you're from?”


“So, why can’t you tell me where you’re from?”

“I’m French.”

“Ah, the most arrogant people in the world.”

As I said before I’m not prejudiced. I was just trying to win the pot by putting her on full tilt mode.

It’s not about what you say. It’s about putting your opponent on tilt. When she loses her head she cannot think, hence she cannot argue or play.

If you lose your head you lose; it’s as simple as that.

They Truly Know How to Enjoy Life

I like French people, especially to eat with and play poker with. They truly know how to enjoy life, like Spanish people.

If she would have said another country I would have said something similar.

I would have loved if she thought that I was American. A discussion between a French person and an American about who is most arrogant is so refreshing, but I had no such luck.

The cashier was still gone weighing my bananas and the people behind the woman started to change to the other checkout. The woman started to breathe very heavily.

“Relax," I said. “You’re on holiday."

I was all in and she had to fold her shitty hand. Now she realized that she had tilted away most of her stack because of her big ego. But her ego told her that it was entirely my fault.

“You are an extremely rude person.”

“You still have no clue to what have happened here and who, in fact, has been the rude one.”

Always Let the Fish Get the Last Word

Here Fishy
Let the fish leave happy.

The lines were gone and everybody had paid and moved on. Except for her. She realized she was last in line and looked ready to explode.

I had parked just outside the entrance. When I was packing my water in the trunk she walked by. Of course she had to say something.

“This is the exact reason why the Spanish economy is down the drain.”

Obviously she thought I was Spanish. I took it as a compliment.

There were so many things I could have said, perfect words on the tip of my tongue. But I said nothing.

Why would I? I had already won. She had lost all of her chips, and her dignity. She was out of the tournament and now fighting to get out of her misery.

You should always let the fish get the last word in when they leave the table. You want them to have a good last feeling -- so they come back.

About Ken Lennaárd:

Sweden's most controversial poker blogger Ken Lennaárd has been around the professional poker circuit for almost 20 years. Among his numerous accomplishments are Swedish Championships both live and online, three WSOP final tables and over $1.5m in live earnings. He's now bringing his singular poker voice to the English world via Look for new posts every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Note: Opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not represent the views of

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