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My "Learning to Win at Poker -- Chip by Chip" Diary

In several of the poker books I've read, the authors (all pros) talk about agressive players who often shove all-in on the button -- sometimes without even remembering to look at their cards -- and they win lots of pots this way. But these people are not All-In Morons (ALMs).

First, they only do it on the button, or one off the button when the person on the button is short-stacked or easily bullied.  Second, they only do it when everybody else has folded up to the button (with only the blinds left) or maybe one player has limped in. This is about stealing blinds. And they tend to do it when the blinds have become big enough to be worth stealing.

But the behavior I see online, by what I call All-In Morons, is very different from these real-world button aggressors, and I'm puzzled by it. One thing that puzzles me is that they don't cut it out even when they've built up their stacks, and as a result, usually leave the tourneys pretty early.

I mean, if I managed to bully my way into a top chip position early on (e.g., 6000 or 8000 chips when eveyone else has 1 or 2 thousand) I'd  stop going all in and start playing serious poker. Maybe I'd buy some pots and bully short stacks by making it too expensive to see the flop. But I wouldn't just keep shoving in every hand.

Most of the ALM's never stop -- hence the designation "moron" . They just keep shoving all in and then eventually lose it all -- sometimes within a few hands, as other people actually get some good cards and bravely go up up against them.  And of course the ALMs are often shoving all-in with small junk cards.

So what's up?  It can't be the desire to get to final table because they don't seem to think strategically. I don't suppose they can all be drunk or stoned... so what can they be thinking?

Now I admit sometimes it works up to a point. I was just in an NAPL shootout to get one of those 11-cent tickets. An ALM wiped us all out because he kept getting lucky. I was the final person up against him and I had 55. I knew he was shoving with junk so I figured why not? Who knows when I'll get a high pair or A-K and I have other things to do.

So I called and he had 6-2.  He flopped a 6 and I was gone. But what a chance he was taking!  By the way, earlier on he DID lose a lot of his chips to another player. But did he change his style? No! Did he think, I'd better play some poker so I can survive the shootout?  And had the luck to come back.

Maybe because of the continuous nature of the NAPL freerolls, this particular player uses this particular obnoxious style in these shootouts.

But I've seen this behavior over and over in everything from play money freerolls to real money tourneys with rather big pay-offs.

Why?  Any ideas?

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