Since everyone is breaking out the new calendars, that must mean that we have come upon 2019 and the New Year. It is also a time that people reflect on the year gone by and the year yet to come and try to make some plans. With that in mind, here’s three things that are poker related – resolutions, if you will – that I am going to try my best to uphold over the next 12 months.

Turn Down the Vitriol

If you’re like me, you belong to several poker forums, Facebook pages and chat arenas that allow you to discuss the game. Sometimes these sites can be very beneficial to improving your game and, sometimes…well, let’s just say it is more for an entertainment value. There are those occasions, however, when I add to the entertainment value rather than the educational value with some of my responses.

One of the good things about poker is that there are varied levels of skill involved in the game. For newcomers to the game, they have to find a place where they can ask questions and get solid answers regarding their play. There are, unfortunately, some instances when the questions they ask are so basic that it stretches the credibility of the questioner as to whether they are trolling or they are actually asking a legitimate question.

Here’s an example. Let’s call the person asking the question “Greenhorn Gary,” who asked the gathered poker minds, “I got it in pre-flop holding pocket Aces against 8-7 off suit…the guy caught an eight on the flop and a seven on the river! I was stunned! Is there any way I could have played this differently so I didn’t go bust?”

There are variations of this basic question – “Is there a time to fold pocket Aces pre-flop?” “I had pocket Kings and my opponent had pocket Aces – is there any way to avoid this?” or “I had my pocket Aces cracked by a J-3 after he flopped two Jacks! How can I beat these players?!?!?” – and I can honestly admit that I’ve blown up at the people. No hand is a guarantee to win, no matter how you play it. But these hands in particular are from either newbies and/or trolls who just want to see what reaction they get.

And I have to confess to feeding the trolls.

Sure, there are times when someone who has only been playing for a short time is looking for information. Therefore, I’ve made a vow in 2019 to try to have some patience regarding these people – hey, perhaps they ARE truly perplexed about the situation they were in. They don’t learn anything by being belittled about “how stupid their question is” or “are you serious?” responses. So, I will make the attempt, at the minimum, not to have vitriolic responses to people who might be asking legitimate questions.

“Chump Don’t Want No Help, Chump Don’t Get No Help…”

In the movie Airplane, there are two black gentlemen on the fated plane, with one suffering from food poisoning (hope I am not ruining the plotline for anyone!). Enter actress Barbara Billingsley, the mother on “Leave it to Beaver,” who tells the stewardess “she speaks jive” and proceeds to converse with the man affected by food poisoning. Both men are dismissive of her and her assistance, at which point Billingsley states, “Chump don’t want no help, chump don’t get no help,” or “You’re on your own.”

This is directly applicable, once again, to situations on the Internet. Many times a person will come into a site or Facebook page with a story. They’ll state, “ I was under the gun with 9-3 and raised it six times the big blind. Someone in the cutoff moved all in and I called…he had ACES and beat me! Why couldn’t he lay his hand down to my big raise!?!?!?!”

The next step, for virtually the entire site/page/chat room, is to tell the person they made a bad play. This, for some inexplicable reason, brings a comeback from the person of “Yeah, but it was a SIX TIMES RAISE!” or “What do you know. How many flags you got on your Hendon Mob page?” And the conversation devolves from there…

Sometimes in the game of poker, you make a stupid play. Regardless of your image, regardless of how long it’s been since you played a hand, regardless of ANY EXCUSE YOU MIGHT OFFER, you’re going to make a stupid play. Now sometimes it is good to make a move with a less than quality hand. But don’t be surprised when someone actually wakes up with a monster and crushes you…and don’t be surprised when you find very little sympathy for your stupidity in poker discussions, especially if you defend it to the death. Just accept that you made a bad move, learn from it and move on.

Play the Game…

As always, to be able to talk about the game, you have to play. That’s something that I’ve been neglecting over the past couple of years. Because of the dearth of online play available, I haven’t exactly been online extensively and maintaining my skills. Although I have several card rooms to play at around me, I just haven’t become a fixture in the arena. Those are things I’d like to resolve to change in the coming year.

The worst part about playing actively nowadays is the financial commitment. If you’re going to play tournaments, then you have to be able to weather the storms of the game, especially with virtually every poker tournament nowadays being a rebuy/reentry tournament. What happened to the classic freezeout? It might be better to go with cash games as you can set your win/loss levels and determine when and how long you want to play. Haven’t exactly given this a great deal of thought but will be in the near future.

What are YOUR Plans?

Before you enter a new year, it’s always a good idea to have a plan. Whether you’re playing for fun or for a profession, it is important to know what approaches to take. So, what are YOUR plans for 2019?

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