Thanks again to all posters and lurkers to my site. It's a real buzz seeing the feedback, especially from folks who keep on coming back. My advice is to check out the comments yourselves; I’m certainly getting a lot from them. And beside my own personal self-aggrandizement, that's what this is all about :-)
Two direct questions from old sparring partners on THM and elsewhere - Chaos and Redsimon. Chaos, I don’t keep direct track of rake except for limit holdem. And as I'm playing a lot of PLO8b (and previously PLO) a rake figure cannot be done. In limit my rake is probably in line with any ring game winning player, i.e. a lot but not quite as much as short handed. I still seem to be winning the prediction :-)
Red, I'm not playing off a huge stack by some people's standards - certainly not Aksu's :-) I have just over $35k floating around either in dollar accounts or sites and I'm mostly leaving it in them, although I am following Rolf S's secondary bankroll scheme. If P T means tournaments then truth be told, beside some SnG action, I'm mostly cash only of late. I have played less than 70 proper tournies this year, which by most online standards is tiny.
The topic for today was sparked off by a comment by Andy Ward on THM saying that cash players have to have a "...ruthless streak. Let me expand on the last one - you have to be able to take someone for everything they've got, goad them into borrowing money they don't have, and then take that as well, leaving them in the gutter, then go home, look yourself in the eye in the mirror and sleep the sleep of the just." Now Andy was exaggerating to make his point but this stereotype does exist. The Victoria Casino in London is renowned for creating the grinding pro who treats everyone as grist to his mill, treating strangers and losing players as “stars” to be mocked whilst being financially dismantled.
I can remember playing in a cash game in the Vic once, where on just sitting down in a short handed game I was check raised out of the only significant pot played in 5 minutes. Then the table charge was due and everyone sat out, talked amongst themselves and the game broke up, myself several hundred pounds lighter. It was clear that everyone else at the table knew each other and no one said a single word to me. I do not for one second believe that anything was amiss, just what a typically foolish reaction of the players there, not knowing I was the biggest fish to flop on their plates in some time, not to engage in some common, decent courtesy.
My view has always been that whilst the actions of the game should be undertaken without fear or favour, there is plenty of room for the human touch, humour, good spirit and friendliness. I try to keep the game light hearted. Many times I have told players that through their “cards spoken” that they have beat me, when they haven’t noticed it themselves, sometimes for serious money. Last year, in one of my very rare live appearances, I had a terrible run in a cash game. In a holdem pot I hit runner-runner flush to lose to a higher one. In the same game, I had the nut straight and top trips in a PLO8b hand vs bottom trips and a str8 wrap and was scooped. To be fair I had played poorly as well, but I was feeling somewhat despondent as this was a “guest” live appearance and not likely to be repeated too soon. The best part of a grand down, I had money in my pocket still, but decided enough was enough. I then went round and individually congratulated and shook the hands of the guys who had bust me, wishing them well.
The fact is that any kind of winning player, certainly in pot limit games where the pool of players and potential players is very limited, must accept that it is much better for players to “like” losing to them than to fear or dislike them. For most losing players Poker is a recreation, it must be felt to be enjoyable and they must “get something” from it. It is far more profitable, and fun for all concerned, for them to get a feeling of camaraderie and entertainment, than sly looks and “see you next time” grins.