Poker Tips from a Broken Water Boiler

By Robbie Strazynski
October 13, 2013

Last week, my hot water boiler broke. Fascinating; I know. But believe it or not, the episode reminded me of a couple important lessons that can definitely be applied in the form of poker tips to help you improve your game. Though none of these poker tips may necessarily be new or innovative ones that you guys have never heard before, it never hurts to review important practices and insights – especially when they may end up saving you money at the poker table.

So, here are the poker lessons I was reminded of when my water boiler broke down:

The Light Bulb Goes Off

No, not the light inside the water boiler.

Light bulb

When my wife first told me that the water boiler had broken, both of our initial gut reactions were “okay, time to buy a new one”. Essentially, the bottom part of the boiler had become detached and disconnected from the top part.

Almost immediately, however, I then thought: “Wait, maybe there’s a way to fix it?”

As far as poker goes, anyone who has ever played a cash game has ended a session having lost all their money; in other words – broke.

Unless you’ve just gotten ridiculously unlucky throughout the session though, the reason you ended up completely broke is probably due at least in some part to flaws in your own game. Perhaps, like my water boiler, your top part (thoughts) has become disconnected from your bottom part (actions)?

It’s only natural that you’d want things to completely turn around such that you’d end up a big winner in the following session. That said, you don’t necessarily need a whole new game plan to make that happen. Sometimes, it’s enough to realize that a few good tweaks here and there may be enough to get your A-game working again.

Poker Tip: You don’t always need a brand new poker game. Sometimes a couple good fixes to your current poker game may do the trick.

A Fresh Pair of Eyes is Always Handy

Identifying that there’s a problem is one matter. Knowing how to fix it is another matter altogether.

Fresh Eyes

When it comes to fixing things around the house, I’m pretty much a “jack of no trades”. With the water boiler, I knew we’d have to call up the handyman and see if he could “wave his magic wand” to repair it.

In poker, identifying that you have a problem is often the easy step. The much harder step towards improving your game is knowing how that problem can be fixed and implementing the fix itself. Getting a knowledgeable poker friend or expert to help you is often the optimal solution. Moreover, this person might also be able to find additional weak spots in your game, which you never may have noticed, and offer some helpful advice.

Poker Tip: It’s very helpful to have a “poker handyman” you can rely on to tell you what’s wrong with your game and how you can fix your leaks.

Whence There’s No Handyman, Power to the People

Just as it’s entirely possible that you may not know of a good handyman to fix your household appliances, it’s also possible you may not really have any “poker buddies” skilled enough to help you with your broken down game. Would you then have to revert to “throwing out the water boiler?” Definitely not. The idea of fixing what’s broken still holds true and you may be able to fix it yourself, with a little online help.

Tim the Toolman Taylor

Just like there are plenty do-it-yourself (DIY) “handyman” online forums and tutorials that can help you fix a leak in your house’s plumbing (or a water boiler, as it were), so too there are also lots of great poker tools out there on the Internet that can help you fix the leaks in your game.

I personally recommend utilizing an online poker forum, like Cardschat, where you can post your questions, ask for help, and potentially have dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of other poker players examine your hands and give you tips on how you could’ve played better. There’s no better learning tool than internalizing good feedback like that to improve your game.

Poker Tip: When lacking a “poker handyman”, crowdsource your broken poker game to the members of an online poker forum.

Tighten Up the Loose Screws – Good As New

As it turns out, our handyman informed us that what had broken in our water boiler was a tiny screw, which was holding the internal heating mechanism in place (or at least that’s how I understood his professional jargon).

Water Urn

To fix the problem, he replaced the screw with another screw that had a wider head, which was better able to keep the two parts of the water boiler in place.

Sometimes in poker, your game will have some loose screws. Sometimes your light bulb – your A-game – will be extinguished. That said, you don’t necessarily need to replace the light bulb to get your A-game working again. Sometimes all it takes is for you to screw the light bulb in just a bit tighter.

Bottom Line

My handyman’s bill was approximately 1/6th of what a new water boiler would’ve cost. Surely, remembering these poker tips will end up saving you plenty of money over your next sessions at the tables.



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Written By.

Robbie Strazynski

Robbie founded in 2009. A veteran member of the poker media corps, in addition to writing and video presenting, Robbie has hosted multiple poker podcasts over the years, including Top Pair, the Red Chip Poker Podcast, The Orbit, and the CardsChat Podcast. In 2019, Robbie translated the autobiography of Poker Hall of Famer Eli […]


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