Monday, January 21, 2008

Why Complain About Playing Against Donks?

I've read on the Cardschat forum lately a decent amount of threads by folks complaining about how horrible and rotten donk players are. They'll include phrases like "this idiot" and "I hate playing against players like this". This always makes me think of one word: "Why?" Then there's the players who like to berate a donk in the chatbox after he wins with a suckout. "You went all in with K8? Your an idiot" (most don't know that it's "you're"). This makes me think "So tell him his mistake so he plays better or leaves. That's smart!" Sometimes I'll type this thought in the chatbox. There's also the people who play freerolls and complain about the players who "go all in every hand". My thought is that you can't take their chips if they don't put them in the pot.

I actually LOVE playing against donks online. I make most of my money against bad players. It's the easiest way to profit in poker. Against a donk, you can just play your big hands as normal and get paid off. On the other side, the only way to win against good players is with deception (but we'll save that subject for another time). Many donks will also let you draw for good odds. To play against donks, there are obvious adjustments in strategy that I believe must be made. The 2 most consistently needed are 1) very little or no bluffing and 2) limping becomes a good tool pre-flop. Both are meant to reduce risk since donk play often involves multiway pots, which reduces some hand strengths. Beyond these, it will depend on the type of donk player. Adaptability is the key. If a good player sticks to his normal game, he is usually toast at a donk table.

I believe playing against donk players is good practice. You are bound to run into a few at nearly every stakes limit you'll ever play, so why not be ready for them. I would play more freerolls against them if the average freeroll payout was more rewarding than playing for 4 hours and winning $1. I'll even play at some play money ring tables from time to time, just for practice.

I'm not sure about the thoughts of the people who complain about donks. Is it because they think their good hands should ALWAYS win? Would they rather play at a table with excellent players and only take down small pots when everyone correctly folds? It just doesn't make sense to me. Most of the low-stakes complainers would be crushed at a table full of solid players. They just don't know it and THEY then would become the donkeys. Funny how that works!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

General Update & Brewfest Planning

My poker is going well. Small profits, but better than losses. I've switched to updating my BR tracking spreadsheet every 5 days instead of daily. It seems to have me in a good state of mind. No more worrying about yesterday's numbers. If I have 1 or 2 bad days, there are still 3 or 4 days to improve my profit. It would be nice to be able to "just update my numbers", but the tracking seems to affect me like a barometer of my poker progress more than just tracking my BR. But that's OK, I guess. The 5-day-update plan seems to be working.

Also helping things is the grip I have on my tilt issues. I've read a few books recently that have really put things in perspective for me. I finally get that you can play poker well and still lose. I finally get that you can only judge your poker progress on a long-term basis, not short-term. I still cuss a bit (sometimes loudly) after an online beat, but it doesn't carry over to the next hand for me. Now, my mistakes are more technical than emotional and it feels great. I also think playing at comfortable stakes helps in the tilt department, too.

I just started getting info on the 2008 Reno Brewfest. It's on June 28th this year. I think more Cardschat members are going to try to make it this time. I'm trying to take the lead in getting info on group rates, etc. But I hope I don't come off as "bossy" on the forum. I just get kind of excited about Reno and seeing my buddies. I have had issues with being misunderstood recently and it still concerns me. I guess the typed word can be interpreted in different ways by different people. Oh well. It'll turn out fine.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Another "Valley-like" Month; Music Voted Off

December was typical of the months I've had lately. Down to start, flat in the middle, and up at the end. This results in a graph resembling a valley:



Here's to future graphs looking like upwards stairs, like Tenbob's.

My variance seemed pretty wild. Again, I thought I played well but had more luck go against me. I played in an SnG recently and I counted 4 out of 5 preflop all-in hands go against me in which I had the better hand to start. AQ vs KJ and the J hits or AK vs A3 and the 3 hits, etc. I'm not complaining, just stating fact. "That's poker." I still ended up cashing in 3rd.

I'm actually doing surprisingly well in controlling my past tilt issues. I still get mad when I bust, but I don't let it affect my next play. I guess it comes from confidence that I can withstand setbacks. I also have found my tilt severity depends on the stakes I'm playing. I analyzed my stats recently and found that I was doing better at $25 NL cash games than at $50 NL, so I've decided to step back down for a while (and also play more SnG's). I had made "SilverStar" at PokerStars, but I was putting too much pressure on myself to maintain my FPP's by playing $50 NL and my stats were suffering. So near the end of the month, I abandoned $50 NL (for the most part). I did lose my SilverStar status, but my profit improved. I guess that's the most important thing, huh?

In addition to that change, I am also going to simplify my profit tracking. I think that seeing daily "ups and downs" in my profit is affecting my mindset. I'm going to try to relax and try weekly profit entries on my spreadsheet (or so). If I ever want to break down my progress more precisely, I can always do it with PokerTracker.

Besides my personal resolutions of building up my physical stamina and losing 25 pounds, my poker resolution this year is to try the local cardrooms. I love playing live in Reno, but I'm not sure why I haven't played near home. Seems a shame that I haven't taken advantage of the laws in our great state of California, where live poker is legal and encouraged. Maybe the cardrooms are an unknown to me. Are the drinks free, like in Reno? Can I wear my loud Hawaiian shirts without getting harassed, same as Reno? Etc., etc., etc. Oh well. Time to bear down and just do it.

BLOG MUSIC SENT PACKING: 47% of my readers voted to ditch the blog music, so I bid it "Farewell." 34% wanted to keep it and 17% didn't care (2% rounded down). I might just add a very short sound byte in the future (sound effect or ESPN twang), but no more full songs. Thanks to all who took the time to vote.