Donks and disrespect
This is something that I've always wondered about.
Why does it seem like so many members/players are quick to label players as donks, resort to name-calling, and sometimes show utter disrespect at the tables? I know the term 'donk' in poker means a person who plays bad at the tables, but I think the term itself gets thrown around way too loosely. Too many people either generalize a group of players as 'donks'-"I hate freerolls because they're all full of donks!"
or they are quick to label a player as a donk-"I can't believe that donk raised with J10s UTG and beat my AQ!"
I actually find that this generalized labeling of players to be very disrespectful. I'm not saying that there aren't bad players out there, but I don't think its right to be so quick to judge someone. Lets take a look at freerolls because they're known for being full of 'donks'. Freerolls are not only perfect for those who want to build a bankroll, but they're perfect for those who are learning the game as well. If a player makes an obvious mistake at the table and you do not know them at all-are they a donk or they a new player trying to learn? You don't if they're new or not, but are quick to label them as a bad player. Is that really fair? Not everyone who plays bad is a bad player, so don't be so quick to judge.
It seems like a lot of people view poker as a 'who is right vs who is wrong' battle. If an opponent doen't play to their liking or how they would play, they usually label that opponent as a bad player. Instead of learning to adjust thier strategy so they can exploit their opponents obvious weaknesses, some players will continue to play the same way and then complain when their opponent is 'playing wrong' when in fact its them who is playing just as bad.
Take this for example: You are an aggressive player with AKs who raised preflop and was called by someone who you know
is a calling-station. You bluff on all streets with pot-sized bets only to lose on the river by the opponent who called you down with 29o and paired their 2 on the flop.
What a donkey, right? Well, yes-I guess you could say he is one. His play is obviously bad, but what about yourself? Do you label yourself a donk just as quick as you label your opponent? Probably not, right? Its probably because you feel like you were playing correctly and making the so-called 'right moves' and your opponent wasn't. However, take a step back and look at what you really did. You tried to bluff a calling station-is that really the best strategy against these types of players? No, right? So, is your play not just as equally bad as your opponents?
"But I had AK and he had 29! I had the better hand and lost!"
This is another thing that I feel needs to be discussed: being result oriented. Many players are too 'best hand' obssessed and they take losing to an inferior hand as a 'bad beat' way too often. What I think some players tend to forget is that poker is a game of decisions-making the right decisions will benefit you more in the long run than making the wrong ones. Losing with AA to much weaker hand will have little effect on your long term game if you've been making the correct desions up that point and afterwards. Its impossible for a single hand to win all of the time and thats something some players need to understand. However, I think some players are tunnel-visioned and sometimes do not think about the long term when facing a recent beat or bad play by an opponent. I'll admit, I sometimes lose focus of the long term goals and become result oriented. Sometimes I'll get upset and tilt for a bit and there is nothing wrong with it. Everyone does it, but the difference is the players who are able bounce back from it. Those who are able to take a beat or a string of beats but still focus on the long term will strive better than those who view poker as hand vs hand situations.
A funny thing about the bad beats is a majority of them are not even bad beats at all. They're just standard losses that are going to occur. Again, this goes back to being 'best hand' obsessed. AK vs 29 is going to lose 30% of the time even though AK is the much better hand. I suggest that some players plug a few random hands into an odds
calculator and you'll see a lot 70/30-60/40 situations. I'm not saying that calling with hands like 29 or worse is a sound play or anything, but this is just an example of being result oriented.
Another thing is the next time you suffer a 'bad beat' and think about calling the opponent a donk or anything else, look over the hand again. And I dont mean look at the results, look at how everything played out. And ask yourself if you've made the correct decision on every street vs this particular opponent. Going back to my example of bad decisions vs a bad player = bad plays by both parties. And if there is anything you did wrong or could have done better, instead of being quick to call someone a donk, improve from it.
I take pride in knowing that I am able to show respect to my opponents, no matter what happens. And I find it very respectful when I see another player at table type 'NH' and 'GG' to an opponent who just beat them in a typical 'bad beat' situation. Not only does it show good sportsmanship, but a lot of character and who they are as a person. Its actually not hard to do and looks so much better than berating a player and calling them names.