Don’t You Be a Donkey

I have a pewter statue of a cute little donkey that I sometimes take to poker tournaments as a card protector. His name is, ‘Don Chabea’ donkey. He is to remind me, ‘don’t you be a donkey.’ Well, you can be a donkey in several ways in poker: over confidence, making bad plays, misreading an opponent, and forgetting to tip the cocktail waitress. With experience these instances should become rare, if not nonexistent. One would think that, given my experience I would be immune to playing like a donkey. But NOOOO, I am somewhat embarrassed to admit that I recently committed all of these errors in perfect donkey-like form.

While Don Chabea was sitting happily on my lovely woman’s desk at home, I was off playing in a wonderful little series of tournaments in Reno, Nevada called the Pot O’ Gold. Less than ½ hour into the event, I was out playing my opponents and had the second biggest stack at my table. I had just ordered a bottle of water (I rarely drink alcohol during poker tournaments) from the cocktail waitress when I was dealt A J of diamonds.

An early position player raised the pot about 3 times the blind. As you know from my previous articles I recommend that you throw that hand away against an early position raiser but did I do that, NOOO. I was so over confident (I had just taken second place money in the last event I had played in this series) that I could out play him after the flop that I called his raise. Donkey play number one.

The flop came J 6 4 rainbow. My opponent bet the flop, I smooth called. Argg, that’s donkey play number two. It is important to define your hand. How am I going to know if he has an over pair if I don’t raise?

The turn was a six, four different suits on the board. My opponent checks, I think my hand is good so I bet about 2/3 the size of the pot. He calls. Red flags should be waving, lights and sirens saying: warning, warning, should be going off in my head. He must have some kind of good hand, but the donkey is sleeping in an unobstructed stupor.

The river is another six, making me a full house. My opponent moves all in. What does this mean? Well, he was aware that I had ¾ of my chips in the pot, I was pot committed so he was pretty sure I would call and yet he moved all in. What could he have? He could have an under pair, but the Jack on the board didn’t scare him at all, so is that likely? No. He must have an over pair. A call is my tournament life, he has just a few chips more than I, but I’m pot committed. What should I do? Fold you donkey! You know you’re beat, the blinds are low, you can make a come back. With a loud Hee-Haw, I call and push the rest of my chips into the pot.

I have sixes full of jacks and he has sixes full of queens. The man outplayed this over confident donkey. Donkey play number three. When you KNOW you are beat, lay your hand down.

I smiled, laughed at myself, as I humbly congratulated the man who had outplayed me so perfectly. Yes, he kicked my ass. I left the casino. As the fur on my back slowly laid flat again I began thinking of having a nice meal of oats and hay. That made me thirsty and I remembered the bottle of water I had ordered and the cocktail waitress wondering around looking for me. Donkey play number four.

So what have we learned here today?
1. Always define your hand.
2. Never be over confident, the poker gods will notice.
3. Always muck your hand when you KNOW you are beat.
4. Never wear your underwear on the outside of your pants.
5. Always find and tip the cocktail waitress when you order a drink, even if you bust out. It’s the polite thing to do, don’t ya be a donkey.

So until next time, remember the number one thing in poker is to have fun and enjoy it. It’s not whether you win or lose that counts; it’s whether I win or lose.


Dr. Hope, J.A.P.D
(Just A Pretend Doctor)

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