Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Don't be that Guy: An introduction to the "Kruger Complex"

We all know that guy. Unfortunately, most of us have been that guy even if only for a moment). But let me urge you.....DON'T BE THAT GUY!!! In case you are wondering to which guy I am referring, it is the guy that bitches and complains that the game is rigged and yet continues to play anyway. He will swear that the game is rigged, speak knowingly about the "Doomswitch" and try to utterly convince you that the poker site that he plays at deliberately rigs the deck, just to keep him from bankrupting every player on the site and thus ruining their business. Their arguments are sincere, numerous and ultimately, retarded. This kind of mindset not only taxes your emotional bankroll and limits your ability to accept the realities of, and therefore improve your game, but it also proves to everybody around you that you are, indeed, a total douche bag.

Lets start by looking at their arguments and pointing out the stupidity of each in turn:

"Everytime I get all in and am ahead, somebody hits a 4 outer to beat me! This game HAS to be rigged!!!"

This is the most common one. This generally develops from two main shortcomings. One is the general disability of the people dumb enough to believe this shit to accurately figure out the outs that beat them. They also tend to believe that if they are ahead, they deserve to win. The other main reason that this theory stays around is the phenomenon of SELECTIVE MEMORY. The brain doesn't usually bother to register the 3 times out of 4 that AK holds up against AT (that's right, you should only win that 3 times out of 4 so quit your bitching. It is not a guaranteed win.) That is the expected result so your brain doesn't bother to take much notice. It will, however, go bat shit crazy when it fully expects to win and doesn't. The rush of adrenaline, mixed with shock, anger, diappointment, and then some more anger (not to mention the deep seeded psychotic, murderous rage directed at the galloping donkey that beat you) is a pretty potent cocktail of mnemonic devices. No wonder you remember every single bad beat. Of course it seems like you always get sucked out on. In your memory it is 100% true, but in reality the universe tends to work itself out as it should, and you, even in all your poker glory, are no exception.

My next favorite theory is the "deep" one that provides the motivation for the site to cheat you. I mean, every murder (especially of a bankroll) has to have a motive. The motive, the pundits say, is that the poker sites want to keep the fish around, to keep them contributing rake to the site. In order to keep the fish from going broke, they have to take money from the "good" players to keep the fish in the game. They do this through bad beats. This argument is stupid for many reasons. First of all, fish are fish for a reason. They will keep coming back. Period. Have you ever known somebody that thought that they were good at poker just give it up? No. Nor will they. They may take a break for a couple weeks to raise the cash for another deposit, but after they grab some cash from mom's purse, they will be right back. The sites know this. Another debunker for this asinine theory is that it is always the douche bag that is down to the felt that is the biggest proponent of this theory. The only problem is, he is the argument against his argument. If the sites are doing this to share the wealth and keep everybody in the game, why do they keep busting you? Because they know you will come back. Saddle up to the hook and have another worm Mr. Fishy....

Another one of my favorites is that there are just too many big hands online as compared to live. It's just not possible. So the Poker sites must be stacking to deck to make hands more exciting. My response to this is simple. You probably haven't played enough live games or you are a total fucking moron. First of all, you are going to see more large hands while playing online. Even if you are only playing 1 table online, you will still see almost twice as many hands an hour as compared to live play. So if you would see one unusual hand in an hour live, you would see one on average every half hour or so online. Now keep that in mind and factor in that most players are playing anywhere from 2 to 24 tables. If you don't see something weird pretty often, you should be concerned. Not to mention, those bumbass bad beats happen live as well. Just last week Lorin and I went to the local casino. We were playing at a pretty loose $1/2 game and on my fifth or sixth hand I raised with 99. Got 2 callers. Flop came 9 6 4 with 2 spades. I bet $25 and get one caller. The turn card is a beauty...4 of spades. I have the top full house and if that guy was drawing for a flush, he just got there. I check, he bets $35 and I just smooth call. The river is the 7 of spades. I bet, he raises, I shove, he calls and tables 44 for a turned set of quads. Fifth hand at the table. I didn't even have to work my way up to that kind of ass whooping. I just laughed. That is poker and it goes to prove that stupid shit happens live. It happens all the time (maybe someday I will tell you about Frenchy and the "one-out-mouth-piss hand").

