Don’t blame the donks

Posted by admin | online poker | Thursday 4 June 2015 6:51 pm

It is amazing how often we see solid players blame donks for their losses either generally or in a particular table/hand. The internet is full of players who play poorly and without them it would be hard to beat the rake if you were anything short of a poker god (and if you are a poker god you are probably not reading this in the first place!).

Most good players who play in 5-50$ buy-ins will be relying on their opponents to make poor plays for most of their profits.

The advent of the likes of sharkscope and thepokerdb etc enables us to establish whether or not someone who calls all ins with 49os actually plays well enough to make/lose money. Generally it can be satisfying to know that some of the craziest players do have rather high negatives for their stats but this does not mean that because you do not do some of the aggressive and often questionable plays that they do you will make a profit or that your game is not without substantial holes. As the good book says don’t overlook the plank in your own eye because of the splinter you see in someone else’s.

It is amazing how often people will blame a poor player for their losses. Some will even blame poker sites for their randomisation software or stay clear of a site with loose players which for profitability is probably the worst course of action. Take the following three examples:

Example 1

7 players left you have 3000 as does 1 other person – you have AK. Betting goes call 100 (BB), call then lucky donk goes all in for 1500 – it folds to you and you call to see he has 78s. He wins. If you look up the odds calculator you will see that whilst he was the dog he had honest chances of winning the hand (30% or higher).

Loads of people would critisise his play here – but first – its not too terrible and second your call has probably on those cards had a positive EV – so why blame him for doing something that has helped you statistically? The fact that the cards went against you is irrelevant – do not personalise it. It is not the randomisation software and it is not the donk’s fault – there is luck in cards and it will not always fall in your favour.

Example 2

You have 78s and the blinds are the same as the last example. Someone raises UTG to 300 – you think they have AA and they are the player with 3k in chips. They have tended to bet most flops that they bet preflop on and rarely fold hands that they play although they are pretty tight. Flop comes with a 7 and 2 of your suit – he bets 500, you call turn gives you three of a kind he bets 600 and you raise him all in to be called a donk. Did you misplay the hand?

Probably not but his not respecting the possibility that you might have had 2nd pair and other draws and might have been chasing preflop make his play poor. Ultimately what is important is how you play the hand – he clearly misplayed it and can hardly blame the cards or your play for that matter for his loss – he should have had a small win, the cards went against him and he got blinkered by greed for your chips.

Example 3

You have 10k in chips and the blinds are low (50/100). You have AA and bet 500 to get 2 callers and the flop of 224 one caller has 30k in chips before the hand and the other had 3.5k before the hand. You bet another 500 to get reraised all in by the 3.5k and then called by the 30k hand. You have just moved tables and have no reads – it is a 10$ tourney. Do you call here?

If you do and the river is 6 and the 30k puts you all in do you call? If you do you can hardly feel hard done to if someone has 2x in their hand or even if the 30k had 35s etc. Would a call of 500 with 35 be a good play? Probably not, would a call on the flop with 35 be a good play – definitely not but would your call on the flop and turn be good? You have to realise that it is this last one that is important – other people possibly misplaying a hand is not a get out of jail free card.

If you misplay these hands then you will be lowering your EV and you have no one to blame but yourself. A poor player will blame donks, a good player will correct a leak that is letting some people chase and then sometimes win all of your chips in what is a pot that you should be escaping from.