I find it interesting that people will base their entire opinion of me (poker-wise) on a very small sample of my play. Unless they are sitting next to me and watching what happens from my point of view and from inside my head, I don’t see how that is a very smart way to judge people, especially people you are playing against. There are very few people who seem to be able to recognize quickly that I might know what I’m doing on the felt. There are many that eventually, and begrudgingly, will admit that could be true. There are many that refuse to accept it. (Those people I like. They give me their chips.)
I talk about the voices in my head, but, really, there’s only one. It talks. A lot. Thinking makes it talk more. And I think a lot.
During a decision on the felt (virtual or real), a lot of things run through my head. If I’m heads up facing a choice, I may voice one or two of those thoughts out loud. Sometimes it’s to get a reaction. Mostly, not. Mostly, I’m just thinking out loud. It doesn’t mean I think you have that hand. It usually means I’m thinking about whether or not you have that hand. Usually, it’s the one or two hands that can beat what I’m holding. Sometimes it’s the hand I think you have that I know I can beat. If I fold, I either think you have me beat or I just don’t want to risk that many chips to confirm my opinion that you don’t. If I call, I know my hand is better or I’ve decided it is worth my losing that amount of chips to see what you were holding when you made the moves you did in that hand.
Sometimes I pay for information. Sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I just don’t care because I know you’re not going to be around me enough for it to matter.
Paying for info works out much better in ring games than in tournaments. But, depending on the tournament, where I’m playing (online/offline/casino/poker room), or the mood I’m in, I’ll pay for info in a tournament setting. Maybe that’s stupid. But I will consider my chipstack, the pot size, their chipstack, percentage of the field left, bubble number, etc. and then I might call with a draw or bottom pair in the middle of a hand and end up sucking out on the other player. That usually elicits yelling, both real and virtual, about how much of a donk I am.
I was recently told I made a “horrible” call.
It was a tournament in a series that earns points toward a real money goal. I’ve been doing okay in the series because I try to treat each tournament as real money. I was BB. Table folded around to SB who popped all-in. They had a tiny bit more than I did. At that time, I had about 10 or so BB with about 1/3 of the field left, but the tournament structure is MUCH closer to turbo than standard, so I knew I had to make some kind of chip-up soon. I considered the player. Didn’t know them much, but had figured out they were cocky. The all-in came pretty quickly, so I thought they probably thought I would auto-fold. I had been playing pretty tight, but honestly I hadn’t played many hands ‘cuz I had had crap cards. I looked at my hand and saw K-T offsuit.
I thought a bit. My read on their hand was probably a mid pocket pair, guessing 7s or 8s, or possibly something like JT suited. I made a choice. I made a choice to call all-in with my 2 overcards, basically knowing I was the slight underdog in a coin flip.
I know most people in this situation would look down at KT offsuit and auto-fold. I know some people would think it is a power hand and would auto-call. I thought about it, read my opponent, and calculated the risk. I was okay with being out of the tournament at that point. Like I said, this is a series and it is a long haul, not a one-time win situation. But, I also knew I had a pretty even chance of winning the hand and chipping up enough to last me while I waited for better cards to run my way.
I won the hand. (They did have 7-7 and I popped a T on the turn.)
Afterward, the chatbox:
[Other Player]: Horrible
[Other Player]: KT?
[yahneverknow]: I put you on a mid pair.
[Other Player]: That’s an an automatic fold.
I started typing something in the box about how “automatic” anything in poker (or life, come to think of it) is idiocy, which I later deleted before hitting the “Enter” button. The other player kept complaining. And then I got moved to another table so I didn’t have to see what they were yapping about.
Again, why explain my play? I had said enough saying what I did. (I probably just shouldn’t have said anything.) If they can’t process what I said in response in a logical manner, their loss. The players I respect would understand exactly what I meant when they read that. They would know: I thought they had a mid pair, I had 2 overs, I was low on chips and needed to make a move, so I chose to risk it. Whether or not they agree with my decision doesn’t matter. They would understand where my reasoning came from.
But, apparently, I’m a donk.
Funny thing is, I don’t mind all the yelling. It’s kind of fun when people think you’re an idiot. They snap call your all-in shoves with top pair when you have a full house, regardless of whether or not you raised preflop with your pocket pair. Well, at least they call until they see that happen a few times and then they stop calling… anything.
And that’s when the real fun begins!