Being Phil Laak … Learning early about the 6 P’s

Who knew clip-on ties were a teaching tool

I went to a Catholic school from third to sixth grade. We had to wear ties. Lame. We also had to wear light blue button-down shirts with the tie. More lame. And on top of it all we had to have our shirts “tucked in.” The lamest ever.

I look back on it now and wonder how I caved in so easily. Why didn’t I put up more of a fight? A dress code! Pathetic! How did this happen to me? And why didn’t I take a stand and tell the nuns I wasn’t going to put up with it? A little had to do with what my parents expected of me, and a lot had to do with not wanting any trouble with the nuns. They were big, fast and could give you quite a scare if they wanted.
On one occasion I witnessed a nun grab a fellow classmate by the tie. And it was over. She had him. That moment stuck with me. Note to self. Start wearing the clip-ons — just in case.


I long knew of the clip-on tie. I already sort of wore them. They were faster to put on (and off), and came with a bit of “fashion edge” as well — they managed (ever so slightly) to give off the “I don’t care vibe.” But the days of “sort of” wearing them versus always wearing them faded fast.

When I look back, it is funny to me that I made such a continuous effort. I wasn’t even getting in trouble or anything. Well, not to the level “tie catching” at least. For me, a bad day would involve me getting a “verbal lashing” — and that was about as bad as it ever got for me. The sort of stuff I got nailed for was more or less for day dreaming or taking a nap in class — not for anything real. Certainly nothing worthy of tie grabbing! The clip-on was probably overkill for me, but I felt you could never be too safe. It wasn’t long before I was in the habit of only the clip-ons for me, thank you.

Well it took about a year to collect dividends. And oh what a day. Massively worth it. Massively.

It was a field trip day. Awesome. Never got enough of them anyway. Anyway, come around lunch time we were all told to take a sandwich and a dessert thingy. I was toward the end of the line and noticed that there were about 9 or 10 desserts left and there were only three kids behind me in line. This was a dessert surplus situation. A good thing. Two extras for the road! Innocent enough, right? An extra dessert or two, what’s the big deal? No harm no foul. Everyone already had or was going to get their dessert. Time to make my move. Replete with caution — a quick viso-scan for authority figures — and then swoosh — as fast as could be I filled my pockets. But alas, it wasn’t enough.

Mother Mary (that was her name) had some sort of radar and appeared from nowhere. (Some of the nuns were like that. You sort of had to be on your game for a move like this.)
“What do you think you are doing young man?” I knew she knew but I played it coy anyway. “Huh, what do you mean?” I replied. She leaned in — I could feel the clammy moisture of her breath as she blabbered on with the “what if every kid did as they pleased?” gibberish etc etc… blah blah blah. I shielded and cowered from her moisture laden breath and as my chin lowered I could see her anaconda like fingers curling around my tie. Tightening her grip I could see this was going south fast. (And all for such a simple transgression. Surely I didn’t deserve this!) A few extra desserts! What’s the harm?

I could see it in her face. Lots of harm apparently. How she could be so angry!? I saw her face contorting and I knew it was time to stop thinking and put this tie to the test. Time to flee.

I bolted like there was no tomorrow. She was left there standing wondering what had happened. Watching my escape whist holding that clip-on. How sweet! Up to this point, one of my more awesome moments for sure! Even at 9 years old, I saw this as an accomplishment, not just a close call with an angry nun.

I escaped everything that day. I waited for my punishment to be handed down, but it never came. It never came! I was scot free. I even managed to keep the desserts! I started my run good early I suppose. Anyway, by this point you might be wondering what this has to do with poker. I will tell you.

The six p’s is what it is about. P p p p p p.

Prior preparation prevents piss poor performance. It applies to all sorts of things. Not just clip-on ties.

In poker, there are things we are meant to do on a regular basis and the pay off is hard to see. But when they do come up, it is usually a big deal. Some of the things that come to mind are:

Always protect your hand. It is no fun to see the perfect card fall on the turn only to discover that your hand is gone!
Always zip up your pockets after you put chips in there. It is very tilting to lose chips, especially when the number on the chip is big.
Always double check your cards when you are in a big pot. It hurts when the guy calls and you discover that you don’t have the nuts after all.

Etc. Etc. Etc… There are all sorts of things like this. Basically what I am saying is this: Develop good habits and stick to them. The pay-offs might not be as big as avoiding a tussle with a nun, but they are there for sure. And collecting them quietly is very good for you in the long run.

Good luck at the tables and oh yeah, do yourself a favor. If you end up having kids someday don’t force them into an institution with a mandatory dress code. Dress codes are lame. Don’t be lame.

December 2014