Inside The Heads of Donkeys
So, why not start posting again? Might as well jump right in...
I was playing in a Matrix SNG the other day when I had an interesting thought at the end of a match.
I started headsup against my Ironman opponent, who had a little better than a 2-1 chip lead on me. Blinds were medium-uncomfortable, and he was putting in small button raises often. After several of these, I decided to make a Kill Phil-type stand by shoving with 75clubs. Ironman instacalled with aces, only to see me flop a 7 and hit runners for a straight. Behold the power of cheese.
What followed was a chat-barrage of OMG DONKEY LOL. I proceeded with a smiley face in chat and some aggression with my new chip lead. I ground him down, and he lost.
So my opponent was mad at me, and belittled my poker play and skill. I don't mind that. I had my reasons for playing back at him. Generally the plan is that he folds his KTo (or whatever he's got) and is subsequently a little less aggro towards my big blind. Mission accomplished. This time, I ran into aces, but still prevailed. Hooray for luck.
The take-home point to all of this was that I was surprised that my opponent immediately focused on my cards. He didn't bother to consider what I was thinking, when I believed it was a good idea to reraise all-in with seven high. He instantly launched into a diatribe about my stupidity instead of trying to get inside the head of the donkey who he was still playing. "Ok, that was a bad move, one I wouldn't make. But why did he do it? What was he considering? Was he frustrated with my raises? Tired of playing headsup? Was he reacting to my play? How did he perceive me?"
Donkeys have reasons behind their play. They are often flawed reasons, but those reasons are valid to that donkey, at that time.
I have no time or energy to devote to getting mad at plays, or players, that I consider bad. I want players to make mistakes against me, to put their money in badly. There's also a chance that I can learn something from the donkey play. In this particular case, perhaps Ironman would see it's sometimes useful to reraise a button raiser with certain hands. If I can get into the head of the donkey, I can take advantage of the same mistake later. Being a 75% favorite can't always end in a suckout.