You Just Got Owned, Sir!

  • By Tri Nguyen
  • December 20, 2013
  • Comments Off on You Just Got Owned, Sir!


From How I made my First Million Playing Poker.

What is the first thing you think of when you read that phrase?

If it was directed at me, I would feel a little embarrassed. My face gets a little hot. My stomach gets a little squirmy. In poker, I feel owned when someone outplays me. Getting outplayed means my opponent bluffed me with a worse hand and took down the pot. It is probably the main reason why I want to call river bets a lot. I don’t want to fold the best hand and calling ensures that I was correct, even though I lost money confirming my read.

My fear of getting bluffed, or getting outplayed, was accidentally “cured” by a friend. I was grinding online and received an e-mail with the subject, “Owned Much?” I open the e-mail and as it was loading, I could felt my friend’s enthusiasm and excitement because I couldn’t wait to see how he owned his opponent. I was ready to see what type of monster bluff he had pulled because that’s what owning someone means to me; you bluff them out of a pot. Since my friend is a great player and a sicko at times, I was thinking of all kind of crazy scenarios in my head. Did he three-bet bluff all-in on the turn with king high? Did he overbet shove the river with 5-high and won the pot without a showdown? Well, I got to the hand history and it was a little anti-climatic. It was a tiny pot. There was no bluffing involved. All the hand history showed was my friend losing the minimum with a very strong hand against the nuts. He was really proud of that fact that he saved a lot of money and indirectly, he owned his opponent.


This was a huge revelation for me because I didn’t know you can own someone else by losing. And that’s when I started folding more. In fact, it makes folding enjoyable because I know I owned my opponents since he has a strong hand and I can sense the frustration that they are feeling. I know they are frustrated because I can remember the frustrations I felt when I have the nuts and my opponent kept folding and weren’t paying me off. Then I realized that is another way to own your opponent. If he has a good hand and wants you to call, you outplayed him by folding. And since I love outplaying people, I keep folding against nits. Another form of owning people is to value-bet thin. There’s no better feeling than value-betting with a marginal hand and getting snap-called by a worse hand. I’m not talking about tank-calling; that’s everyday routine. I’m talking about the instant call you get once you placed your bet. Like he knew it was coming and was waiting to snap your head off. And since he called so fast, you thought you were toasted, only to find out a worse hand called and you still couldn’t believe what just happened. I’m not sure if there is a better owning situation than getting snap-called by a worse hand. I live for those moments and it’s when I’m most happiest at the poker table.

If your interpretation of being outplayed means something else, take solace in the fact that sometimes, no matter what you do, you aren’t going to win the hand, especially if you are at a positional disadvantage. The sooner you accept this fact, the less annoyed you’ll be. Nothing is going to change this idea, until you get the mighty button. Then you can outplay others and can smile and say to yourself that, “sir, you just got owned.”

Tri Nguyen
A graduate in computer science and education from UC-Berkeley, Nguyen is a regular strategy column contributor to Card Player magazine and a prolific blogger at
Tri Nguyen
Tri Nguyen

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