101 Famous Poker Quotes

by Rich McComas (updated May 5, 2004)


Please send me an email at rich@holdemsecrets if you know of anything that should be included in this list.


Limit poker is a science, but no-limit is an art.  In limit you are shooting at a target.  In no-limit, the target comes alive and shoots back at you.

     -- Crandall Addington, Texas oil millionaire


If you reraise a raiser, and he doesn't raise you back, you know he has kicker problems.

     -- Crandall Addington, Texas oil millionaire (2001)


Poker is generally reckoned to be America's second most popular after-dark activity.  Sex is good, they say, but poker lasts longer.

     -- Alfred Alvarez (2001)


It is easy to smile at an insult and pretend it's funny when the person insulting you is hosing you with money.

     -- Alfred Alvarez (2001)


Serious poker is no more about gambling than rock climbing is about taking risks.

     -- Alfred Alvarez (2001)


Hold'em is a game of calculated aggression: If you cards are good enough for your to call a bet, they are good enough to raise with.

     -- Alfred Alvarez (2001)


Never give a sucker an even break.

     --  Anonymous


A faint heart never filled a spade flush.

     --  Anonymous (1905)


Dear Lord, help me to break even. I need the money.

     --  Anonymous


A king can do no wrong Ö unless it runs into an ace.

     --  Anonymous


Money isn't everything Ö unless you're playing in a rebuy tournament.

     --  Anonymous


Your first duty is to the Game; then come Mother, God, and Country.

     --  Anonymous, Motto at the National Press Club, Washington D.C.


When a man with money meets a man with experience, the man with experience leaves with money and the man with money leaves with experience.

     --  Anonymous


I believe in poker the way I believe in the American Dream. Poker is good for you. It enriches the soul, sharpens the intellect, heals the spirit, and - when played well, nourishes the wallet.

     --  Anonymous


Besides lovemaking and singing in the shower, there arenít many human activities where there is a greater difference between a personís self-delusional ability and actual ability than in poker.

     -- Steve Badget


Once you start thinking you have nothing left to learn, you have everything to learn.

     -- Steve Badget


Playing poker for a living gives you backbone.  You cannot survive without that intangible quality we call heart.

     -- Bobby Baldwin, 1978 WSOP winner (2001)


In a game of poker, I can put the players' souls in my pocket.

     --  Beausourire, Haitian Poker Player


In the long run there's no luck in poker, but the short run is longer than most people know.

     -- Rick Bennet


Trust everyone, but always cut the cards.

     -- Benny Binion


The only bad luck for a good gambler is bad health. Any other setbacks are temporary aggravation.

     -- Benny Binion


I've often thought, if I got really hungry for a good milk shake, how much would I pay for one? People will pay a hundred dollars for a bottle of wine; to me that's not worth it. But I'm not going to say it is foolish or wrong to spend that kind of money, if that's what you want. So if a guy wants to bet twenty or thirty thousand dollars in a poker game, that is his privilege.

     -- Jack Binion


Try to decide how good your hand is at a given moment. Nothing else matters. Nothing!

     -- Doyle Bunson


If youíre a competitive person and you commit yourself to something, you have no choice but to endure.

     -- Vince Burgio


If scientific reasoning were limited to the logical processes of arithmetic, we should not get very far in our understanding of the physical world. One might as well attempt to grasp the game of poker entirely by the use of the mathematics of probability.

     -- Vannevar Bush, architect of the Internet


Avoid people with gold teeth who want to play cards.

     -- George Carlin


Aces are larger than life and greater than mountains.

     -- Mike Caro


Sometimes you'll miss a bet, sure, but it's OK to miss a bet. Poker is an art form, of course, but sometimes you have to sacrifice art in favour of making a profit.

     -- Mike Caro


Bad beats only happen to good players.

     -- Joe Crow (1998)


If it were easy, everyone would do it.

     -- Bonnie Damiano


The next best thing to gambling and winning is gambling and losing.