The reason that it is so important to not be that guy is that you won't really progress in your game if you find shit to blame your results on. Variance is part of the game. As it is in life. I think that one of the things that draws most of us tho this game is that it is so similar to life. You can do everything right and bad stuff can still happen to you. As a matter of fact, it is guaranteed to happen to you. Poker should be teaching you how to deal with those things, not teach you to write it off on some imaginary admin behind a curtain somewhere who is laughing his ass off trying to get you (see pic above, to see how stupid this is). I have seen that truly intelligent and very gifted poker players that hit a wall in their development because they either don't accept the leaks in their game because they don't see their losses being due to leaks, or they live their lives in a perpetual state of TILT because they sit down at the table believing the world is against them and they are going to lose. And they do. It is a self fulfilling prophecy. So for that reason, don't be that guy. You are wasting your time trying to advance in the game if you will let yourself fall into that kind of trap. Also, don't be that guy because it is fucking annoying.....

If you have any other theories on this, we would love to hear them. Both the silly shit that people say to prove the sites are rigged, or the multitude of realities that debunk them. Personally, I could have written for another hour or two on this but I am a little tired of being sober at the moment, so I am going to take care of that.

Hope to hear from you all on this and good luck at the tables (and away from them as well.....)


microstakes bankroll builder said...

i think the one thing you fail to mention is that sometimes we all love to moan about how cruel the game is to us, and recount our stories, maybe its a little theraputic or something.

for non high volume players, or for someone trying out a higher level, a series of bad variance can be especially crushing, in the same way that variance in the good direction can make someone delusional and lose even more money in the long run.

arnold snyder talks about the live circuit and the drooling pleasure that many guys get talking about the bad beat jackpot. fair enough.
but i agree, if you want to seriously progress, you have to get over yourself. and i think this is the truest and most dangerous form of tilt, as a feeling of injustice from the world will secretly wreck your clarity of mind when making decisions

microstakes bankroll builder said...

ps that is a cool image

Roenan said...

The other thing that people forget when they complain is the randomass bad beats they throw on people. You forgot that time where you called some guys all in with bottom pair on the flop because you 'had him' and he had you dominated but you runner runnered a straight etc. Years ago before I had realized what you pontificated on in your article, I was intellectually stumped at the idea that the best player didn't win. I mean I 'knew' that AK lost to A10 1 out of 4 times, but if was the in the hand that wasn't supposed to happen because I was better. It took a long time and many a hard work earned bank roll (only to have one bad day of anger) destroy it until I finally learned the lesson that shit happens and you just have to move on, getting stuck in the past gets you moving in the wrong direction of the future you want.

moronist said...

I agree with you Travis. That is no different that the guy that claims to have a BAD month and still win $5000. The same douchebag exists in that scenerio.

Lorin Yelle said...

What a coincidence! Mr. Kruger decided to weigh in on this topic himself!

Mr. The Moronist (Mr. Kruger, we know it's you). I am sorry that your recent results have been sub-par. I am even more sorry that you are typing this retort from your mother's 386DX in her basement. Even still, you question my results. But that is a good point...why should anyone believe the results I post here? I could just open photo-shop, punch a few buttons and voila...a $9,500 month!!!

Don't get me wrong, I understand, I truly do. I offered to let you come to my house and check my data-base, but you declined because I could fudge those results. I wanted to let you check pokertableratings.com, but hey, I might have a stake in that site, right? I even offered to let you sweat me for a 3:1 prop bet that I could make $2,000 in one week playing only $1/2 BEFORE rakeback (because rakeback isn't REAL MONEY, after all [it doesn't spend of course ;) ]), but you still declined.

Nope, the sites are rigged, and that is why a very average player can't win, right?

So once I again, I put forth my prop bet. I will offer 3:1 odds that no other short stacker can touch my win rate at Full Tilt for 100k hands. Yes, Mr. Kruger, this is directed at you. You have attacked me at every turn, and this is your chance to take me down. Are you up for the challenge, or are you content spewing invectives with a red face from your mother's basement?

Travis "The Dirrty" Rose said...

oooooohhhhh a challenge. This is getting good.....

Travis "The Dirrty" Rose said...

