Sometimes there’s only one way to cope with your bad beats; don’t get mad, get even.
That’s my little secret when it comes to avenging some of the poker atrocities I endure online. If you can’t beat the donks, then join them … at least for a few glorious moments.
Allow me to digress for just a minute: I play extremely tight, a cornerstone of my general strategy that has allowed me to go deep in many no-limit hold’em tournaments. It is my contention and firm belief that the biggest mistake online players make is misunderstanding hand values.
So while it seems some players are ramming and jamming in every pot, I sit there and fold, fold, fold. Five hours and 500 hands later, I’m often still in contention, but a quick check of my stats shows that I’ve played 12 percent of the hands of I’ve been dealt, with a showdown winning percentage of somewhere near 100 percent. That’s extremely tight, but tight usually is right.
Except, that is, when the donks rise up and kick you in the stomach. When you consistently get your money in good, it’s inevitable you are going to suffer more than your share of suckouts.
Pocket aces losing to pocket queens is one thing; at least you can understand why your opponent put his money in the pot. What’s worse is when you have A-A and the big blind calls and the flop comes A-8-6 rainbow. You happily watch your opponent call pot-size bets on the flop and turn, thinking he has the case ace and you might take a lot of his chips. Then a 9 hits on the river and he goes all-in, showing 10-7 for a straight.
The type of anger this play induces is bad for your health, and I’ve found professional therapy does not work. Meds are no good, either. But here’s something that does work: paying back the donk-riddled universe in your own special way.
My preference is to sit in a 2- and 4-cent limit hold’em game and play every single hand for every bet to the river. No more folding weak aces, no more mucking gutshots to a raise and a re-raise. And if you bet the river, you had better have a hand, because I’m calling with queen-high (or worse). I’m clicking the “call any” box and the check mark is going to stay there until I’m good and ready to leave.
Which won’t be anytime soon. When I decide to loosen up, let my hair down and get my donk on, I will not exit the virtual felt before I get my fill. This usually includes waiting until I administer an unfathomable bad beat to one of my unsuspecting opponents, the kind of ungodly donk branding I’m used to receiving when I play my “A” game.
This level of poker sadism is more cathartic and satisfying than you ever dreamed it would be. Living well might be the best revenge, but extracting it against low-level online poker players is the sweetest.
A couple of plays I’ve made were borderline Hall of Fame worthy, maneuvers that had me sniffing a form of rare donkefied air that I hardly knew existed. But its scent is sweet and memorable, worth bottling if that were possible. If I can get one monitor hurled toward a window in Podunct, Iowa, then my work is done.
Here’s a good one: I once cold-called two raises from the big-blind with the Q-6 of clubs. The original raiser popped it again, making it four bets. I hope you don’t have to ask whether I called. The flop came down king-high with two clubs and after I checked, player A bet and player B raised. I re-raised. The pot was capped again. When a blank hit the turn, player A bet and player B folded. Again, I raised and got re-popped. When the ace of clubs hit the river, I led out and player A called. My crestfallen opponent sarcastically wrote “NH, sir!” in the chat as he showed his pocket kings. I didn’t dignify his whining with a response. What donks around, goes around.
My lifetime achievement donkamentary came when I called three bets cold from the BB with 2-5 of hearts and flop came A-A-4 with two hearts. I caught the 3 of hearts on the river (after check-raising every street, of course) for a straight flush to crack the opening raiser’s quad aces. That, my poker-playing brethren, is the true definition of pain. You’re impressed, I know. This is the type of instinctive donkey acumen of which legends are made.
And this how I get over bad beats. It should be noted that this is an expensive hobby: I’ve been known to lose $5-$6 in the 2-4 cent game, which is somewhere in the neighborhood of 150 big bets. You’re impressed again, I know. Thus showing that it really doesn’t pay to play like a donkey, but the positive effect is has on my psyche is priceless.
Seriously, there is a real benefit to doing this once in while. If you have been running bad and/or suffering a severe streak of bad beats, it is tempting to start playing more hands, tilting, or, in other words, when in Donkrome, doing as the donks do. This can be extremely costly in games in which you are trying to win and can do irreparable damage to your bankroll.
You are far better off calming down, taking a deep breath and staying away for a few days. If you still can’t get the beats out of your system, then it might be time to grab a cup of coffee, find a good 2-4 cent game (if there is such a thing), and allow yourself to freely express the donk that secretly lives inside all of us.
You might be glad you did.
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