Honor among theives …

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Some of the last few cash sessions I have played have been on the Absolute Poker site. I play the Limit Hold ‘Em cash games on the “Bad Beat Tables”. This is because most of the other tables do not have enough players and I don’t like to play short handed (a skill I need to improve on).

Apparently there are quite a few players here at AP that play only because of the jackpot and the hopes that they will suffer a bad beat and be paid for it. Some of their player names have things like “JP” for “jack pot” or “last chance” or a name that indicates the type of player they are like “check raiser”.

I am not sure of their playing skills or expertise or even their knowledge of the game because I think they are hoping for a part of the prize and are not necessarily concerned about playing their best game. Most of them will play any ace regardless of their second card. It could be of the same suit or not. It could be a face card or not. It just does not seem to matter. Suited connectors are played, which I can understand. If a player hits the miracle straight flush or a straight on the flop, they have a powerful hand. So they will play two suited cards that have no chance of making a straight or even being the highest ranking flush. They just hope to catch any flush and will gamble with it right to the end of the hand.

Usually these players will continue to play these same drawing hands even when none or only one of the cards from the flop helps them. If one card does help them they are apt to bet out and hope that the turn card and the river card help as well. I have lost a few pots of late with top pair or top two pair or three of a kind made with my pocket pair to players that chased and caught their miracle card on the river. Such is the way of the poker donk and that is how poker goes.

About.Com defines donkey as it relates to poker as follows:
Definition: If a poker player is called a ‘donkey,’ he’s a bad player who makes blatantly bad poker plays. A weak player. Donkey is also shortened to “donk”. See this link for their full definition.

I have seen a lot of bad plays from many of these players during the course of the last five sessions I played there. But they were winning large pots and they figured that was the way to play. It is tough to argue against that except proper poker strategy will tell you that long term they will ultimately lose.

Now the the funny part that occurred in one of these sessions. A hand that I folded pre-flop had a lot of action by four players. For some reason they all thought they had the best hand and raised the pot the maximum number of bets before the flop. After the flop, these players again raised the pot to the maximum number of bets. After the turn card, one of the four folded but again the remaining three managed to get all four bets in the pot before seeing the river card. After the river card, only two players remained.  One player would bet and the other would take about 15 seconds and re-raise him. This action continued until there were three more bets in the pot.

When the hands were shown, the player doing the thinking or taking extra time had by far and away the best hand and won a large pot. The player loosing the hand then said “Don’t slow play your good hands that way”.  This was quite funny because I was hard put to tell if the player giving advice even knew what he was doing based on the poor way he had chased an inferior hand right to the river with little or no chance of winning. The “donk” player was criticizing the player that had a hand and was playing properly.

Do you run into bad or poor players at the tables? Do you consider yourself a good player? Why does it seem that the bad players have an edge at times? Do they all think that they are Gus Hansen?

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4 thoughts on “Honor among theives …

  1. My $.02,What might need to be taken into account is that the poker site doesn't care about your play, or the play of others. They set up these games to encourage more pots so they can take a rake more often. You could make the argument that's to their benefit to encourage larger pots for large rakes, but I think they top out somewhere, so why not take small amounts of money many many times? Much like the lottery this sort of game is there for the advantage of the house, not the player.

    • Nate, your comment is well taken. Although the players overall might be beatable, the volatility of the table combined with the increased rake might make these tables a losing -EV overall. Something to think about, for sure.

      • Agreed. Mostly just be aware. What I would love to see stats on how often the payout occurs, and under what circumstances. What defines a 'bad beat' ? Is it just based on expected % to win of hole cards? If that's the case then I would only play cards that would do two things: beat loose players over the long haul and maximize my chances of a bad beat. Then it's just a matter of patience.

  2. Agreed. Mostly just be aware. What I would love to see stats on how often the payout occurs, and under what circumstances. What defines a 'bad beat' ? Is it just based on expected % to win of hole cards? If that's the case then I would only play cards that would do two things: beat loose players over the long haul and maximize my chances of a bad beat. Then it's just a matter of patience.

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