I knew we shouldn't have gone drinking last night.....wait... actually I do believe that was my idea.

Anyway, to let our loyal readers into what is going on between our own Short Stack Hero and the Moronist (a.k.a. Mr. Kruger from the afore mentioned Kruger Complex), we ran into Mr. Kruger (a very affable and cool guy I might add) last night at our local watering hole. After a long and eventually heated discussion, a gauntlet was thrown down. It seems that Mr. Kruger disputes the veracity of Lorin's winning ability, saying that it isn't possible, the sites are rigged, rake to too hard to overcome, etc. for anybody less than a superstar to actually make money. Now I like Mr. Kruger, always have. I did warn him last night however that he was sounding both incredibly naive and bitterly cynical at the same time (which is hard to pull off). He was starting to sound like a woman that had a string of bad relationships, so then decides that all men are pieces of shit. The only common denominator for both that woman (and her string of bad relationships) and out friend Mr. Kruger (and his inability to sustain profit) is them.
Anyway, that is how the little challenge was born. Just wanted to keep out loyal readers in the loop...
I say, Let the Games Begin!

Lorin Yelle said...

Q: How you get a professional poker player off your porch?

A: Pay Ronnie for the pizza!

moronist said...

Sham Wow! I can't wait till Lorin "Rebel" Yelle comes out with his book on how he made millions playing low stakes poker. I'm sure it will eventually top Don Lapre's "Money Making Secrets" before too long on the New York Times best-seller list.
I've got an early excerpt from the book, and it goes like this:

Poker Loser (anyone not named Lorin): Why would you limp in with AK UTG and then reraise all-in?

Lorin "Rebel" Yelle: I was planning on going all-in anyway. You just fell into by genius trap.

Poker Loser (anyone not named Lorin): How did you know I had K6 off suit and not a much better hand?

Lorin "Rebel" Yelle: Cause I can read people's souls and I never make a mistake.

Poker Loser (anyone not named Lorin): This is not fair. I think the fact that you are so good is a travesty!

Lorin "Rebel" Yelle: This also has a lot to do with an angel named Travis T. (not travesty) Shill that puts his hand on my shoulder when I am in a big pot and brings me magical success.

Poker Loser (anyone not named Lorin): Sham Wow! I guess I'll just wait in line like the rest of us saps for your best seller to be published. I should have known better than to get involved in a pot with a self-proclaimed Short Stack Hero.

Lorin "Rebel" Yelle: Nothing personal. Just consider yourself lucky to have learned such an important poker lesson at a discounted price.

Travis "The Dirrty" Rose said...

@ Moronist....
lol....that was pretty good. I am looking forward to Lorin's retort.

BTW...Am I Travis T?

Lorin Yelle said...

Mr. Kruger (Ronnie, please stop hiding behind that monniker)

I am a little bit confused by your hostility. Does it come from the fact that you don't believe that short stacking is a winning strategy, or that I am the one doing this? We have played together in the past and you had nothing bad to say about poker skills at the time, though you had argued against me vehemently trying to push the idea that one can not be a professional poker player if he values rakeback and bonuses as an important part of his income. Or that my friend squirrely1 is not a professional tournament player because he gets backing for his buy ins.

I don't know what about all of these concepts makes you so gosh darned angry, but I have given you the chance to prove your point, and you declined me at every opportunity. If I am losing player or created this whole site as a smoke screen, you should be happy to take me up on a prop bet. That would be free money, right?

Or are you concerned that I wouldn't be able to make good on my bet after I lose? After all, I drive three miles out of my way to score a few free cigarettes right? Or I go to a bar to get some free chili. Are we to assume to that everyone else present at the Nugget Chili Cookoff was unemployed and broke? Maybe I just like chili!

Also, I don't feel the need to monitor their banking statements or follow them to work every day for 6 months (as you wanted to do to me) to make sure they are gainfully employed and making what they say they make.

Ronnie, if you hate the material I write, please stop reading. You are wasting your time, because it's all just a hoax. Yes, the Short Stack Hero is one gigantic long running prank. I have photo-shopped my results, paid off the people at pokertableratings.com to inflate my results, created a fictitional person named Travis (and borrowed a pic of some fat dude from Rotten.com), stole a pic from the DMV and altered it, claiming it was me, and even programmed a bot with really good English skills and made it write all these posts.

