Playing the 2NL games isn't all that hard. There's two kinds of players: the total nits who only play absolute monsters, and the total donks who will call you down bet after bet chasing the gutterball. Keeping them apart is vital. But once you figured out which player is which, you will find these ring games to be very profitable. Occasionally you'll be running into someone who knows what he's doing, but that's not all that often.

It's always funny to make a good move against one of the donks and then have them be calling you the fish at the table. Like when I raise preflop with AQ off. I get one caller, and the flop comes 774. So far, the guy had been playing a very weak game. But behold - he donk-shoves into me for a 5.5x pot size bet. I thought for about a second and called all-in. There's no way he could have hit that flop, in which case my Ace high was good. If he'd had a big pocket pair, he'd have raised preflop, and this bet looked very very bluffy. A typical bluff by someone who hasn't the faintest idea about betsizing. He flips over KT - a bluff indeed.

The downside of these tables is that it's often a lot easier to lose big than to win big. Occasionally, the donks chasing whatever it is they're chasing get there, usually after calling 2 or 3 bets. Earlier today I had pocket Kings, made a standard raise preflop, and got one caller. The flop comes 749 and he donk-shoves into me. And no - this was another player at another table. So I call. You can't fold pocket kings to that board. He flips over the 94 off for two pair. As I'm getting ready to throw a tantrum, wondering what in blazes this donkey's doing in the pot, I finally manage to hold onto my stack when the turn comes a King. After all the suckouts in the past week, finally a little bit of justice. And I needed that. I finally got even for the day, as an hour before I'd given away 2 buyins when I had a set of aces and the other guy rivered a full house against me.

As I said - one hand to lose big, several hours of playing rock solid and good poker to grind back to even. The big pots I win are rarely as big as the big pots I lose...