Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Defending (sorta) the Bloggers

Time and time again, you see posts from a lot of the notable bloggers (some whom I respect/like a lot) about how terrible the bloggers are at poker and how everyone is such a donkey and how people never get any better, etc etc. Some may alter HHs (I've only heard rumors but I've heard 'em), some may call themselves breakeven, or some may just rant about bad beats all the time... I don't know. Everyone does something different but it really doesn't matter because it's your personal blog right? To an extent, blog is almost like a poker diary. And no one ever tells a teenage girl what she can or can't write in a diary (more power to those that actually have a diary - teenage girl reference is just a play on the stereotype). Same goes for a blog, IMO. Having said that, I am gonna go the other way and defend the bloggers...

Bloggers aren't nearly as bad as everyone make them sound.

Now don't get me wrong. Let me start by saying this. In case you are thinking "finally, someone standing up to defend my great call with TPTK only to get a runner runner flush to bust that asshole's flopped set" this is not such post. As a matter of fact, I generally agree with what a lot of the playas say about bloggers in general. You guys are pretty terrible (not all but many). Seriously. I've seen the plays and though I'm not nearly as successful (read - I suck), at least in MTTs, as many others, hell, most other bloggers, I see the plays that are made and they are horrendous. Ok, stop hating. Please, read on. I swear, I'll explain in a minute.

My point is this. Who cares? For some reason, there's some insane notion that just because you blog about it, you obviously care about it, and so you should be better. According to that theory, we should all be masters of whatever the hell we are interested in. I hear bunch of fat ass 40 something year olds at a sports bar talking about how Tom Brady shoulda done this or shoulda done that on the football field. They clearly care. They clearly have a passion for the game. But are they any good? Probably not. Of course, I realize the analogy is pretty insane but the point is this. Just because people care doesn't mean they care enough to make that a top priority.

Same goes for the bloggers. Just because people blog about their poker escapades, doesn't mean they are good at it. Now, wait. Before you start hating on me, I will be the first to admit that I make horrendous plays too. One time, I got a HH file where I can watch it on a replayer from another player at my table... and watching myself (without knowing what my hole cards were because I didn't remember), I was cringing at how bad I played. I mean literally. I was about to label that player a donkey when I realized it was me. I mean I was raising and folding in situations where it looked like I shouldn't. I was folding to reraises. I was doing this and that. So this is not a "I am high and mighty" post. As a matter of fact, it was an eye opener for me. When you know your cards, you start playing a certain way. You think everything makes sense given your cards. But when you are able to later watch it from a different player's perspective, it's almost shocking what's revealed.

So let's think about this. People blog about poker. They care enough. They want to make more money. Maybe they want to be acknowledged. Instead, their poor plays are highlighted, they become the subject of a rant, they're called lucky if they win, etc etc. It never ends. But in reality, how many of you out there truly care? I mean care enough to comb through your hand histories? Not just the one that's in your selective memory bank but I mean comb through every single one of them. Thinking about them. Spending time discussing them. Willing to really open up to others about hands you felt you misplayed. Admitting your mistakes? Those are all very hard things to do and even for a degenerate like me with an infinite desire to get better, it's hard.

Do you all subscribe to poker training sites? I am assuming not many do. If you do, do you watch the videos regularly? I bet even less people are doing that. I mean in the end, how many people have time for that? Most of you don't have time to devote as much effort into poker and blogging may be the extent of it. I'm fairly certain blogging alone doesn't make you a better poker player. So why the hate on the bloggers? I occasionally browse through forums like 2+2 and pocketfives and there are plenty of haters and just horrendous donkeys there too. I even played in a PXF private tourney the other day... this is a private tourney where people subscribe to tournament vids and yet there were plenty of poor plays. I guess my point is, it doesn't matter what group of people you take. Some are more willing than others to put the time in and some are more able to do so because of how they shift priorities around. Would I be a better player if I decided that my friends aren't important so I never went out or if I thought that working out is overrated so I stopped going to the gym or running or playing basketball? Maybe. But I guess even I am not THAT committed to poker. And hell... I play more and think about poker a lot more than most of you.

Just to illustrate, I am going to pick on one blogger. I consider him a friend and he's been railing me from pretty much the beginning of my blogging career when one day he dropped "hey pokertachi" in the chat box... at a time I didn't even know anyone read my blog.

Meet Schaubs. (and note that this name coulda been replaced by many other bloggers and nonbloggers, like PouringReign, that I know that "care" about poker)

Great guy, great golfer, not so great poker player. As a matter of fact, I will go ahead and say it. He sucks at poker. Some of the plays I've seen him make or the HH he sends me shows how bad some of his plays are. And we let him have it. He takes it in good strides. Ok, so maybe he doesn't totally suck. But I still see some seriously flawed thinking. You know why? Is it because he's dumber than us? He's just not as bright? He has no poker genes? NO!!! It's because he doesn't care like some of us do. He actually has a life. He spends time with his wife and friends. He goes out to play golf. Plays in tournaments (golf tournaments, you crazies), enjoys outdoor life, does other things than combing over HHs. Of course, he sees others play and make money and think "I want to be him" but not enough that he sacrifices some of the other things he does to make him a happy person. And there's nothing wrong with that. He probably even actually works while he's at work while some of us degenerates are "Alt+tab"-ing between some random excel or word file and the text file as we secretly review our HH sessions. (if you don't get the reference, try holding down "alt" key and hit the "tab" key - Windows only).

