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When Bloggers Attack!

Sometimes the vastness of the blogosphere is so mind-numbing that you feel like a grain of sand on a mile-long beach.

I should probably start with a semi-apology to blogger impressario SirFWalGMan. This is going to turn into a longer theological discussion on blogger-relations, but I think it is only appropriate to start with a bit of background. SLB is a newer blogger who made the transition from reader about a month ago. Like any newbie, he is still finding his way in poker. Hell, we all are, really. In a recent cash game against the Woffle, SLB sucked out, hitting a 2-outter on the river. Woffle was steaming, as per Woffle's usual routine, and berated SLB in a private IM. SLB posted it, and I responded in the comments that SLB should not be sorry. I also stated that Woffle's conduct was essentially bullshit.

My apology: Woffle, it is not right for me to pile on the hate because of something you said to SLB that has nothing to do with me. I was wrong. My apologies.

There is more to this situation then meets the eye, though. At least there is to the Devil's Advocate of Poker Bloggers.

What this really comes down to is inter-blogger conduct. It's a boring topic to any non-blogger, but I think this reached beyond that narrow idea, and into the larger idea of having a poker crew. I've discussed the importance of Community Knowledge before. Essentially, by working together and discussing hands and plays, we lift the entire group up. It's one of the (if not the only) strengths of the poker blogosphere. At some point, though, with this many personalities, there will be tension.

What, then, should our individual goals be within this large informal group? Anyone who is serious about poker will tell you that when you are sitting at the table with a fish, you shouldn't 'tap the glass.' You want that fish to stay fishy. This is, in many ways, a brutal game. It's certainly a zero-sum game, where you win only if someone else loses. But when you are playing with fellow members of the community, the very community that lifts itself up through cooperation, where do you draw the line between teaching the fish and reeling them in?

This is ultimately a decision for each individual, and I would not fault anyone if they took the stance that they would not help anyone else out. That's a poker player's perogative. I, on the other hand, tend to be uber-inclusive, and part of that inclusiveness is my desire to share my thoughts on poker and play. It's part of the reason why I started the You Decide posts. I wanted readers to discuss plays, especially when they disagree with me. It helps me to see how other players at the table will perceive me, it helps the commentors to work out a hand in the abstract, and it helps us all see a different perspective on the game.

It's hard giving criticism to such an insular group, too. If someone were to say to me in all honesty that they thought I was a poor player, I would be hurt. If they offered me some insights as to how I could improve, well, I still would be hurt. But at least I'd have a starting point. We all, as egomaniacal writers and poker players, like to think that we at least have a basic understanding of what we are doing at the table. For the most part, it is true. I would venture to say that some have it a lot more than others, from either a naturally keen mind for poker or a lot of hard work. But ultimately, no one wants to hear that they suck.

Does this mean that as a member of an informal community we should not say that someone is a bad player? I say thee nay! We help that poor player by pointing out flaws. We might not want to do it because of their feelings or because of the money-making opportunity that such a situation entails, but if you are willing to help your fellow player, then telling the truth about their flaws is crucial. I remind you, that you can opt to keep your mouth shut and just enjoy the fishiness and I won't blame you. That's poker.

So, what does this have to do with anything? I'm not quite sure. I guess the whole point is this: we do not live in a vacuum. You will be held accountable for your actions. If you play a hand poorly, you will be criticized OR taken advantage of, and you deserve that. It is the community teaching you something. Likewise, if you get angry and steam at someone, you will be held accountable too. Frankly, the steam is just as bad for the steamer's game as it is for the person getting flamed. I can assure you that after Woffle steamed at SLB, Woffle was not playing his A-game. So maybe we all need to take criticism a bit...lighter. Remember the source. Think about what has been said. React appropriately.

I applied these principles last night when I was chatting with Woffle. I thought to myself that my comment on SLB's site was really just another pile-on. Woffle does tend to spew some viscious venom at the table, and I am sometimes the target. It annoys me to no end because I consider him in some regards a friend, certainly in the poker blogger definition of the word. I also consider him a good player when he is focused; his biggest flaw is his random forays into madness. In many ways, I look up to his game. So, when I saw him flame SLB, it bugged me. SLB is still finding his way. He needs encouragement. But here's the real deal. It isn't Woffle's job to encourage SLB. I had to remember the source. Then I had to think about what he said, calling SLB out for catching a two-outter. This is not Woffle criticizing SLB for a poor play (at least not entirely). This is Woffle steaming at a bad beat. And now, to react accordingly: keep my nose out of it, and let SLB know that, while he got lucky, he should not feel apologetic that he made Woffle steam. That's just part of the game.

