There's No Word for the Position Between Button and Small Blind

One good thing about playing poker is that you get to see the world.

If you want to, that is. Most players don’t but that’s not poker's fault.

Another good thing is that you learn people really fast at the poker table when it comes to norms, values and standards -- and therefore countries.

If you want to, that is. Most players don’t but that’s not poker's fault.

The Lessons are the Grand Prize

The best thing about poker for me is the unparalleled learning experience about people, including myself.

It’s seldom pretty, and I’m still including myself. The monetary reward is nice but the lessons are the grand prize.

Ken Lennaard
Poker reflection not always pretty.

There are two people that really stand out. The Swedes are a special bunch and so are the Spanish.

I have spent quite a lot of time in the southernmost part of Europe over the last four years. Costa del Sol has the best weather in Europe, and probably the laziest people (of all nationalities), too. There could be a correlation.

At Casino Marbella the cash game starts at 10 pm and runs to 4 am. It is an absolute killer when you have a two-year-old child at home, especially since I don’t do a two-and-a-half hour siesta every afternoon like my opponents do.

I have played there enough to understand some of the Spanish mentality. In short, Spain is still haunted by its Fascist past.

In my experience they never show weakness and they are never wrong. And when I say never wrong, I really mean never.

That includes the managers and dealers. Good luck trying to implement new ideas; all foreigners try with the only result being tilting themselves.

Spanish people have the right mindset to become great poker tournament players -- if they implement some concepts from the rest of the world.

Unfortunately this could prove to be difficult. In Madrid they deal the cards the other way around - the only place in the world to do it that way. Do not expect them to change anytime soon.

When the Waterhole Dries Up

In Marbella they have "the Pig." He is a regular who is there every night.

He always sits in seat 10, even though we draw for seats every day. Imagine those odds.

In Madrid they deal the other way around.

He is slovenly dressed, unshaven and with an ever-growing belly but it's his manners that have made me nickname him “The Pig."

He is constantly trying to put everyone on tilt. Always needling, always laughing out loud when somebody takes a bad beat and always slow rolling at every opportunity. His average is three times a night.

I haven’t been to Casino Marbella since early November. The game has dried up and the 5-10 has been 2-5 for months.

That’s what happens when you rake 5% with €30 cap. At 2-5 it is an equally massive €20, especially shorthanded.

The two Swedish pros (called “las putas suceas” by the Pig) that play there regularly told me that it has been no value the whole winter and a really bad atmosphere.

Ian, the English regular, told me it was close to a fistfight last Thursday. That’s usually what happens when the waterhole dries up and the crocodiles have nothing to feed on except each other.

A Good Sign with Regards to His Judgment

The game came to a halt when two regs stood up and shouted at each other for 10 minutes with their hands in the air.

LAPT Day 1
Casino boss came by to watch.

All the managers came by to watch. Security came by and watched to. Even the casino boss came by to check out the fuss.

Since it wasn’t the casino's fault, which it never is by default, they did not want to interfere. So they didn’t.

The game the next day when I came by did not look so good to start with, but then an older man sat down.

He had a shirt the color of bright-green puke and matching trousers. It was a good sign in regards to his judgmental abilities.

It usually translates over to poker. He did have those kinds of eyes that sort of float around, you know, not really attached to the head.

He said “merci” when he got his chips, which was promising, but later I found out that he was German. He insta-posted ready for action.

I Don't Think He Cared

Problem was that he was in between the small blind and the button so he did not get any cards.

Chip Stacks at Dinner Break in 50K
Pre-flop range of 100%.

I raised to €220 from middle position. He called.

This can be an interesting pot I thought to myself. The big blind also called, but then somebody ruined the party by telling the dealer that the German did not have any cards.

(I just realized that there is not a word for that position. What should we call the position between the button and small blind?

Button +1, sb -1, or just jackass? Actually I did not even know such a position existed until this moment.)

I was upset but the German was even more upset. It did not help that he got his €20 back; he wanted to play. I suggested that he could have two random cards from the muck but he was the only one who liked the idea.

He had a pre-flop range of 100% from all positions but sadly enough he was mostly away at the roulette table.

In Spain you pay your blinds even if you're away from the table. I don’t think he knew, and I don’t think he cared.

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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