Catchy title huh? I have been on PSO skill league now for a couple of months, and I truely believe it stands for Poker Suck Out skill league. There are thousands of players that agree with me. Whether they have seen it, been truely sucked out on a seemingly impossible number of times, ending their tourney life, or just think that some people have all the luck, I can assure you there is a viable way to destroy these player's reign of terror. First off, the PSO teaches you that consistent good playing will prevent you from being sucked out on a majority of times. Sure, if your opponent follows the same guidelines, no prob, this is 100% true. But if your opponent is a true animalistic poker player, this amounts to nothing more than a line of bull. First off- definitions so there are no confusions- The donk - Think of the donkey in Shrek, loudmouthed, stupid, and usually saved by something hitting the green skin(felt). They play any two cards, generally connectors and/or suited, generally A anything. This is your Loose Passive player, calls 35% of the hands dealt initially, and can increase to as much as 90% when the large stack at the table, and will then incorporate small to medium raises. The Monkey- Some one who has been trained to do two things, slide the bar all the way to the right, and hit enter. Monkey's are frail things in the beginning of a tourney. But are extrememly dangerous if they catch 2 or 3 times in succession, for then they have a padding, and you dont if you call. This is your player that fluxuaties between Loose Aggressive, and Loose Passive, staying more on the aggression side if they have a semi decent hand. The Fish - Some one who is just plain unknowledgeable. Raises when should of fold, folds when should of called, calls when should of raised etc. Difficult to discern from the donkey, as these type of players fluxuate between all 4 types of players on a random basis. Typically though, if you are losing to this player, it is simply the luck aspect, and will eventually pass. Can also be known as a calling station that shows very little aggression. Not dangerous if chip stack gets large, as they do not know how to hold onto it, other than to not play. The bird- A little known poker term. A bird is someone who is constantly chatting. In live games this is done to distract other player's thought processes from completion, and make them raise more than they should, or give away a tell, or some other information. Obviously only certain elements apply to an online situation, but the goal is the same. This is to passively needle you off your game, and pay more attention to what they are yakking about, rather than what you are trying to discern from the table. ------------------------------------------------------- So how do remove yourself from falling prey to these wild animals of the poker kingdom? Just as with anything else in life, it depends on your situation. To counter a Donk: Sadly, the only way you are going to really counter a donk is to PLAY like one. Sure, you can wait for good cards, and hope that the donk doesnt catch on the turn or river, but chances are if you are reading this, you know as well as I do that thought goes right out the window, more often than you'd like. A donk will instinctively play hands that have only MARGINAL chances at winning, and fold to clear instances where they are beat in most cases. This prevents their loss of chips for the next time when you shove all in, and they call because they have donked out 3 other people since they last folded to you. If you are up against a donk that has less than a 2/3 lead over your chips, and they start raising on most of their hands, call with utterly stupid crap. I mean stuff your toe jam wouldn't even touch. Play it in position, out of position, whatever, but try to get the donk isolated. Beware of the 3rd person that actually catches a hand too. If they have the better hand, get out of the way and let them steamroll the donk, or make them fold or whatever. The key to starting this is to have enough chips to call, or only call until you are at a point to where you have to work some chips out of the other players before you can try choking the life out of the donkey again. Go back to playing normally for a bit, and avoid the call station if possible. Another way to avoid getting beat by a donk, is to pay attention. If the player that you are in the hand with is the donk of the table, and after the turn or a bet by you depending on position, they magically shove all in, I don't care if you're holding AA. If you dont have the BEST possible hand on the board by that time, and/or there is a possibility of a flush or straight, no matter HOW unlikely that they are holding the cards for that straight, fold. The reason for this is, even though you have AA, and lets say there's 4d 7c Jh Ad on the board. You have virtually weak odds to improve. However if your opponent is holding 56 of diamonds, guess what... they have a flush AND an open