It's the nice thing to say, right? A friend experiences some success or good fortune at the poker table and you say "Congrats." But when does it lose its genuine feeling?
This past week, I saw a tweet from David "Gaucho2121" Paredes that he had won his first online tournament ever, the PokerStars USA COOP event #5. He has had considerable cash success and even some nice scores in live tournaments, but he had never won an online tournament. I wholeheartedly congratulated him. I think it was more of a psychological breakthrough for him than anything else, as he's a very strong player who has won larger sums playing live.
Less than a week later he tweets again "wow...just won the PLO USA COOP #10 320 1r1a for 32k...my 2nd win week. never won an online tourney and now I win 2 in 1 week!"
My response was "Congrats again, but don't push your luck, i only have so many poker congrats for MTT winning friends before I get bitter...lol"
The more I thought about my comment, that was meant in complete jest, the more I thought that we all have a different threshold of genuinely offering heartfelt congrats to a friend who is doing well. Pushed too far, it can turn to envy or resentment. If David were to win several more tournaments on his present heater, would I still be as happy for him? Would there come a time where I felt his luck and skill were no longer deserving of the riches and success he reaped?
Then this morning, I saw a tweet about the latest winner of the massive UB Bad Beat Jackpot - GUIGUI_88. I met this very nice young Canadian player this summer in Las Vegas during the WSOP. He is very humble and unassuming. He hasn't sought the limelight even though he is one of the best mid-stakes players online. Check out this month's PTR grinder awards where he is once again crushing $2/$4 unlike any other player online.
I emailed him to pass along my sincere "Congrats." along with my comment "That site is so rigged, but at least a good guy won it....LOL"
He thanked me and informed me that his portion of the $205K Bad Beat Jackpot was for $72k. He hails from the same region of Canada as 2010 WSOP champ, Jonathan Duhamel, so the sun seems to be shining on that part of the poker globe.
I am genuinely happy for these two players and their good fortune. I know for a fact that they work very hard for what they have accomplished and are good and generous people. That isn't always the case in poker. But would my estimation change eventually?
I think it would be an interesting study or experiment to evaluate the factors that affect our genuine "congrats" quotient before it turned in a different more negative direction.