So, Woffle, I do apologize for sticking my nose where it doesn't belong. As a word of advice, take some deep breaths. No one expects you to change, but I think a little less steaming (even at 2-outters) could only help you. More often than not, I think you know this, but we all have our moments.

Now, Woffle, I have a challenge for you. I consider you one of the more prolific and intelligent bloggers around. I think I have a way to boost your bankroll significantly. Sir Woffle, you need to start yourself some bonus whoring. You just play too much to not do this. So, if you are interested, I invite you to email me and I will gladly point you in the right direction. After all, in the end, my real goal is to elevate the players around me. It would be an honor to have a go at you, sir.

And with that, I bid you all adieu.

posted by Jordan @ 9:44 AM,


At 12:03 PM, Blogger DuggleBogey said...

I think it's wrong to point out a fellow blogger if you don't think their game is up to snuff.

It's much more fun to wait for them to go broke then laugh at them.

SirFWLAGMan is the Jerry Springer show of the Blogger community. If you watch long enough, there's gonna be some fightin' retards.

At 12:22 PM, Blogger Iakaris aka I.A.K. said...

I shit talk as a hobby, so does Hoy, so do you(!), and without a doubt, so does SLB. He got nothing worse than he has given others in front of me. And he got it in private chat.

I like steve-o, and read his blog everyday. He may be new to blogging, but he has a good grasp of the game. Enough to know that when you deliver that kind of a beat, you should keep your mouth shut, or go full bore after trying to tilt the guy further. But ya can't have it both ways.

We're all big kids. I say bring the trash. Done well, it's often more entertaining than the game. Just be prepared to take it if you dish it.

At 12:37 PM, Blogger Chilly said...

Thick skin. I am a fish, but I know it. Hitting a 2 outer on Waffles would be a high point for me. I would post about it for months. I would put up screen shots and have t-shirts made. On the back would be the chat transcript.

My goals have changed since I started doing this. I started before the kid arrived and I had a lot of time to play. Back then I was crushing every game I played from $10 SNGs to 2/5 NL. Now I play 1/10th as much and I hang around mostly to poke fun at those who are deserving.

Oh, and by reading about the way you play a hand I learn and keep the rust at bay just a bit.

At 12:39 PM, Blogger HighOnPoker said...

This is a losing proposition for me. I'll just say this: there is a difference between smack talking and talking shit. It's a thin line, but smack talking has an air of humor. I'm not discussing anything/anyone in particular. I'm just stating that generally.

At 1:30 PM, Blogger C.L. Russo said...

I think Sir F is broadcasting a somewhat easy way to beat him. I'd consider playing a crap hand ahead of him once in awhile just to take the chance of catching a flop and putting him on tilt.

At 2:19 PM, Blogger Drizztdj said...

Waffles could NOT be a bonus whore to build a bankroll.

He doesn't have the patience for it. And he knows it.

Playing to win and playing to break-even to clear the bonus and go onto to the next one are two very different things.

At 2:28 PM, Blogger HighOnPoker said...

I don't know, Drizz. As a bonus whore, you COULD play to break even. Or, you can play within your bankroll in your usual game but at a different site. You aren't going JUST for the bonus, but the bonus will come as you naturally play your game. As much as I love me some bonus whoring, I still avoid the idea of bonus whoring as its own end. I try to keep it as the little something extra while I'm playing poker. Of course, it does dictate where I'll play. No doubt about that.

At 2:43 PM, Blogger Defend the Blinds said...

I think anyone who talks shit for reasons other than making someone laugh is a little bitch.

What makes them a bitch is this same person could hit a two outer to win and they'd get bent out of shape if someone gives them shit about it.

At 4:08 PM, Blogger Joaquin "The Rooster" Ochoa said...

What does one gain by shit talking? I don't understand that. I have steamed a few times many moons ago, but why now. I just pat the felt and say good hand and know I got bad beat. It's poker and it happens. The sooner you get over this hand the sooner you get back to your game. I never trash talk the bad player at the table, I just pat the table and say good hand. Those around me who see the awful play look up at me and smile, I just wink as to say, circle the wagons, we have a live one at the table.

At 4:15 PM, Blogger SirFWALGMan said...

Lol. I am getting more patient Drizz. Give me time. I have no issue with someone playing crap cards, hitting a flop and outplaying me.. I guarentee you it gets a little annoying when you have the guy bent over and are reading to ram him and then time space splits and he is suddenly transported behind you. The 90+%'ers hurt.

At 5:36 PM, Blogger Drizztdj said...

Then all these "so-and-so is a donkey" because he hit a (put under five-outer here) posts are all sarcastic?

You need to work on the writing then ;)


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