     -- Nick "The Greek" Dandalos


Life is too long to play bad cards.

     -- Frank Di Elsi


It's unlucky to be superstitious.

     -- Dave Enteles, Card Player


Is that the game where one receives five cards?  And if there's two alike that's pretty good, but if there's three alike, that's much better?

     -- W C Fields


Sir, I really like poker.  Every hand has its different problems.

     -- Henry Fonda, playing Wyatt Earp in My Darling Clementine


To master poker and make it profitable, you must first master patience and discipline, as a lack of either is a sure disaster regardless of all other talents, or lucky streaks.

     -- Freddie Gasperian


The single greatest key to winning is knowing thy enemy ó yourself.

     -- Andy Glazer


I never saw a poker playerís money that I did not like.

     -- Oklahoma Johnny Hale


Poker is not a game in which the meek inherit the earth.

     -- David Hayano (1982)


Play like a champ. Win like a champ. Act like a champ.

     --  Henderson, Frank


The winner is not the player who wins the most pots.  The winner is the player who wins the most money.

     -- Anthony Holden, author of Big Deal (1990)


The good news is that in every deck of fifty-two cards there are 2,598,960 possible hands.  The bad news is that you are only going to be dealt one of them.

     -- Anthony Holden, author of Big Deal (1990)


Whether he likes it or not, a man's character is stripped bare at the poker table; if the other poker players read him better than he does, he has only himself to blame. Unless he is both able and prepared to see himself as others do, flaws and all, he will be a loser in poker, as in life.

     -- Anthony Holden, author of Big Deal (1990)


Egotism is the anesthetic provided by nature to dull the pain of being a damn fool.

     -- Chuck Humphrey


Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in his shoes. That way, when you criticize him, you will be a mile away, and you will have his shoes.

     -- Chuck Humphrey


It's morally wrong to let a sucker keep money.

     -- Canada Bill Jones


Perception is reality.

     -- Immanuel Kant


Forget about a chip and a chair; give me a hand and Iíll stand.

     -- Warren Karp


All I know is, if the cards ever break even ó Iím screwed.

     -- Rich Korbin


If the shoe fits, steal it.

     -- Lou Krieger


Poker is a microcosm of all we admire and disdain about capitalism and democracy. Poker can be rough-hewn or polished, warm or cold, charitable and caring, or hard and impersonal, fickle and elusive, but ultimately poker is fair, and right, and just.

     -- Lou Krieger


Cards are war, in disguise of a sport.

     -- Charles Lamb (1832)


Poker is the game closest to the western conception of life, where life and thought are recognized as intimately combined, where free will prevails over philosophies of fate or of chance, where men are considered moral agents and where - at least in the short run - the important thing is not what happens but what people think happens.

     -- Johnny Luckacs (1963)


Life is like a game of poker: If you don't put any in the pot, there won't be any to take out.

     -- Jackie "Moms" Mabley, Dirty old lady comedian


Opportunity may knock, but it seldom nags.

     -- David Mamet


The game exemplifies the worst aspects of capitalism that have made our country so great.

     -- Walter Matthau


Poker is the only game for a grown man. Then, your hand is against every man's, and evern man's hand is against yours.  Teamwork?  Who ever made a fortune by teamwork?

     -- Somerset Maugham


If you know poker, you know people; and if you know people, you got the whole dang world lined up in your sights.

     -- Brett Maverick


To be a poker champion, you must have a strong bladder.

     -- Jack McClelland


There is more to poker than life.

     -- Tom McEvoy


Everybody blows their first money.

     -- Lorne Michaels


Gambling, the sure way of getting nothing for something.

     -- Wilson Mizner, Con man and promoter


Industry executives and analysts often mistakenly talk about strategy as if it were some kind of chess match. But in chess, you have just two opponents, each with identical resources, and with luck playing a minimal role. The real world is much more like a poker game, with multiple players trying to make the best of whatever hand fortune has dealt them. In our industry, Bill Gates owns the poker table until someone proves otherwise.

