Friday, May 11, 2018

I was the donk at the table

It’s the most commonly used phrase in poker (apart maybe from “one time”) – if you can’t work out who the donk at the table is, it’s probably you. But I didn’t care – I sometimes had fun at the poker tables. At times I definitely wasn’t the worst player at the table but I was still the donk. I knew the rules but I didn’t really know how to play.

I started playing online in the late 2000s – mostly low stakes cash or tournaments and I could barely master those. I’d play the money rather than the game – I’d think that if a tournament only cost me a couple of bucks to enter then I may as well make that dodgy call for all of my chips because I was only losing my small buy in.

I (slightly) improved and started playing live games. Where I started to play in London is on the edge of Chinatown so attracted quite a few gamblers. It also attracted a large number of reasonably skilled poker players who used to prey on the gamblers. And there was me still being a donk. I’d not be a donk in the sense of a loose aggressive player raising light and bluffing every street but exactly the worst sort in that I’d call light and generally lose by being passive rather than being aggressive.

My main plan in tournaments was to tread water for long enough then hopefully double up by picking up a decent pair or a big ace. Sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn’t but the sorts of tournaments I played which attracted over 100 people as standard were far too skilled for my lack of a plan to actually bear fruit. My cash game barely fared any better – at least I could book a winning session now and again as I’d sometimes get lucky but it was very rarely because I’d played well and it certainly wasn’t because I’d manage to out play anyone.

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