Terms such as “donkey” or “newbie” or “fish” are names that are given to new or bad players. These are names that a “good“ player might use to describe how bad someone plays. Are these “good” players trying to do their best Phil Hellmuth impressions, and just like him, all they do is end up looking like a jerk? Generally speaking, the players doing the criticizing are not as good as they believe they are.
There are several reasons why criticizing someone else is bad for the game - aside from being just plain rude. The new or ‘bad’ players are the ones you want in the game. If you make fun of them or are angry because they beat you, they may just pick up their chips and go home. You may end up playing against people just like yourself, which is a ‘no win’ situation.
When you walk into a casino, you probably have a set amount of money you want to play/gamble with. So does everyone else. To most people in the world, poker is a form of gambling. When a new player sits down at a poker table, he/she is - most likely - just there to gamble and have a good time. For most new players, their view on poker is: Poker is not a way of life and it is definitely not a way to make a living. It isn’t even a game of skill. The general thought is that if they get good cards, they are going to win. If they get bad cards, they are going to lose.
To a new, unskilled player, if another player calls four bets with nothing more than an inside straight draw, they are just gambling. If another player re-raises before the flop with a 7-2 off suit, they are having fun. Imagine playing in a game with Doyle Brunson, Phil Ivey, and Johnny Chan. While it would be a lot of fun to play with the legends of the game, it would be an awfully tough game to beat. If everyone were a top-notch player, the only winner in the game would be the house. So why would you want everyone else in the game to be “good”?
It is amazing how often one player will criticize another for “trying to give their money away”. When a player in the game catches that long shot draw on the river, simply smile and say, “Nice hand.” They bought their chips, they came to play, and they don’t need a lecture on how to do it.
Before you say anything to anyone else at the table, make sure to assess why you are at the table. If you’re seriously there to win money, just remember the bad players are the only ones giving it away.