It's so easy to hate and point and laugh at mistakes at other bloggers because we all play in the same tournaments over and over. But increasing reps doesn't mean increasing skill. I'm fairly certain that I could play 1,000 games of Stud hi/lo. If I don't study it, talk about it, review it, and think about it, I would probably still suck at it as much as I do now... and believe me, I have no clue how to play that game. In the end, there are those bloggers that truly want to improve and actually shift priorities around to make that happen. Then there are others who are just out there to have fun. There are also others who want to get better but doesn't spend nearly as enough time. It's like me going to the gym. I wanna get stronger and bigger. But I don't want to spend 2 hrs at a gym 5 times a week. So I don't. Instead, I do 3 times a week for an hour and it's good enough to maintain what I got but that's about it. And sometimes, even THAT's a pain.

Alright, let's see if I can close this lengthy post. My point is this. The blogger population is no better or worse than the rest of the pokernation. You could take a certain group and you will still see some insanely donkish players, ridiculously passively played hands, or retardedly aggressive moves. I've seen someone play a hand in a way that I think is horrible in a bloggament... but I'll see some other insanity in another nonblogger table. One thing I know is that this group of bloggers have always been nice to me, very open to new bloggers like myself, and whenever I am playing in a blogger tourney while listening to BDR (and the donkalicious rants of Sean, Buddy, Riggs, sometimes EvilWonka, sometimes NumbBlowMe) I am always having fun... of course, until the inevitable suckout by some donkey blogger. :) You know, because I am always ahead and never suck out. (in case you didn't get the sarcasm, see bodog post below)

Some might still argue that bloggers are worse than regular pokernation. Or some might say they are better. I just say that bloggers make a good representative of what the poker population is like in general. Of course, that's just my opinion. And it's my blog so I'll write whatever the hell I want to.

Woot bloggers!
BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM!!!!!!!!!

18 comments:

Shrike said...

Nice post. Almost a rant, but not. And food for thought too.

Alan aka RecessRampage said...

If this comes across as a rant, I am obviously incapable of writing what I meant to write.

The last bit really sums it up and it's not sarcasm. I enjoy the time with the bloggers and this was not a knock on the bloggers in general. As a matter of fact, it was my attempt to say that those who spend time focusing on poker are probably getting better while others are not... which is normal...

WillWonka said...

we are what we are... take us or leave us... hopefully you take us and enjoy the ride.

OhCaptain said...

This is my comment on your blog, I suppose you can take it and delete it. Its your blog.

I think what you said is right on the money. I write my blog because I enjoy it. I hope that no one ever reads my blog looking for the answers to pokers mysteries.

Shrike said...

I think it's very fair to say that poker is a constant learning process and that those players who spend the effort in studying the game away from the tables will ultimately gain an advantage over those who don't ... that is just common sense.

Everything else is just window dressing, really.

Fuel55 said...

I am in an awfully emotionally-charged state after the Ameican Idol final, but this was a hell of a post - the reality is that we shouldn't give a shit about how bad most bloggers play - some of these fish are our friends and so are some of the people that can actually play. Still I find it hard to accept that so few have the gene to excel.

$mokkee said...

bloggah fishees need luv too!

long live the fishees

lj said...

lol at schaubs working ;-)

Evy said...

Tremendous post, Alan. I admire the fact that you felt something needed to be said on this subject, and you said it, regardless of any possible ramifications. I am glad to see so far the feedback has been positive. :)

And LOL @ Smokkee....

cmitch said...

"Fuel55 said...

I am in an awfully emotionally-charged state after the Ameican Idol final,"

Is Fuel ghey?

lucko said...

So what your saying is they are not only terrible, but they are also lazy too. Interesting.

Poker Brian said...

Fish swim together!

Weak Player said...

That is one reason that I had not really put my finger on why I didn't post for more than a year. HH's...all been done before and the only real possible end is that it will expose my true idiocy. I am going to try to stay away from exposing how bad I play sometimes and stick to writing about the process at a higher level. Thanks for a sobering post.

Blinders said...

Wawfuls is in the TOC and wins a month of the BBT3? I think that proves how bad we all are. I mean Wawfuls???? I started blogging only to improve my game, and it did wonders. I don't have the same amount of time to play/study the game anymore, so I stopped getting better a while ago. Still good enough to beat most of you fishies though!

Astin said...

'Tis better to stay silent and be believe a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.

The difference between bloggers and the rest of the donkeys? We talk about it.

lightning36 said...

There is so much ego involved among all poker players, not just bloggers. Doesn't almost everyone involved in a competative activity think they are great?

I chuckle at how some of the bloggers who think they play at an "advanced" level will degrade a move made by one of the "lesser-skilled" bloggers, but if they themselves made that same play, they would defend it as "level 5 thinking."

Some people, imo, take this stuff way too seriously. It is not surprising to see that what could have been an unbelievable blogger gathering this summer has disintegrated in several smaller group meet ups.

There are a good number of really quality people among the bloggers, and I enjoy playing with them and keeping up with their blogs. The people with enigmatic personalities are always good for entertainment on a slow day ...

The Monster Stack said...

Here's my take on this subject. Nice post. http://www.themonsterstack.com/2008/
05/why-i-blog.html
~TMS

Amatay said...

Didn't know me had a bad repuatation??? lol