Confession #4 - I have displayed each and every characteristic trait of the donkey at one point or another.
To truly understand the donkey, I've gone over some player types, but it's also important to explain some of the characteristic traits that these donkeys may display over time.
First and foremost we need to understand that the donkey is a losing player and over time, they may seem to be winning players, but they know that they aren't. You will often see some of the biggest donkeys around, who are sitting on the rail asking to borrow "just 5 bucks" and promising to return it. The rest of the traits I'm going to number 2) on up.
2) Plays too many hands - While some poker players will mix it up and may appear to be loose, the true donkey will often have a very high VPIP from playing too many hands, in or out of position. It's not uncommon to see VPIP in excess of 50 to 60 percent and in extreme cases, you may even see VPIP's up in the 80's.
3) Impulsive and Impatient - This may be a reason for the high VPIP and includes players who just want to get into the hand right away, or they may think that 72o just might hit the nuts.
4) Misreads or Overplays hands - We all have misread the texture of the board, or have overplayed AA on a 789s board, but the donkey does this on a regular basis. One pair is always the nuts.
5) Lack of Skill - this is a trait of most beginning players, but a donkey takes it to the extreme and doesn't even try to improve their game at all.
6) Luck rules over Skill - We all know that luck is short term, but the donkey believes that luck is how poker is won. Once we accept that skill will make you a long term winner, thats one step that can improve your game.
7) Prone to Tilt - We are all prone to tilt, but for some reason, the donkey is easier to tilt and they will play even worse than when they first started playing. The Poker Mindset should be your starting mantra.
8) Chases and Calls too many hands - Once the donkey is in the pot, many of them will call any raise, and will go to the river in belief that they either have the best hand, or they will hit their draw.
9) Won't fold preflop - To the donkey, they just know their hand is going to hit, so they are willing to call your UTG 3 - 5x BB bet with extremely marginal hands.
10) Bluffs too much - The donkey will often use big bets preflop and postflop to get you to fold. They don't care what you have and believe that since most flops don't hit you, that they can take your chips regardless of what's in your hand.
11) Goes all in too much - How many times have you entered a tournament and in the first 5 hands, one player goes all in every single play. They probably read Kill Phil and think it's proper strategy, and sometimes they can build up a huge stack playing this way, but it never lasts. Other reasons for going all in are that they don't understand what they are doing and 22 is the nuts.
12) Any two suited or not - Some donkeys will play any two cards, suited or not, from position, and even out of positon. While some very good players will put in a mix of suited connectors and gappers as a part of their strategy, they do it for value and when the situation is right. The type of donkey that plays any 2 will often hope to hit the disguised monster, and if you show any weakness at all, it does not matter if they hit their hand or not. Expect big raises to start raining down on you.
13) Won't shut up - this trait is actually used by some very good poker players to throw you off your game. Phil Helmuth and Mike the Mouth are infamous for this, but they know what they are doing. The donkey, won't shut up for several reasons... he may be educating you as to his superior skill, or to your inferior play. He may be verbally abusive and insulting just because he can. There are even many more reasons that that, why you can't get them to shut up.
14) Poor skills and table selection - a lot of donkeys either have no skill at all, or they may know a lot, but don't know how to apply what they know. Table selection is another important part of being a winning poker player, but donkeys will pay absolutely no attention to it.
Overall, there are probably several more characteristics and traits that the donkey has or displays. We know that donkeys are losing players, but they don't have to be. If you want to get out of donkeyville, there is a way to do it, but you have to be disciplined and stick to a plan. Take things one step at a time and slowly move towards your goals. Not all of us have the raw skill to be great poker players, but if we can come up with a plan for improvement and actually execute the plan properly, I think we can all move in the right direction towards leaving donkeyville.
There you have it, these are my confessions and I'm committed to becoming a better poker player. A long time ago, I gave advice to a brand new player who wanted to jump right into tournaments and cash play, and the advice was for them to start with Limit Hold Em Sit and Go's and then move on from there.
I started with limit hold em and I have what I feel is a good understanding of Pot Odds, Implied Odds, Probabilities of hitting hands, and of course I use a version of the Sklansky Hand Rankings to play from position. So, I've decided that I will play primarily in Sit and Go's with a buy in based on my bankroll. I also will be working on a plan to succeed in Sit and Go's which includes studying, practicing, and studying some more. Once I've outlined my plan, I'll post another blog about it and please feel free to critique my plan so that i can tweak it if necessary.
Ric, AkA Punky159