Thursday, April 8, 2010

Filling a hole

The hole's about the size of The Grand Canyon and the funny thing this is I didn't realize I had such a hole in my game until tonight.

Poker Meister a/k/a Floppy commented on one of my earlier posts and this is what he said:


I'm still trying to work on this, so it's hypocritical for me to criticize you for doing it, but don't help other players - even if you feel badly for them. There are a lot of reasons for people to play poker - and I find the losers want one thing: to confirm that they lose. I have also found that by trying to help, they either don't listen, don't get it, or don't care.

What purpose is served by helping them? For me, it "relieves me" of the guilt of taking stack over stack, week after week, from a person whom I would consider to be a friend. Some of the time, though, even the best of intentions are met with resentment... they know you're a better player than they, and they come for the gamble of it all. I'm finding that it serves no purpose to voluntarily help other players get better.

Wow - Pearls of wisdom right there.

This is something I do repeatedly. I play against some nice guys at the Saugus Sportsman's Club monthly - and I usually take their money.....last time I was there I was trying to help a guy play the short stack before he got too low....Gary's (jewboy's) response was "Jo, this is a competition you know". At the same tourney I got yelled at because I was trying to teach a girl my theory on middle pairs.

I play at Lynne's house every two weeks and there the stakes are high - not kid stuff - and when she loses every week, I'm just banging my head against the wall, frustrated that she cannot comprehend pot odds, being reeled in and what a decent starting hand is.

So why the hell do I do this?

Why do I feel the need to help/teach/learn when I'm there for one reason. The money! And if that's the reason then my actions don't make sense.

Poker Meister is exactly right. I DO feel bad taking money from people I like, repeatedly. Over the last couple years I've taken thousands from the sportsmen's club, but it's done fair and square....sorta. There's a luck factor in poker, but only to a certain extent. I'm not in the money every time I play there, but close enough. And the funny thing is, they're aware of how often I cash, and how they suck, yet they don't want to hear what I've got to say, or just don't understand what I'm getting at and really are not interested.

I think another reason I do this so much is because I'm a big dork and love to talk about poker theory. I LOVE chatting about big slick and why it isn't as great as it looks (or pocket pairs, or chasing straight draws, or playing the shortstack, or what-evah) and it's not just to hear myself talk. Nothing brings me greater joy than to find someone who has their own theories and I can learn from their point of view and maybe even debate. People like that are hard to find though.

One night after a cash game at Lynne's house I actually asked her what she got out of all this hosting and never winning. She said she wanted the company and if she didn't do this, she'd be at the bar drinking, spending her money THAT way. "This way" she said "I get to see my friends, have some laughs and drink at home, not alone. Whether I lose the money in poker or spend it drinking at a bar, it doesn't matter."

She told me that about 3 months ago, yet I've continued with my "helping" with nothing positive coming from it.

Hell, last night during Very Josie Poker, Floppy knocked me out so I was watching the game. DB Cooper played great but I noticed him over betting his middle pair, which was something that took him out of a tourney earlier in the week.

I started IMing like a mad woman "MIDDLE PAIR COOP! YOU DID IT AGAIN - LEARN FROM THIS". And I did this to what end?

Bottom line is I'm plugging this fucking hole up and my piehole too. At least as far as giving unsolicited advice goes. Those days are OVER.

Thanks for making me aware of it Floppy. YOUR advice did not fall on deaf ears.

Play smart.



SirFWALGMan said...

I dunno if I agree. Sure that is the professional approach and you should not help EVERYONE. However if someone who might listen to advice like DBCooper gets some from you I doubt it effects your bottom line much. I think he would take it well. I think he might learn something or teach you something. It might work against you in the few Very Josie things you do.. but your daily fish tank will be full of fishies you can take money from.

I personally like helping people out and talking strategy. Again not strangers or fish at the tables.. but I always talk strategy with other bloggers..

I would bet that the "high stakes" guys who are friends discuss things too.. do not give their games away but discuss general strategy and things they see.

The key is the person has to like talking about strategy and want your advice but not feel like your calling them a schlub.

NewinNov said...

So what I got from your recent post:

1. You have a hole; about the size of the Grand Canyon; it is getting plugged.
2. You are a big dork.
3. You love chatting about Big Slick.
You are one interesting person.

lightning36 said...

In essence, isn't your post giving unsolicited advice? : o )

Josie said...