Are you happy now?

Travis "The Dirrty" Rose said...

Why the hell did my picture have to be of a "fat guy from rotten.com".

There is no need to bring me into this, I am and innocent bystander....
(and apparently, imaginary)

Lorin Yelle said...

On second thought, here is how I wish things would have gone with the Moronist:

Being that we had previously been on good terms, the confrontation could have easily taken a different turn of events. Here is how I wish it would have gone:

Ronnie: Lorin, I've been reading your blog and must admit that I am pretty skeptical of your results.

Lorin: I'm not suprised- I am actually surprised that more people aren't. Short stacking gets a pretty bad rap by people, but few really take the time to even understand it, or really apply it well.

Ronnie: So what is your system?

Lorin: I wouldn't call it a system, but rather a strategy. It's definitely not what I would call a paint-by-numbers route to poker success, though it is definitely much easier to learn and apply than full stack poker.

Ronnie: Any way I could watch you play some time?

Lorin: I've got no problem with that. What's your schedule look like tomorrow?

Would that really have been that difficult? Sham Wow, I think not! However, I will still do anything I can to goad you into a prop bet. The best thing about being a poker player is that I never have to deny that it is about anything other than the money! ;)

moronist said...

Travis, even though you bashed me in the post, I have nothing but love for you and find you to be a very intelligent, insightful and enjoyable person to be around. Lorin, on the other hand, is also very intelligent and understands the game of poker extremely well.

Lorin, first and foremost, I have NO desire to become a professional poker like I aspired to years ago. And it stems from the fact that the game for me is very time consuming and not worth it to me to barely make a profit with all the hours I have logged in. And yes, I consider a poker pro to be someone who STRICTLY makes his money from the game, something I admit for ME will NEVER be the case. And sorry if you misunderstood me, but rakeback, bonuses, etc. are all essentials to the winning player and need to be exploited fully. Also, if someone is backed, that person to is wise to play at little or no risk to his own bankroll.

And using a short stack strategy of hit-and-run or limited risk at any particular table is perfectly fine by me. I say this because years ago when offshore SPORTS BETTING was in its infancy and I had a few accounts, I exploited the variance in their lines to make a profit. It did not matter which team won, I would take BOTH sides on the money line and regardless of the outcome, my profit was the same. So basically I was getting paid to bet, which is a very rare occurrence. But after only making a few thousand dollars, the books got very tight with their lines and my money making in that endeavor came to an abrupt halt. So I congratulate you for taking advantage of the system you currently are employing to make money in poker.

The reason I get upset or angry with you is due to your arrogance. I am a cynic when someone ALWAYS claims to win at gambling. Even the house does lose on occasion due to lack of money coming in; just look at some of the casinos that are losing money daily in Las Vegas due to our economic crisis.

Even though I questioned your numbers, let us just say for argument's sake that what you post is true and your average monthly profit is $6K since you started short stacking. You have been doing this for such a short while, and who is to say that the money is going to keep coming in years from now? I am not in any way envious of your success; just don't be surprised like I was when the cash cow quickly subsides for whatever reasons. And ANYONE boasting about their gambling winnings just shows a complete lack of character.

To add to some earlier points, I think poker is very grueling on a daily basis, and I do not have the skills, money, time, desire, etc. to EVER be successful at in the long run. And I am at peace with that. But I will always love debating how to play a particular hand; I just do not want to spend 30 minutes on that one thing. And I was genuinely happy when you and Travis hit the big payoff in the Full Tilt tourney last fall. Lorin, I just think it has gone to your head, whereas Travis is the same affable prick that I have always admired. Peace.

Lorin Yelle said...

Thank you for that. However, to address a few things:

In no way have I ever claimed to never lose at gambling. I admit that I rarely have a losing week, let alone month, but that is a function of volume and not necessarily a measure of skill. That is one reason why I would only play for a living online, and were I ever forced to do otherwise, I would find something else to take up my time. Live play is truly a grind and not something I would devote any significant portion of my life to.