ended straight draw. Giving them a SIGNIFICANT amount of odds and outs. Not enough to really shove all in vs. AA, but that is generally inconsequential, and the object of your rage after you have called and they hit it, knocking you out of the tourney. So general things to remember when trying to kill a donkey: DONT get involved all in pre-flop with and overstacked donkey. Your trying to kill the thing, not feed it. DONT count on your better hole hand to save you post flop if you dont have the nuts DONT assume that your donk target, however ridiculious, has a so-so hand. They are calling you for a reason. DO use check behind, check turn, and EXTREMELY careful slowplay. DO anything to throw a wrench in their playing habits DO use strip mining tactics, come right back for more, after you barely eek out and out donk them. DO laugh hysterically when you kill one, and they call YOU the donk. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ To Kill a MONKEY: Killing a monkey is actually easier than killing a donk, with a few exceptions. A monkey will generally wait for a semi-strong or strong hand, and uses more selection in the hands they play than a donk does. There are 3 kinds of shove monkeys: 1 - Angry Ape 2 - Wiley Orangutang 3 - Comedic Chimpanzee Or Ape, Tang, and Chimp Out of the three you would immediately think that the Tang is actually the most dangerous, but its not. The chimp is actually the most dangerous. Angry Ape- This is someone who has built up a considerable stack by luck or attrition, and starts shoving. They will continue to shove until the object of their rage calls and loses, usually pacifying itself until they get restless again. Obviously this is a high burn out factor. But more often than it SHOULD happen, the Angry Ape gets its way. To combat this, let their ire settle until they are starting to doubt whether or not they should be shoving in everyhand, and then play a good hand against them, and hope they shove at the point where you have a dominant position over them. Wiley Tang - This is someone that only shoves when in their best intrest to do so. Otherwise known as an overplayer, this is someone who seriously overplays their hand, or made hand post flop. Their favorite cards are scare cards, even if they are scare cards for them too. The easiest way to beat this Tang is much like the donkey, call when you have the nuts, and only the nuts. Play cards that may give you and advantage Comedic Chimp - The most dangerous of the 3. This is someone that will randomly shove all in, usually while flinging poo at you in the chat box. Or they will bet weird amounts of chips, anything out of the ordinary to distract you. Their goal is to set you off balance any way they can. Similar to the bird in nature, except they are looking to take you off balance just long enough that you make the mistake at the right time. They are more aggressive than the bird, but do not chat as much, and most of it is usually insultive. To combat this, turn off chat, treat them like an angry ape. Taking on a monkey can also give you nasty contageons too. Like AIDS.... All In Desperation Syndrom, where you have to regain your e-peen because they just halved your stack. Or even worse, you become an Angry Ape yourself. Their is a hybrid version of this too, called the donkmonkey. This is generally not someone you need to worry about as they only exist in the first 5 levels of the tournament. If you happen to run into someone shoving all in on any two cards repeatedly, and when called, they still win. Simply protect your stack, fold unless AA or KK, possibly QQ if you feel lucky yourself, and remove yourself from their playground. Remeber not to shove against them... EVER, even with AA. You have no reason to shove. It very well could be their holding a K, and the flop gives them a set of K, or 2 pair, and you would then be out. If they re-raise to you all in, again, that is strictly your call, but think about their track record... did they just win the previous hand? How many hands in a row have they won? What did my opponents throw? If your opponent instantaneously folds or folded prior to your bet, probably not an A. If your opponent hesitated or called the first time around, You can bet it was an A, K, or Q they had and threw it because the kicker was crappy. All of this and more should be going through your head prior to calling. Most often discretion is the wiser part of valor, and living to fight another day after someone else takes the risk to cut them down, then you can just out play them. Most of the hybrid donkmonkeys dont survive past the 5th level of the tournament simply because either they have a sufficient stack that they can sit out with, or they are eliminated by other players that had similar stack sizes prior to tangling with them. Either way, the donkmonkey is out of your hair. ---------------------------------------------------------- The fish- This will be a relatively short section as there is really only