Monday, January 18, 2010

“My Observations Tell Me”

My Observations Tell MeOpened up PokerStars yesterday for a brief session. While scanning the available tables I noticed one with a little yellow square before it indicating that I had taken a note on a player at that table. That’s a relatively new feature at Stars, I believe. Curious, I opened the table, saw the player, and read the note.

I’m not as diligent a note-taker as I should be. Nor am I necessarily always confident in the quality of my notes, either. A lot of times inspiration for the note comes from a single hand, and thus may or may not offer sound information about how the player plays, more generally speaking. Even worse, sometimes that hand involved me taking a bad beat, and the note is really just an outlet for my frustration, a slightly more constructive alternative to whimpering in the chat box.

When I took a look at my note for this particular player -- I’ll call him Drifter23 -- I realized that it was indeed partially an example of one of those dubious notes taken after I’d lost a hand. The note read “gambler; won big pot v. me after getting it in real bad; plays PLO50 mostly, six-tabling (PLO25-6).” That latter designation tells me where I had encountered him -- at a $25 max. buy-in, six-handed pot-limit Omaha table. Which is where I was finding him now. With a seat open on his left.

Noting that he’d more than doubled up at this table (to about $55), I took the seat with a vague expectation that I might well be playing a big pot with Drifter23. A couple of orbits went by without much incident other than the two of us having battled for a couple of smallish pots in blind-vs.-blind hands.

Then came a hand in which Drifter23 minimum-raised to 50 cents from UTG+1, I folded a crap hand from the cutoff, then a player I’ll call RowdyRon, who had $26.45 to start the hand, reraised pot (to $1.85) from the button. The blinds folded, and Drifter23 made the call. The flop came QhJc7h. Drifter23 checked, and RowdyRon bet $2.50 -- about half the pot. Drifter23 then check-raised pot to $11.35, and after thinking for a while RowdyRon finally folded, conceding the $8.65 pot to Drifter23.

An unremarkable hand, it seemed, until the chat started up:
Drifter23: i thought you were gonna take it all that time
RowdyRon: fk up nit
Drifter23: youre more of a nit than i am for sure
RowdyRon: go suck a ball sack
RowdyRon: and buy lotto
The chat revealed at least three things to me. For one, these two apparently had butted heads some before I got there, it seemed. Secondly, RowdyRon’s calling Drifter23 a “nit” didn’t seem to jibe with my note on the dude, while Drifter23’s denial perhaps did. (In fact, I’m going to guess from the action and subsequent chat that Drifter23 had flopped a draw there and was ready to play for stacks -- not that “nit”-like, really.) And thirdly, RowdyRon was clearly a jerk.

The chirping continued, and it became clear that the pair’s conversation had indeed probably begun sometime earlier. It also revealed a few more things.
Drifter23: as i said, if lotto gave me these odds...
RowdyRon: thats why ur break even over 50k hands
RowdyRon: what a wste of life
Drifter23: for sure
Drifter23: quite terribad
RowdyRon: i recommend find a new hobby
RowdyRon: thats just incredible
Drifter23: cheers
Drifter23: i recommend stop breaking pstars rules btw =)
I thought I had a little bit of extra info on Drifter23 when I’d sat down at the table, having taken my note on him during that earlier session. But RowdyRon knew even more. He’d obviously taken a peek at Poker Table Ratings to discover more about his nemesis. I wrote about this site a couple of weeks ago, one which tracks all cash games and where one can look up any player’s number of hands played, net profit/loss, and BB/100 for all stakes/games. One can even do some cursory analysis regarding their looseness/aggression, replay hands or sessions, among a few other investigations.

Drifter23’s reference there to PokerStars’ rules alludes to the fact that the site forbids players from accessing Poker Table Ratings for such information. In fact, the way Stars’ rules are written, one isn’t to look at PTR while playing (something Stars can, theoretically, check for), nor even while away from the tables, although there’s no way Stars can enforce that prohibition.

Unless, of course, someone pipes up in the chat box to volunteer that he’s accessed such info.
RowdyRon: now u angry hey
RowdyRon: i hit a nerve?
Drifter23: my observations tell me that only one of us are crying
RowdyRon: or learn to play
RowdyRon: youll be better off either way
Drifter23: thanks =)
As play continued, I thought about my little note on Drifter23. Hadn’t really attached that much value to it in the first place, but now I realized how easy it was to discover much, much more about him if I so desired. I also was now playing with an awareness that RowdyRon may well be checking my stats to see if I were a winning player, if I were a “nit,” and so forth.

In that post from a couple of weeks ago, I expressed a bit of bother about being tracked so closely (and not having the ability to opt out of the tracking). Having thought about it some more, I guess I’m less worried about it, although I still feel like my opponents’ knowledge of me ideally should be limited to hands they’ve played against me. And I remain cynical about sites having rules they can’t really enforce.

Kind of appreciated Drifter23’s reference to what his “observations” were telling him there, which I took as a cheeky allusion (intended or not) to RowdyRon’s having supplemented his observations with extra data.

I liked Drifter23’s apparent attitude as well. Can’t do much about folks investigating you like this. Nor about folks giving you hell in the chat box. Saying “cheers” and “thanks” and typing smiley faces seems as appropriate a response as any, I guess.

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Blogger Short-Stacked Shamus said...

Funny little addendum from today's play (again, PLO25) -- yet another player openly discussing PTR at the table...

Four players limped to see a Kc Ts Qc flop. The turn brought the Jc, one dude bet a quarter, and two called. The river was the 3s, and the same dude bet a quarter again. One called, then the next raised pot. The original min-bettor went into the tank, and the raiser began chatting:

RiverRaiser said, "Please call"
RiverRaiser said, "Ill give you moeny back"
RiverRaiser said, "I really will"
RiverRaiser said, "Ill send it to your account"
MinBettor said, "royal? :)"
RiverRaiser said, "yes"
MinBettor: folds

Other dude folded, too. Obviously the chat is inappropriate there, but then came the following:

RiverRaiser: God why the **** did i raise that royal
RiverRaiser: That will tilt me for the rest of the day
RiverRaiser: no badge on PTR for me

Not sure, but I'm guessing PTR designates particular hands -- like royal flushes -- in some particular way. Thought it interesting, though, again to see players openly discussing Poker Table Ratings at the table.

1/18/2010 1:02 PM  
Blogger Robert said...

Simple solution is for the sites to allow you to change to screen-name once a week at least.

1/18/2010 2:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for reminding me why I keep chat turned off.

1/19/2010 3:07 AM  

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