Good poker players need bad poker players. They need the fish, the donkeys, and the donks! Without these bad poker players the good poker players would have to be excellent players, otherwise they’d struggle to make a profit. It is therefore surprising just how frequently the bad players are berated and cursed at for their poor decision-making skills at the poker table. If you’re a good poker player you should be thankful – the fish are your dinner. Don’t you remember your mother telling you “don’t play with your food!”?

Every so often a bad poker player will catch a lucky hand or hit a miracle out on the river. A calling station who calls your pot size bets on the flop, and then the turn, with little more than a inside straight draw (when you flopped a set) and catches on the river, should be thanked and not told off. Yes it is highly annoying, frustrating, and can sometimes put even the most mild mannered poker players on tilt. Whatever you do don’t type in to the chat box “WTF are you doing you donkey!” Not only will this put you on tilt, you should be thankful that there are still poker players who don’t know how to play poker, and will eventually give it all back.


Even if you’re playing poker at a table full of fish, avoid the temptation to succumb to their level of play. Calling huge bets with K2 might work occasionally for Mr Donkey, but it probably won’t for you. Such bad plays work for the fish and donkeys because they do them so often – and are bound to get lucky sooner or later. Unless you are going to join them and play consistently poorly, your chances of suck outs and dishing out bad beats on other poker players are going to be very low. More importantly, you’ll go from a winning poker player to a losing poker player in no time at all.

Whenever a bad poker player gets lucky it ends up doing them more harm than good. By being rewarded for bad play, they can become deluded into thinking they’re making correct decisions. Don’t try and correct them unless they’re a friend of yours. Why on earth would you want to tell somebody who is going to give you money (which they will eventually) why they shouldn’t? Don’t break the hand that feeds you. Do you want soft and winnable poker games? Or do you want tough games, where few players make mistakes? I know which games I prefer.

Thanks to the internet there’s now an abundance of poker training sites, tutorial sites with poker lessons, forums, blogs and discussion groups. There’s never been an easier time to learn how to play poker – and best of all you can learn much of this for free, depending on where you look. The downside to this is that online poker games have become tougher than those of a few years ago, when there was less availability to such excellent resources. Don’t get me wrong, there’s still a huge amount of bad poker players to profit from – and for this we should be thankful.

The next time you’re playing poker and some donkey hits a runner-runner to take your chips, think twice about berating him or her. Remember that poker is a long-term game. If your opponent made a terrible play, showing a complete lack of regard to basic poker math, just take it on the chin. The poker gods may have been against you on that one single occasion, but just make a note of your opponent – and hope to continue playing with him for as long as possible. If they think they made the perfect poker play, then who are you to correct them? Just smile, and relax in the knowledge that you’ll get it all back – sooner or later.