Hello all, welcome to my online poker blog.

I've been playing on and off for a decade after being introduced by a friend.

I played regularly for a few years during the poker boom and had a decent record at the micros, particularly Rush and Zoom No Limit Hold'em games (here's one of my graphs).

Around 2012 I began a new career which involved immersing myself completely in study in my spare time, so I had little to no time for poker. However recently this burden has eased and so I have been gradually dipping back in.

I'm an amateur player who still hopes to some day beat the rake.

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Dealing with Abusive Players.

Right, first up, just deleted my last tilt inspired post. Was thinking of keeping it since it might bring amusement in the future but there really was nothing constructive or interesting to read. The short story is I had a chip lead over a player and for some reason the chat was coming through despite being checked off in the options. I really don't like sledging and it tilts me. I then lost a largish pot to concede the lead which resulted in gloating homophobic abuse. I fired a few barrels back but then suffered a total cold deck and lost. The abuse continued. The worst thing about it is this idiot is a marginal winner, shocking to think that someone like that can beat this game.
Motives for Abuse
For my money, there can only be two reasons for this abuse. One, because they are insecure about their lack of knowledge of poker - a trait that I should welcome - or two, they use the unethical psychological edge as an extra weapon for profit. I think in the case above it was a mix of the two. My opponent didn't play that well, but I can easily see how making his opposition play badly all the time gives him a consistent long term edge which encourages him to continue to fire.
Why the Abuse Tilts me
Mainly pride I think, I've invested alot of time into learning to play this game and the development of my overall knowledge. When I start getting criticised it hurts my pride. I have also been brought up to play games fairly; to shake an opponents hand at the end of a chess game; to smile and say well played when beaten at darts. I play every single sport and game in the right way. When I come across some nasty punk who plays unethically or nastily even, it goes against everything I've ever been taught. Finally, I love seeing the bad guy lose. Especially when he's playing me. It somehow seems wrong if someone can play so underhandedly and still win. So what do all of these things have in common with each other?
In the game of poker, all of these things are completely irrelevant. As I've said before, heads up poker is simply about making as many chips as possible against each and every opponent over thousands of games. Villain can be Male/Female, Nice/Nasty - it doesn't matter what they are we just need to play as well as we can. We'll lose plenty of games to the nasty ones and need to forget about it. There is a well known group of high stakes players who use sledging to upset their opponents. These are hugely knowledgable players and they see it as extra profit only. They are totally ruthless because all they care about is making money. Personally I view abuse or sledging as unethical and am upset that I let myself do it last night. What's it ever going to achieve? All that will happen is that nearly half the time I'll lose the match and be even more tilted afterwards.
Dealing with it
This one is easy. If the Absolute client is broken, I need to play a different site until it is fixed so that I can make sure the chat is off completely. Since I have no interest in sledging - and especially hearing it - the best option is to turn off chat altogether. But there will come times when for whatever reason I do hear it. The best defence will just be to say well played and bite my tongue. My reaction was poor last night and also unnecessary. I can see much more value in letting Mr Angry shout and abuse while I am like a brick wall of cold emotionless ice. Isn't this what a poker player should be?


  1. Nice post . I like to play in a kind of 'STATE' . it's almost trance like . i can almost convince myself i'm playing a computer game . anything that distracts from that is -ev . that is why i detest the chat box and sometimes myself for succumbing to abusing the fish. regards . L4

  2. Totally agree. Too often I see poker decisions 'in the box' and forget that outside influence can just as easily be +/- EV just like the decisions themselves. Thanks for the comment