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Decent Players

As I got up from my seat at the Wall Street Game, my opponent joked about how I was going to call him a lucky donkey on my blog. The truth was, inside, I felt my chest constricting and my shoulders tense up, but I was doing my best to find my inner Zen. Of course, I told him that I would do no such thing, but, well, he was a fucking lucky donkey.

I kid.

There is nothing productive in attacking the play of your opponents, even though it might be an initial and natural impulse. However, critiquing other's play is not going to improve MY game (unless I make the same mistakes), so all I can do it look at my play.

In this case, the first ugly loss from that player, whose name I sadly cannot remember, came during the second tournament (I have a lingering memory of a suckout from the first tourney, but I can't remember it exactly). I held QQ and raised from LP to 300, a 3x raise from the 100 BB. The player called from the SB. The flop was J23, rainbow, and it checked to me. I bet out 300, hoping to get some more money out of my opposition. He called. The turn was another Jack, and I bet out 600 when it was checked to me. I was suddenly slightly nervous about my opponent having Jacks, but his demeanor didn't suggest it, and he would raise if he did hit his trips. He called and we saw a river, 2. At this point, my opposition bet out. I don't remember what the amount was, but I folded and he showed 25d, for a rivered full house. That loss stung, but I had enough chips to still be among the chipleaders and I was happy that I played it so well, betting when I was ahead and folding when I was behind.

Later, I held 92o in the BB when the same player limped in MP. He had limped before with 23o, folding to a raise and showing his cards, so I knew his range was wide. The flop was 963 with two spades, and I checked, hoping to check-raise the loose player in MP. He bet out 300 and I min-raised him to 600. He called. The turn was another 6, and I bet out 1500, about half of my remaining stack, hoping to just take down the pot or get him to make an error with bad cards. He thought for a moment, said, "I can't believe you have the fullhouse" and then finally, reluctantly, pushed all-in. He had me covered by this point and I essentially committed suicide, calling with my top pair, bottom kicker. He showed 67o, for flopped middle pair, and turned trips. Busto for me, and I got up, shook hands and the donkey comment was made.

I could really feel it in my chest, that tension you get when you suffer a brutal suckout. Its the same feeling that makes you want to say, "Nice call, fonkey." or "What the FUCK!?" But there is no benefit in those statements. If you are leaving the game, it'll only make you look like a poor sport (not good if you want to return to that game), and if you are rebuying, it announces to the table that you are on tilt or tiltable. Frankly, that tilt factor is just as damaging when you are leaving. If players know they can tilt you, they'll do it. Just ask Woffles.

Realistically speaking, I fucked myself on that second hand. It wasn't his fault at all. First off, the check-raise on the flop wasn't bad, but the bet sizing was horrible. I was correct that he was likely to bet with marginal holdings, but this was a tournament, and not a cash game. In a cash game, it made sense to bet the minimum and keep him in the hand. In a tournament, I should have just taken the pot by raising a lot more than a min-raise. If I bet 1500 there, instead of on the turn, I probably take it down with minimal effort. I also ignored the flush draw and the fact that my top pair was in trouble if a Ten through Ace came up. So, railing against HIS "stupid" play would have just been silly. Like most things in poker, I did it to myself and I didn't have anyone else to blame.

Another funny thing came out of the game, Steve, a decent player, told me that he had read my blog post about the last time I was at the Wall Street game. I grumbled. Its nice getting new readers. After all, a blog without readers is like a poker room without players. It might look nice, but its just a waste of space. However, there are games where I don't want the players knowing that I have a blog. First off, it means I can't give honest reactions to players and plays, lest I insult someone. I don't write to insult people, but there are times when a game or a player can and should be described as lacking skill. Ego is a big part of poker, so no one wants to hear that statement with their name attached. Truthfully, though, if there was a game to be outted, it was the Wall Street game. While there are some soft spots at the table, players seem to generally have a good understanding of the tools available to them, which makes for a great, challenging game. There is a decent range of styles and experience, but even the players I would mark as the soft spots tend to pull out moves that are fairly advanced, whether or not they know it.

Steven also found it humorous that I referred to him as a "decent player." Personally, I consider that a compliment. If I label a player as decent, I don't mean decent as in passable, but decent as in someone that I actually pay attention to at the table. After all, there are the crappy players that I can get a read on quickly, the decent players who I have to be cautious of, and the great players that I just avoid. So, in the grand lexicon of things, being decent is, well pretty decent. Or maybe I'm just covering my ass because he's reading this right now.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 11:30 AM,


At 1:16 PM, Blogger MHG said...

"There is nothing productive in attacking the play of your opponents..."

I completely agree. Berating your opponents pretty much pigeon-holes you into a persona.

He'll go all-in with queens, to be called by A-6 offsuit and begin saying, "How is that lady calling me with A-6? How stupid of a play is that? She knew I had a big pair, man, no respect."

That guy is giving away so much unnecessary information, it just makes me laugh. He is announcing that he knows calling with A-6 is a bad play. He could even be wrong, given the escalating blinds or chip stacks, or money already in the pot. He is also bringing a harsh vibe to the table, which can have the adverse affect of those "donkeys" leaving.

But far and away the biggest flag I receive when I hear someone berate another player is that the berater simply doesn't know how to change gears and adjust for the play of the donkey. Sure, they might suck out on you by calling with pretty much 3 outs before the flop--but you want this call, and you want to be around for the handful of other mistakes they'll make.

At 2:25 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

I type this many many times while in PLO8 cash games:

"Stop tapping the glass"

And remarkably the regulars usual do. As the donators will 95% of the time bleed back all of their profits.


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