     -- David Moschella


You have to learn what kind of hand this guy shows down, what that one's moves, watch the veins in his neck, watch his eyes, the way he sweats.

     -- Johnny Moss (1975)


Hold'em is to to stud and draw what chess is to checkers.

     -- Johnny Moss, 3x World Champion


Losing is like smoking.  It's habit forming.

     -- Puggy Pearson, 1973 WSOP winner (2001)


Fear is the basis of all mankind.  In cards, you psyche 'em out, you shark 'em, you put the fear of God in 'em.

     -- Puggy Pearson, 1973 WSOP winner (1975)


Everything is mental in life.  The butt was made to lug the mind around.

     -- Puggy Pearson, 1973 WSOP winner (1975)


It's not whether you won or lost, but how many bad-beat stories you were able to tell.

     -- Grantland Rice, Sportswriter


If you can't spot the sucker in the first half an hour at the table, then you are the sucker.

     --  Rounders, the movie (2000)


The deal is of no special value, and anybody may begin.

     -- Robert Schenck, First to introduce poker to England (1872)


One day a chump, the next day a champion. What a difference a day makes in tournament poker.

     -- Mike Sexton


They say poker is a zero-sum game. It must be, because every time I play my sum ends up zero.

     -- Max Shapiro


The commonest mistake in history is underestimating your opponent; happens at the poker table all the time.

     -- General David Shoup


Put yourself in their shoes before you decide on the best way to take their shirts.

     -- David Sklansky


Omaha is a game that was invented by a Sadist and is played by Masochists.

     -- Shane Smith


The odds are merely a framework for play, like the lines of a tennis court.

     -- David Spanier (1901)


Poker... I hardly even know her!

     -- Jack Styles


I must complain the cards are ill shuffled till I have a good hand.

     -- Jonathan Swift (1728)


Itís easy to be a tough competitor and still be the kind of person with whom people love to compete.

     -- Chuck Thompson


If you always start with the worst hand, you never have a bad-beat story to tell.

     -- Chuck Thompson


In poker, money is power.

     -- Alvin Clarence "Titanic" Thomson, A legand of hustles & cons, 1892-1974 (1982)


I won my ticket on Titanic in a lucky hand of poker...a very lucky hand.

     -- Jack, in the Movie Titanic


A person should gamble every day, because think of how bad it would be to walk around being lucky and not know it.

     -- Robert Turner


There are few things that are so unpardonably neglected in our country as poker. The upper class knows very little about poker. Now and then you find ambassadors who have sort of a general knowledge of poker, but the ignorance of the people is fearful. Why, I have known clergymen, good men, kind-hearted, liberal, sincere, and all that, who did not know the meaning of a "flush". It is enough to make one ashamed of the species.

     -- Mark Twain


Learning to play two pairs is worth about as much as a college education, and about as costly.

     -- Mark Twain?


The two things you need to be successful in poker are, first, find the muck, and second, donít play your own money.

     -- David "Devilfish" Ulliott


Show me a good loser and I'll show you a loser.

     -- Stu Ungar


Marriages may come and go, but the game must go on.

     -- Felix "The Odd Couple" Unger


It's hard work. Gambling. Playing poker. Don't let anyone tell you different. Think about what it's like sitting at a poker table with people whose only goal is to cut your throat, take your money, and leave you out back talking to yourself about what went wrong inside.

     -- Stu Unger, Three-time WSOP Champion


The guy who invented gambling was bright, but the guy who invented the chip was a genius.

     -- Julius "Big Julie" Weintraub, a New York gambler who ran junkets to Vegas (1974)


Last night I stayed up late playing poker with Tarot cards. I got a full house and four people died.

     -- Steven Wright


A card player should learn that once the money is in the pot, it isn't his any longer.

     -- Herbert Yardley (1957)


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