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Poker Blog established in 2003 as the first stop for poker news, poker stories, and bad poker advice.

July 3, 2005

On Why it's good to SUCK at poker

by G-Rob

I killed time at work tonight with some UFP archives. That Otis can write up a storm, and its been fun trying to remember the homegames-gone-by. In one I found something that was hurting his game, a lesson he learned the hard way, and found again how the inverse has kept me flush with imaginary cash.

Otis is an excellent poker player and would like to be recognized as such. It's well deserved.

I've become a very profitable player, but have spent years cultivating a very poor poker reputation. Pride is a seductive lover who will always leave you poor. Better lucky than good.

I'm just dumb and lucky.

Back when we started playing at the BadBlood homegame Otis had an unusually poor night. He said this in the post-game writeup...

"I hadn't played at this game before, I wanted to look good. I wanted people to see me as I see myself: A solid poker player."

To be fair, he immediatley learned his mistake. The last thing you ever want is a table full of people who are sure you're a solid player. Otis can't shake that now. Every hack card player for 50 miles has heard about his fantastic new career. They EXPECT him to dominate the game and it makes it very hard to cash in on monster hands. Plus, its like flying low with a bullseye on your belly.

These days I've noticed BadBlood has a similar problem. He's the first with a self-depricating remark, the first to denegrate his own ability, but he's an excellent player. Unfortunately, everyone's figured that out.

That leads to a problem that's really two-fold.

First, when you're playing with less-than-stellar players, there's no room for tricky moves. We do play with several solid players, in fact I'd say at least half are quite good, but we also play with a good many calling stations...maniacs..and newbies. There's a point in every hand where you realize they're NEVER going to fold and there's no point making a play. Some players don't recognize a check raise and they won't calculate pot odds. Without that BadBlood loses ammo. He can only see the turn with hands that are likely winners.

But, because BadBlood is recognized as a good player, many of the good players, who would recognize a move, are hesitant to call down his premium hands. Again, the EV is crippled. Somehow he usually turns a profit anyway, which is testament to just how much better he is. I still haven't figured out how to beat him, and I have no clue how he earns big wins.

I, on the other hand, have the opposite image. Take last Friday for example. After winning the tournament at "the Mark" all I could say to BadBlood on the way home was, "They all think I suck!!". More than anything, I was able to tell when the flop missed my opponent. The guy across from me, for example, actually SIGHED OUT LOUD...sometimes he's even mutter a curse underhis breath EVERY TIME the flop missed. Then he'd check. At first I was wary of a deceptive play, but it wasn't. He'd fold and I'd show the bluff. The whole table called me stupid.

After the tournament, we played a cash game, and a couple of the players talked about me like I wasn't even there.

"This is where players like him get crushed," said one.

"I hope he tries those idiotic plays on me," said another.

I doubled my buy-in, showing the bluff every time.

When CJ and I played at the Luxor on the last day of our Vegas trip I had another pair of players with similar opinions of me. They sat in the 8 and 9 seats with me down in the one. I found K9 of hearts in the big blind and called their 8 dollar raise. 3 players to the flop.

The flop was j,9,A with 2 spades.

I checked and 8 seat bet another $10 with a 9 seat call. I called.

The turn was a 7. I checked and the 8 bet another $10 with another call from 9.

I called.

The river was the third spade...AND BOTH PLAYERS THREW UP THEIR ARMS AND CURSED. Not only did they see the flush on the board, but they made It clear that they didn't have it. Both players checked, and both folded to my $50 bet. I showed my pair of 9s and they insulted me for 30 minutes.


Thank God for that. On our regular Thursday dealer's choice game, I've been the biggest winner for 5 of the past 7 sessions, but somehow its all chalked up to luck. I'm happy to be that stupid. I've talked to BadBlood about that and he says its quite a blessing. I totally agree.

I remember, on our first blogger meeting last December, Pauly wrote about the various cover stories he used with the Las Vegas fish. He'd NEVER admit to being skilled. I didn't know then what a good strategy that was.

It only works in live games by the way, you can't do this online. Everyone's anonymous there. Otis KILLS the online game and I usually struggle with the grind. But in person, stupid is a blessing. Ignorance is bliss. Insults will buy your groceries.

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