Sunday, February 06, 2005

A few people lately have been writing about why they blog about poker. Last night and today, I've been thinking not about why I blog, but about the effects of said blogging - particularly, the various disclosures I make about myself and other people in terms of styles of play and the like.

I hosted a game at my house last night. (Write up coming soon). My sis-in-law, Manda, had mentioned when it came time for us to sit at the same table that she'd been reading my poker blog (along with my other blogs). When we were involved in one particular hand, I had raised, and she decided to fold, claiming to have known what I was holding, because I wrote about hands like that in my blog. I don't recall the specific hand, but let's just say - she was right.

This morning, I was reading Derek's writeup about the latest Blue Parrot Invitational that he played in. There was a paragraph of scouting report type content, with notes on what he knew about each player's style prior to going into the game. Most people devise such a thing, at least as a mental checklist, prior to playing. I know I do.

In the case of blogged scouting reports, what happens when your opponents start reading your blog, and reading your take on how they play? They may use that information to adjust their playstyles and "fix" any tendencies that might need fixing, or make changes so that their perceived persona matches whatever they actually intended.

In the case of my SIL, she has obviously already started using my blog against me, by taking mental notes on my playstyle and habits and using that information to make decisions at the poker table.

Should this be alarming? Should I stop blogging right now?

After a few moments of thought, I realized that this shouldn't be alarming at all. Not really.

Any information that can be gleaned from a blog - be it info about how I play a hand, or info about how I perceive another player to be playing - that information can also be gleaned from simply watching players play. Anybody that has observed me play a few times can easily tell that I'm generally a tight player. It doesn't take me describing a "top ten hands only" experiment or my conscious effort to cut back on the blackjack hands to give my opponents that impression. Play with me once or twice - you'll be granted the same information, if you are observant.

In the case of spotting opponents' tendencies - well, I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing. If I were to discover an opponent's tell, I sure wouldn't post about it, lest he/she read the post and change his/her ways, but general comments on playstyle: harmless. Those types of comments, again, are just as easily observed playing with that person. You don't even need good observational skills to pick up on if someone is tight or loose, passive or aggressive. The most basic of observations will do.

If my opponents read something about themselves here, and decide to change their ways based on what they read - more power to them. How boring would a recurring game be if you were able to learn everybody's patterns and tendencies, without them ever changing? Part of the skill involved and one of the joys in this game is in reading other players, and those that are serious enough about their game to make adjustments as needed are the ones I want to be playing against, if only for the sheer joy of playing the game at a higher level.

The only thing a blog does is put thoughts and observations in writing. I may inadvertently end up "doing some thinking" for my opponents, and maybe end up pointing out tidbits that they might not have noticed about me on their own. So be it. The people that are observant enough to pick up those tidbits in my blog are the ones I want to be playing with. The inobservant players who may be reading but wouldn't have picked up on my tendencies without the blog probably aren't observant enough to pick them up WITH the blog! So, I'm not worried about them. Those are the players that typically play socially for fun, and probably aren't even reading this.

So - blog away! That's what I say.

1 Comment:

  1. Derek McG said...
    Great post. I often ponder the same thing.


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