Slimed... Other Hand from cash game post donkley...

I know the dishonest origins of poker, in fact, it was once called the Cheaters Game, one that bilked unwitting fish out of so much money it replaced three card monte on the riverboats of the Mississippi as the con game of choice, and I know it's a liars game to this day. I know all that, but I also know there is some honor amongst the thieves we play with and there are some things I won't do. Is that a weakness when I play this game for money? Probably.

You ever get that guy who is buddy buddy to you. Usually, he's on your right because everybody from Negreanu to Hellmuth has written it's a good idea to buddy up with the guy on your left (who will wield position over you all day). And I'm even fine with the fake platitudes and niceties, and surely I can't deny I've been a little nicer to a woman in a tournament, or a lesser skilled player on my left, knowing that when I have to steal they'll have a harder time calling, but that's the extent of my fakeness.

Sure, I might lie afterward and say good fold or if pressed give them a hand better than my holding, but almost always prefaced with I might be lying or I might have held... xxx. So, my right and wrong is maybe only a shade different than what I consider to be a sleazy style of poker, a style on Wednesday that slimed me. I felt like the Jonas Brothers at a Kids Choice Award only not rich and there weren't thousands of tweens screeching.

Slimed is when a guy is on your right and you've been cordial with him, maybe even friendly. You've discussed hands and shared some laughs. You've won some pots, he's won some pots and you clearly are not softplaying one another but he's a good enough player and a nice enough guy that there are other spots you are keying on. Then he plays off of your "friendship" for gain.

On Wednesday a weird pattern arises. He limps, I have a hand, I raise, the lady after me calls, folded around to him and he calls. I make a comment about this when I have QQ and the same pattern follows through. To that point, the lady behind was running me down with a weaker holding and though I wasn't showing my mucked cards I think people knew she was catching up to legit hands. So, I was preparing for another AK flop.

Instead 1095. Check, I bet pot sized. She folds, my "buddy" calls. Turn is another nine, he leads out a pot sized bet. I call, 9 is possible for him, and he might lead out to disguise it a bit. I'll pot control and just call the river. River is a king. I'm not threatened by it. My "buddy" shoves. Hmmm.

This is where it gets slimey. I'm considering my options and the range of hands he's limped called with. A nine is squarely in there. King 9 probably not. Maybe 97 or so. Perhaps, he did hold a 9, and like he twice did before with other players, put me on AK and thought he might be able to jam for a big pot. That made sense. I wondered could he be making a move on me? He did watch me lay down the Aces so I am a target to bluff. After hands like that I usually open up my calling range. I might have to call here.

Then the strong is weak bullshit happens. And I have to give him credit his patter is good. Normally, I sniff that out with an insta-call, but he did so in a whisper like he was doing me a favor and didn't want the table to know. "Man, I'm good here, I got the nuts." I look at him surprised. This doesn't make sense why shove on me and tell me to fold. Only two reasons, one he's trying to stymie a call of his bluff because he sees me thinking about it, or two, well, people that softplay sometimes overbet to tell their friends to get out of pots and since I didn't get that hint he was whispering to me to get the message--but were we friends (?).

I felt like calling just on principle.

He gives me his best looking out for you buddy voice and says again "I got the nuts." Alright, I've seen this play a lot and idiots become my buddy and tell me to fold when they hit a massive hand. But something felt different this time, something felt disingenuine. Okay, even if not, his holding could make sense with the action. I start to fold, and I see this look of relief on his face. Normally, another insta-call on my tell-meter. Then, I stop, I say "Are you going to show me." He's uncomfortable with it. "Yeah, I'll show you," he says. "I got 'em."

It wasn't that I totally trusted him, but I counted up my chips and again. I had enough chips to play with if I folded (I KNOW BAD, BAD BILL) but I limited my rebuys and again, I'd have to pick up if I called and I was wrong. Plus, I got a bit of a mental freeroll knowing that I would expose him as a slimey liar to at least my half of the table either way if he was lying.

So everything said call, except for two factors that had nothing to do with the hand. Plus, we did share some laughs, and he seemed nice enough earlier. I chose wrong. And he half-willingly showed a bluff with air 85 suited. I told him nice hand. Course, inside I was already mad at myself for not listening to my gut.

So I went from running in mud to getting slimed. Later I headed home after one more badly misplayed hand and could only count the mistakes I made.

So, that's a lot of posts in a row, about mistakes I've recently made. Which, may make for bad reading, but was kind of the main point of this blog from the start (at least from my private perspective): to chronicle my mistakes so I could avoid them in the future. Sure now, people actually read it and it's morphed into other things too, but every once in a while I have to recognize my poor play and document it. Fear not, I've also played some hands really well and made some great calls, great bluffs, and great lay-downs but it's the mistakes I need to learn from not the right decisions.

I think I've been able to plug some leaks, but certainly one running leak is not making the best decision in the moment because of other factors like not wanting to pick up, which I had fixed for a while but on Wednesday I slipped back into to it. Hopefully, this time the lesson is learned for good.

Why I limited my rebuys... I don't know, actually I do know, it's dumbly showing up with no cash and having a limit on my ATM withdrawal, bad strategy, and a mistake I won't make again. Also, while I re-learned a tactic to prevent a call by brazenly playing on goodwill, I don't think it's a tactic I'll ever employ.

Poker is a game of deception yes, but deceive me within the constraints of the game. I don't harbor the other guy that much ill will, I define it as sleazy, but I do understand others consider that kind of banter as not only fair, but skilled play. To me it's a bit like taking a dive in soccer, flopping in basketball or faking an injury in football, but worse. Sure, some may praise you for it, but most of us recognize it as a cheap way to make a buck. That might be the key to winning Survivor but on a Poker Island it's just the desperation of a mediocre player.


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Anonymous said…
In it something is. Clearly, thanks for an explanation.
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