Secondly, I never claimed for an instant that this would carry on forever. Being a resident of Kentucky and the wily ways of our very own governor, Steve Beshear, you know how precarious our position is here, and I wait every single day for that news to arrive that states that I will have to find a living doing something else. Even still, the game ebbs and flows, and if people decide that they want to wake up tomorrow and all play London Low Ball, then I will have to shift my game plan and do something else. But is it not fair to cash in on a great opportunity while it is around?

And third, the reason I strayed from tournaments is that I AGREE with your position and feel that they are not a very good way to make money. In fact, right after we won that huge score, I told Travis the very next night that in all reality, this could be the biggest score we will ever have, and probably will be. And if the next month, we won $90,000? Excellent, but it certainly would not be even on the top 50 list of the greatest moments of my life. In fact, winning that much money tends to sour any experience beneath it, or close to it, for that matter.

So rather than chase the dragon, I went in preparation of the next big nose dive and took up short stacking again (I have been doing it for over a year now, off and on), looking for a safety net to catch me for when the temporary-boost-of-success-before-the-downfall was sure to hit again.

So if I rolled my eyes at you or did something of the like when you had warned me of such in a condescending sort of way, naturally I was going to brush you off. People who make it in the world of poker are not doing so because of an over abundance of talent, they are doing so because they can get up and brush themselves off after getting tossed from that roller coaster of variance and adapt to the game's cruelest moments and disappointments.

And if you feel that I am boasting, so be it. Why would anyone do such a thing? I'll tell you why: 2+2. Type "short stacking" into any search engine and you will see strings of hate posts so long you will swear it was an indictment for Charles Manson. Die shortstack scum, you have no talent, you are a rakeback pro, you have no post-flop skills, etc. Pretty reminiscent of the things you claimed about me the other night, eh?

Naturally, someone employing such a strategy and doing so successfully would take the "see, I told you so" approach. It's one thing to get it from strangers, but from someone I have known and played against in person for the last five years is something entirely different. And I think it irrational how you can tell me that I am great player (based on play from 3 years ago, at least), yet completely down me and assume that I can not be doing something different, and have also improved tremendously as well?

Finally, you have no space to call me arrogant. Think what you will of my online persona, but you must admit that NOT ONCE have I ever sauntered up to you and bragged, nor even mentioned what I win or had any such discussion. If you heard about it, it was from someone else and not me. I just get tired of hearing the same old song and dance about conspiracies when you have no proof whatsoever to back up your claims other than anecdotes.

Lorin Yelle said...


And (really) finally, you are still being condescending and treating me as if I am naive. I follow the industry much more than you, as this is where I make my livelihood. I know all of the deposit and withdrawal methods (and which are likely to close up), understand the reach and loopholes of laws, know exactly what I plan to do if playing within the boundaries of KY gets outlawed, etc.

I have no idea what it is you do for a living, but EVERYTHING comes to an end eventually. No one's job is completely safe, whether they work in a restaurant, handle mortgages, or work in the auto industry. Cars break down, stores close, and markets collapse. You are as vulnerable as I am, my friend, you just don't see it yet.

Travis "The Dirrty" Rose said...

Cool, I am an "affable Prick".
that is the nicest form of Prick that I have ever been called. I really like the sound of that.

I have two words for everybody ...


Francois said...

Hi, I am really interested in learning the short stack strategy. I've played a bit (on 5c/10c tables) with Ed Millers strategy, but it seems that the premium hands he suggests just takes too long to come around and I get blinded to death :-(

Also, I played mostly at Mansion Poker, but their players are way too tight, meaning that whenever I FINALLY get the bloody hand I've been waiting for, I get no calls, and everyone fold like cowards. I played there for about 4000 hands and decided to quit the site. Could you possibly give some suggestions on methods of play and which site provides the best opportunity for profit? I'm possibly looking at either Full Tilt or PokerStars merely because they hold the largest volume of traffic - which obviously means there are more bad players.

Any suggestions would be helpfull and thanks in advance for your time.

Lorin Yelle said...

That's not really true. Large site traffic tends to attract more multi-tabling sharks and offers the best opportunities for moving up, so the players at Full Tilt and Stars are much better on average than what you will see elsewhere.

The best place to play is on the Cake network. If you plan on playing there, please use my rakeback link. http://www.rakebacknation.com/?affiliate=lyelle7420