Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Sticks & Stones

I am rubber and you are glueMy note-taking about other players online has always been fairly scattershot. Probably the one part of my online play where I am the least disciplined.

When I first started playing real money games, I took notes diligently, though not terribly effectively. Mostly I was recording the knee-jerk, misinformed impressions of a novice. Thus later on, when I’d read some note I’d taken say, a year before, I’d instantly realize a flaw in the note. Often what I’d find is that I’d drawn some jingle-brained conclusion about a player’s style based on the way he or she had played a single hand, and even that generalization was sometimes off-base.

As subsequent experience and knowledge made me skeptical of the earlier notes I’d taken, I found myself less and less inclined to take notes at all. Only very occasionally would I write anything, and usually didn’t devote too much energy to doing so.

Pot-limit Omaha became my primary game of choice somewhere around the spring of 2007, and while the game has definitely become more popular online over the last year-and-a-half, there are still usually a relatively small number of tables going at each level on most sites. I do, therefore, often come to recognize certain players as regulars at the games. Regardless of the site, I’ll usually find at least one player per table with whom I have played before, and most often those familiar names/avatars represent decent players who’ve put in a number of hands and have some clue about how to play.

At some point last year, I started taking notes again, although I am now realizing that frequently the only time I was inspired to take a note on a player was when that player said something to me -- usually derogatory -- in the chatbox. Had a moment later on when I noticed that whenever someone at the table had the little designation on the avatar indicating I’d taken a note, that was a person who’d once insulted me. I remember having a cluster of sessions in there somewhere where it seemed like every time I sat down, someone at the table had taken enough offense at one point or another to call me a name.

If that had happened early in my online poker days, I’d have been mortified. But by then I’d played long enough to know better.

For most sites, when you take a note on a player it saves to a file on your hard disk, so it is possible to go read all of your player notes, if you wish. For PokerStars, look in the main folder for a text file called “notes.” For Full Tilt Poker, look for a file with your username and the “.dat” suffix and open in Notepad. Depending on what kind of note-taker you were/are, doing so might provide a kind of snapshot glimpse of your online poker playing progress.

I did just that today, and while there were a few notes like this…
“called me a donk once”
“cursed me once after I felted him”
“got sarcastic after I won a small pot from him in a PLO freeroll”
“once got all pissy w/me after I got lucky vs. his AA in the Hold'em part of a HORSE game”
…I didn’t find as many of those as I thought I might.

Saw one note about a player calling me a “hureson” after I’d hit my wrap draw on the river against him in PLO. Had to look that one up. German for bastard.

Actually, what got me on this subject was I had a hand yesterday which resulted in a player cursing me (again, in German). For those who are interested, I’ll just post the hand in the replayer and let you decide about my play, his play, and the validity of his post-hand comment. (I set the replayer to show MrAnger’s cards at the start.)

Said MrAnger afterwards: “arschloch, wichser, play lotto idiot!!” Then he left.

Maybe I am an arschloch. Or a wichser. Or an idiot. But which of us here is closer to playing lotto?

We all know you are much more likely to be called names online than in live play. And while that can certainly be unpleasant to experience sometimes, when it does happen, it has to be viewed as an overall positive for you.

You win a hand, and someone calls you a donk. There are two ways of looking at it: (1) Yr name-caller is correct in his or her assessment. Perhaps you are a donk. In which case you have been given some indication it is time to work on yr game. That’s good. (2) Yr name-caller is off the mark. You are not a donk, but in fact have some clue about what yr doing. But someone thinks you are, and is sharing with you and everyone else that critique. That’s good, too, yes?

Have to say, I didn’t mind one bit being left to play with the Bystanders after MrAnger’s outburst -- if they think I’m a mindless gambler, all the better for me.

Kind of goes back to the point with which I began about those first impression, knee-jerky notes I had been taking when I first started playing. More misleading than helpful, those. Chatbox crudities often work in a similar fashion, I’d say.

Or maybe that’s just wichser-thinking.

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Blogger Unknown said...

If he applauded your play there, I'd definitely note it.

Ignore the ignorant, be wary of those who see correct gambles.

7/22/2008 3:17 PM  
Blogger Short-Stacked Shamus said...

Excellent point, drizztdj.

7/22/2008 3:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you get any german thrown at you, let me know, I know my way around that language a bit. And you haven't lived until you've been called an arschloch by a lady of the night on the Hamburg Reeperbahn because you won't take her business. Actually I wasn't looking for any such business, I was on my way to the nearest McDonalds for a *drumroll* hamburger. Somehow she assumed that a soldier in the merry season is looking for anything else than something to set his teeth in.

7/22/2008 6:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

With the amount of whining and bitching and name calling in online poker I figured Phil Hellmuth, Tony G and Mike Matusow must have opened multiple poker accounts at every poker room.

7/22/2008 11:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Am I missing something obvious? He was betting, well I guess you can't call it the ignorant end of the straight (what do you call that kind of straight?) on a board with two suits? Isn't he the one who played it completely wrong?

Shouldn't he have tried to keep the pot small on the flop and then, if another club flops or a counterfeiting 8, he could get away or check/call?

I'm hardly an PLO expert, but I think you gambled appropriately (and aggressively) while he got stuck with a hand that could (a) win a small pot or (b) lose a big one.

In any event, you were ahead before the flop and virtually dead even on the flop (according to CP's odds calculator).

--Tim from Berkeley

7/23/2008 11:51 AM  

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