Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Embrace Your Inner Donkey

Note to Bill Cowher: Sweet Jebus, that was one of the absolute worst displays of play calling I've ever seen. You're hanging in there, somehow, and you decide to go for an onside kick to start the second half? After you spot the Colts an easy TD for now reason with that gem, you decide to go for it on 4th and 4, and you go with the designed quarterback draw, with a gimpy Ben Rothlisberger (who isn't the most fleet of foot even when completely healthy)? That's the best you've got?

My junk is still sore this morning from all the kicking last night at the poker tables. I'd love to do the hip cool thing and say "I got stuck (insert a very large amount of money) but them got it all back, plus some, and then I took a dump and ruby-encrusted diamonds fell out of my ass", but sadly, that didn't happen. The horrible truth is everyone gets stuck at times, and there's not always a happy, silver-lined conclusion in the real world most of live in. Some nights you just turn off the computer and go to bed, junk aching, stuck. Such is life.

I did get accused twice of being a donkey, which is always fun. Once it was completely justified, as I was fairly pissed and called with next to nothing and no odds, and hit a runner runner flush. But the other time I was calling one more bet from the BB to close the action preflop with 59s, with six others in the hand. Flopped two pair and rivered a boat to take down an unimproved AA, who didn't think very highly of my pre-flop call, and spent the next fifteen minutes, umm, discussing it.

The interesting part isn't so much that hand, but the general idea that, assuming you're a smart monkey and playing well, you should likely be accused of being a donkey by average opponents on a fairly regular basis. It should likely happen most often regarding your play from the blinds, as that's probably the area where there's the most common opportunity to make the correct play, but one that looks donkeyish to the casual observer.

In the aforementioned hand (closing the action from the BB, calling just one more bet, with six others in the hand), I'd probably call there with literally any two cards. If you're disciplined enough to lay down the vast majority of hands after the flop (even when you flop top pair) and skilled enough to extract full value when the flop really hits you, you can and should call with some pretty junky hands from the BB, if you've got enough friends in the hand, and are closing the action.

You also should be regularly accused of donkey behavior on a fairly regular basis when you play overcards fast, get played back at by a bigger made hand, and decide to take one more card off, and get lucky and hit. Yeah, that's not optimal, as much of the value of playing overcards fast is in simply running over everyone and getting the field to fold, but what makes the play +EV in the long run is that you do, indeed, have overcards, and sometimes they hit and take out what was top pair.

Ditto for limping with small/mid pairs, when there's a raise from late position, with multiple callers, and it's one more bet to you, which you call, hoping to hit your set on the flop. Even if the flop misses you, you'll sometimes have odds to take one more card off, even if you're drawing to your two-outer, as long as it's just one more bet to call on the flop. Yes, it'll piss of Mr. AA to no end, especially if the flop is something like 8 10 Q, and you hang around for one more bet with 55, and hit a 5 on the turn. Yeah, it sucks, but if you're getting odds to call, you're getting odds to call. You may also pick up straight/flush outs after the turn, which in turn might justify a river call, giving you another shot at playing the "donkey".

Another good chance to play the donkey is in MTTS or SnGs, when you have a decent stack and are facing shoves by short stacks, whether pre-flop or during the hand. This especially happens late in MTTs, when antes and blinds are kicking in, as you'll often be faced with situations where calling with your mighty 73o is absolutely correct, as long as the pot is large enough and the amount to call is relatively small. Frustrating, especially if you're the short stack who finally gets a big hand, only to see it taken down by junk, but still the correct play.

So don't fear your inner donkey. Wear your occasional donkey accusations with pride. Remember, deep down inside, a donkey lurks within everyone. Pet him. Hug him. Feed him carrots and call him George.


Chad said...

In a hand where I'm holding AA and the BB calls one bet and hits(with almost the full table in the pot), I don't get pissed at the BB. Everybody else that priced him in is to blame! They're the donkeys.

Grinder said...

I was called a donkey just the other week when stealing a pot with 53o.

I sort of embraced the anger that was tossed my way.

Joe Speaker said...

The Donkey-Accusers are my favorite players at my local Indian casino. Usually they're young kids, with impeccable hand selection, who have no idea how to tailor their play to the table and can never let their pocket pairs go. Ever.

PokerSweetHome said...

My donkey is named Lester. He prefers to eat apples, and he is far, far too active at the poker table.

Another great post .. you the man ... er, donkey.