…land of the donkey… (A hold ’em tale)
When I first began playing online poker it started at holdempoker.com for play money. As a long time purist I found the idea of online poker a little bit…um…weak. I also didn’t have a whole lot of dough at the time, but that’s a whole other story. Anyways, I decided to get back into the game by playing online for play money and just watching hands and memorizing card values. Of course if you’ve ever played online play money poker you know that there isn’t much poker-ing that goes on there and it tends to be a whole lot of luck based bingo. Which has it’s uses too, which I’ll get to.
Anyways, after a few months of bingo I signed up to Poker Stars and put some real money in. My attitude towards online poker was changing, thanks to some endorsements by big players and articles I was reading in magazines etc. I started my account (Fluxx) and put in 50 bux and within about 3 days I was up to 500. See, the thing about online poker that they don’t tell you in the magazines is that the low level games are loose as a 3 dollar whore and nobody has a clue about how to actually PLAY poker. Sucking in fish is easy, big payouts are common, and dominating a table takes about 10 minutes. Except…
The flipside to all of that is that bad beats and suckouts are just as easy. What about the guy who called a 4x blind preflop raise with a 93 of clubs and catches a runner runner flush against your pocket pair or your KQ that hits top pair? Also, it’s bad for your discipline and your game to continually dominate at low levels, cuz when you move up you run into the inclination to forget to respect your opponent. Or worse (for me) you over respect your opponent. I don’t know how many times I’ve made a play on a semi bluff with middle pair top kicker and some donkey called down (and not just bets but sometimes big bets) with two over cards and hits one on the river. Things like limping in from late or big blind with ace 9 and having a flop of 4, 2, 9, rainbow and having the guy with 10 q call a pot or double pot bet and catching a 10 on the river. Or even worse…having an AJ that I didnt raise preflop, getting the same flop and some bonehead calls down with pocket 7’s or even threes.
And I beat myself up when these things happen. I get mad, first that I overestimated my opponents knowlege of the game and betting patterns, secondly that I let him chase me down. It’s not like I bluff much…my stats in a typical low limit session at Poker Stars show me at around 20-30% flops; I am not the tightest guy at the table but I’m definitely not a loose player. And I mix things up…sometimes I slow play, sometimes I’m aggressive, sometimes I’ll show a crap hand just to set up an image. I watch the play and try and make my moves against people who should understand what I have. I’m seldom obvious with my bluffs…I try and make it call-able but damaging. A good player without a strong hand would usually fold against that.
Anyways, I digress. So I took my 500 bux and instead of cashing out, I kept playing. Annnnd…the luck ended. Boom! Bad beat suckout long call suckout bad beat…twitchy is going back to the bank. Going out early in a tourney when an Ace 6 off suit calls my all in pocket kings and gets lucky. With 6’s yet, not even the ace! And never did I go out on crap (until I started to tilt a bit). Always, best hand when I started betting, caught up, passed, done. I started to think that PokerStars had a doom switch on me. After going down about 200 bucks (which isn’t much, I know) I decided online poker in general and PokerStars in particular is bullshit and quit.
I went back to playmoney at holdem poker.com and learned something… It occured to me that being on tilt, a good way to get out is take a day off from money and go play money and just play stupid for a while. Analyze the plays I’m making, win or lose, and start thinking back to basics. I went to some live games and built up a fairly good profit side, and even without good cards I was up quite a bit.
Fast forward a year and a half and I hear about Doyle’s Room. I go check it out, and put 25 bucks into an account as Twitchy67. Bang bang bang I’m up to 400. This time I’m a bit smarter…I cash out a couple hundred. I’ve continued doing this and so far cashed out about 2500 bucks. I have had some periods where i’ve gone tilty or just run bad and lost some, but I’m up overall. I play a lot of single table tourneys and tend to win them (won seven in one day once!). And it’s good…I like playing there and like the players…donkeys, fish and good ones.
Now it’s close to world series time so I went back to poker stars…they offer alot of satellites into the WSOP so I figured I would try my hand there. Well I’ve been back for a few weeks, won a bit of money in sit and go’s and live play, but it’s the same old bs as before… doing well in a satellite and some donkey sucks out two pair with a 27 against my all in preflop aces. WTF… Generally one should appreciate bad players for the action they generate. But that doesn’t take into effect that fact that I am like the world’s most unlucky dude… someone makes a bad play against me they ARE going to suck out and win…
And of course, I’m not going to the world series…