one thing to do to beat a fish. (Besides not playing against them of course) That is to outmaneuver them. Only play them in position, use check raises, check behinds, all the advanced poker crap you've been studying. It is HIGHLY effective against them, and they will NEVER see you coming in the end. But don't throw out luck on their part. If they suddenly raise you, and its possible you no longer have the best hand, dont be an idiot and call, fold. Yes it sucks, and it's not right, but remember, they didnt all of a sudden learn that a bluff raise can stop your forward momentum. It means they just overtook whatever hand they put you on, which most of the time is top pair, or some painted cards. A hidden set, or 2 pair is great, in addition to the actually chasing your nut flush or nut straight to mine chips out of them. Just remember not to push to hard. If you scare away a fish, you may miss out on chips later as they will be scared of you until they come back with a monster hand your not expecting. --------------------------------------------------------------- The bird- Most of the chat that goes on in PSO is harmless. People like to chat, talk about actual strategies, etc. etc. But the thing is, if you give away a strategy, doesn't that hurt your game? Not always. After you give away a strategy, do the exact opposite of it. Even if it makes no sense to you, your now informed opponent is expecting a certain response. For example, you say you like to play Q9 suited, or small suited. They will be anticipaiting that you quite possibly have those type of cards. If there is a Q9 on the board or flush draw, do a small bet or raise. If they fold, oh well, no biggie. If they call or re-raise, be wary, which means that whatever they are holding, it trumps what you like to play. Strategy is a two way street. If you remember that, and can on occasion do the exact opposite of what you talk about when the opportunity presents itself, this type of animal won't bother you much, and can be fun to chat with to a certain extent. Just be sure not to give away all your secrets, unless you are prepared to mix it up a little. You can even go the extra mile and actually play your hand in position, when you know it is a clear loser, if you can keep your losses to a minimum. (less than 5% of your stack) This goes a long way to reinforce the fact that you like that hand SOOO much, you think it is the the winner. Then come back with a straight and allieviate your unsuspecting opponent of their chips. This is also known as the Long Bluff. (Think of Mel Gibson in Maverick, and the poker game in the bar, he loses for an hour, and then removes them of their winnings and stacks) ------------------------------------------------------------------------ But the general thing is this... if you are losing to these animals, your poker game is NOT as good as you think it is. That is something that YOU will have to come to terms with, and be honest with yourself about. You may of played your hand right, been in the right position, and put your self at an optimum trajectory to aim for the stars, but if the moon is in the way, the moon is in the way, and if you didnt account for that possibility, well, you deserve to crash into it. In other words, minimal risk for maximum reward. If you are not repeating this and "They call too often" when attempting to go toe to toe with these animals, you may find that you have less hair than you previously did. At the same time, don't sell yourself short either. If you played the cards and position right, but didn't read the player right, you know what you need to work on. You need a different strategy to take out these non conforming sloppy players. If that means you have to fold AK suited to them preflop because you haven't found the chink in their armor... so be it. Never be afraid to needle an animal either. In fact, I encourage it. Just do it respectfully, and point out painful obvious points, with comments such as, "Just sit out now that your ahead, and for the love of god go buy a few dozen lottery tickets" Or "Hey can I come over there and _____ you for some luck?" Even so far as, "Man, that's it, I am just folding unless it's AA or KK, and I am gonna slowplay it so i don't lose everything to crap" My favorites right now are, "You're the luckiest fisherman ALIVE!!! *sings* You get a line and I'll get a pole dar....lin!!!" or "Can you let someone else get the cards, or do you enjoy playing with yourself?" The general thing is, if your and others' card playing is proving ineffectual against the animal, you have to take a different approach. Usually I find that the positive reinforcement of amazement at how lucky or feigning that I think an obvious donk is skilled, is a great way to overinflate their upswing, and then grind them into hamburger when the opportunity arises. Yes it sounds completely sneaky and deceptive, but this isn't bridge... THIS.... IS.... POKER!!!!! *snarl* *kick into abyss* Thanks for reading all!