@waffles, you're right. There's a difference between helping out a fish and trading ideas with db cooper - and yeah, he's already helped me out....pointing out a tell that I didn't realize I had.

Grabbing a beer after work would be way cool...

Josie said...

@Newin - lol aren't you the funny bastard! The hole really isn't all that big. ;)

@lightning - yes, I guess my blog does give advice, but I'm gonna go with Waffles - I can chat with peers, but not ram my advice down fishies throats....I'll just take their money instead. :)

dbcooper said...

You a big dork??? If you are you are a cute one. Okay thats enough being nice .. Ha Ha.

I agree with floppy. There is a difference discussing strategy with people that are good or decent players and giving advice to people who just don't have that skill level yet.

Oh and on the middle pairs hopefully the leak is fixed. It better be or Josie might take my chips next time.

Josie said...

Thanks Coop - you're sweet. Enjoy your weekend off the island!

The Poker Meister said...

No one has ever called anything I've said "pearls of wisdom." I'm gonna file this post away as a keeper and share with the world that at least ONE person thinks ONE thing I've said may be smart :-).

Part of the reason I started blogging was to get out the thoughts inside my brain in an anonymous way. That way, I can passively help people who actively seek it out - and I can actively solicit my own help by the readers who comment on my various hand histories or strategies that I post. As a result, I feel that my writing has helped me keep my trap shut.

That said, Waffles is correct in that there is always a good debate with a fellow educated poker player on a HH or theory. Discussing the merits of overplaying AK, or 4 betting AA, or whether to fold KK, is all great fodder.

At this point in my poker "career," I feel like educating a random at the table is like tapping the glass. I NEVER* do it anymore.

*Well, hardly ever :-)

Josie said...

Floppy, what you said was eye opening to me - but that doesn't change the fact that you knocked me out of my own tournament.....let me put it this way, you're now a target!

genomeboy said...

If you like talking poker theory so much, spend time on 2+2. When you play, just sit there and watch. Your goal should be to make money. If you're not doing all you can to maximize profits, you're playing -ev poker.

Just bite your tongue...

Josie said...

Geonome, what's 2+2?

When I play live, I DO sit there and watch....I want some live poker!

SirFWALGMan said...

2+2 is a mixed bag Forum for Poker.. somewhat it is arrogant morons discussing the equity of .0000000001 EV decisions and sometimes there is good stuff.

Josie said...


Waffles - You've made me VERY happy.


genomeboy said...


2+2 is a publishing company run by David Sklansky and Mason Malmouth. Sklansky is the author of several books that essentially lay out the underlying principles of the math of poker.

Sklansky basically laid out the -expected value/+expected value concept (-ev, +ev), as well as introduced the concept known as the "Fundamental Theorem of Poker

"Every time you play a hand differently from the way you would have played it if you could see all your opponents' cards, they gain; and every time you play your hand the same way you would have played it if you could see all their cards, they lose. Conversely, every time opponents play their hands differently from the way they would have if they could see all your cards, you gain; and every time they play their hands the same way they would have played if they could see all your cards, you lose."

2+2 also published classic poker books such as "Harrington on Holdem", and "Harrington on Cash Games".

The forums have a number of sub forums. Some of them can be quite informative, and a way to get advice on different ways to play a hand, or information on playing live, in tournaments etc.

There is, like many internet forums, a subset of users who basically troll around trying to create problems. However, there are a number of excellent poker players, including many top live and internet pros (Greg Raymer aka fossilman and Daniel Negraneu for example) who post there as well.

The Poker Meister said...

2p2 published a book mostly only known to poker semi-pros and the ilk called "Professional No-Limit Hold 'em: Volume I". I haven't fully read Harrington's books, but from my understanding, they are tournament-centric. If you are ever interested in playing cash - or learning advanced poker fundamentals, I highly recommend that book.

Josie said...

Wow - thanks geonome and you too floppy. I have harrington on holdem....don't have the one on the cash game. I dont really enjoy cash games like I do tourneys, but I do play them when that's the game.

I'm totally looking into this 2x2 - I'd never heard of it - I love poker books but have stopped buying them cuz the last couple have been useless - this sounds like something I can sink my teeth into.

Geonome - r u playing with me wednesday night? Put your theory to the test - but I warn you - what a bunch of good players - no fishes in this game.

genomeboy said...


Harrington on Cash Games is focused on cash. They came out about a year ago or.