09 January 2006

So Maybe This Poker Blog Sucks...

Felicia Lee is a great blogger, as well as a terrific player who has been through alot. I stumbled upon her blog in the early days of this blog, and I value her thoughts. But is she a bit extreme about her characteristics of a good poker blog?

1) Don't post bad beat stories
2) Don't post hand histories
3) Don't whine about losses
4) Don't post pics of kids or pets
5) Give your opinion
6) Are you a poker journal, or not?
7) Try to act serious about your play
8) If you are going to enable comments, actually REPLY when someone leaves one

OK, here's my response:
  1. Last table I sit down at $100 NLHE with a $79 buy-in and wait for the big blind to post. I catch QQ, there is a raise to $4 UTG and UTG+2 re-raises to $20. I call and the original raiser folds, and our pot is $44. Flop comes 898, I check, re-raiser bets $40, I go all-in for the last $19.70, then 9 3 come and he flips over AA. Earlier $5/10 hand, I make a speculative two-bet raise call with Q9s (ends up capped). Flop comes A8T, and I check call with one other caller and one bettor. J comes on the turn, the money card making my straight, I check, guy bets, other guy raises, I re-raise, guy folds, other guys caps, I call. T hits river, and I check/call to see the JJ flip over. Most bad beat stories aren't bad beats (see these two examples). Some are unfortunate circumstances (QQ vs AA with an undercard flop), some are suckout/re-suckout (turn the straight, get beat by the boat on the river). Everyone has had them, if you've played a ton you've seen almost all of them. To me the only really bad beats are the bluff in early position that catches runner-runner when they had nothing to start with. Most everything else is just a combination of poker. Bad beat stories make a bad poker blog? In moderation, they're fine, but there's no need to see them ad nauseum.
  2. I'm in BB with TdTc, only to watch five limpers and two posters put in their $5 limp in front of me. I raise, there are a couple of calls then a re-raise, couple of calls then I cap. Pre-flop we're at $120 and five players. Flop comes 8d3d3s. I bet and everyone calls, pot is at $145. 7d hits the turn. I bet, call call raise fold I call call fold, so three to the river and the pot is $215. River is 2d putting four diamonds on the board. Everyone checks, and I draga a river-checked $215 pot with ten-high flush vs. 9d8h nine-high flush paired 8 on the board and a 7hJh two-pair bluff. Hand histories: heck, people enjoy reading them. Maybe after you've seen most everything they aren't interesting. We have 2+2 for hard-core strategy/hand analysis, but most of us newbie poker bloggers are telling hand histories to represent the terrific win, the crazy play, the donkey play of ours or someone else, the confusing play. Again, a little hand history is fine in moderation.
  3. Whining about losses, a topic near and dear to my heart. This occurs for several reasons, as a plea for help, as a cathartic way of justifying poor decisions, or a request for some sort of assistance. I've valued responses from bloggers like WillWonka and Wes, whether they're hang in there or you're stupid to play above your bankroll. Money is part of keeping score, so I don't have a problem about documentation if there is some context as well as point to it all.
  4. Kids and dog photos are fine (see Angel our Gordon Setter above). Any image spices up a blog a bit, so I think hating on pets and kids is a bit extreme.
  5. Opinions? I think that's all most of us have, so I'm good with that one.
  6. Poker journal vs. other topics. Some of the other topics flesh out a blog, whether it's Pauly's lap dances and urinal spotting, Mr. and Mrs. PokerSweetHome struggling with porn production issues, or whatever goes on in life, I think it brings some breadth and depth to the blog. I'm fine with keeping political diatribes to a minimum for sure, so I'm mixed on this one.
  7. I'm fine with this. I get queazy thinking about losing a big chunk of change to 58o as I've done, so I've got not problem keeping the wacky donkified luck to a minimum. Unless it is Pauly or it happened to me and I there was either some logic to what I was doing or it was a huge lucky pot.
  8. I agree with this. I'll either reply here or sometimes hunt a commentor down to reply on their blog.
So I think I would have to push back a bit on Felicia on her thoughts. I think she may be a bit too harsh in her assessment of what makes a good blog (especially as she seems mostly focused on what makes a poker blog bad). Let me add a couple of thoughts of what makes a poker blog great:
  • Depth: by this I mean getting the story behind the story, answers to questions like why do you play, what in your life pushes you toward or pulls you from poker.
  • Change: I'm really excited to see bloggers charting a new course then bringing the story, whether it is a decision to attack short-handed games, move up, go after tourneys, broaden to other games. Change is risk and will either yield better or worse results.
  • Detail: the more the better as it allows us to explore along with the blogger, to question, to criticize, to add opinion. I've gotten more help from both seeing detailed discussion as well as having comments from folks that have the energy to give me some insight.
That's enough as the dog and my wife are asleep on either side of me, so I'm going to book my +$45 Party tenure, which included my one hand QQ v AA loss, which was a cool -2391 BB/hr.

Oh, and I've booked my flights. Skipping Vegas, will fly to LA Wednesday and leave Thursday to arrive in Shanghai Friday.


Blogger Nick Christy said...

I have to agree, I enjoy bad beat stories in moderation because it shows that I am not the only one getting kicked in the junk, as long as the stories are not written up just to whine about how badly everyone else played and how great they played...

10:03 AM  
Blogger Felicia :) said...

1) We agree
2) You told a narrative, you didn't post a "copy & pasted" hand history (which is both insensitive as well as boring)
3) Whining is different than stating a loss and asking for suggestions
4) The pic thing is a lot more personal and subjective than the others

The rest, agreed.

And the one important thing that people keep missing: I said that this is MY criteria. I don't speak for the world, nor do you.

I would neve come here and criticize what YOU believe makes a great journal, in fact, I agree completely with your criteria. Yet even if we disagreed 100%, I would respect YOUR opinion, and even applaud you for having one, and stating it openly.

For whatever reason, perhaps since I am a woman, I am castrated for MY opinion, regardless of the number of times I insist it is personal. Go figure.

At any rate, good analysis and additions. Change and depth make a great blog. Although I'm sure some will disagree with you on that, preferring instead to post thoughtless hand history after hand history, I'm quite sure YOU won't get flamed. That seems to be a blessing bloggers hold sacred for me.

12:22 PM  
Blogger cc said...

Felicia, you're absolutely great, and I admire your thoughts, experience, and opinions for sure. I hate that you've gotten flamed as the only thing you should be flamed for is not spending half your waking non-poker hours posting more as it's always insightful and interesting.

OK, enough of the lovefest/suck-up. I think we're in violent agreement except for kids and pets. More to the point, for me the blog is a personal way for me to explore the uniqueness of poker in my life, this quasi-hidden thing that consumes me at times, separates me from the one I hold dearest at times, etc. You're great and in my thoughts and prayers. Hopefully, our paths will cross someday in Vegas, Casino Arizona, or paths unknown.

1:04 PM  

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