Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Posted by Dr Fro 8:46 PM
Junell, Budakleck and somebody I don't (think I) know have signed up for the tournament to get us to 7 players. GlazeDog said he wants to sign up, but is experiencing user error while trying. Maybe Junell can give him some tech support.

We played on Sunday in Houston. Planck gave me a ride home. We had the same conversation I recently had with Junell, with one addition. It went something like this:

There is a chronology of steps a poker player goes through, something like:

Step 1: Learn to only play good hands pre-flop. Bet good hands, fold bad hands

Step 2: Get tricky post-flop. Learn to trap and to bluff.

Step 3: Learn to make the great laydown. When you limit your lossess on your losing hands, you can make much more money that by just maximizing your gains on your winning hands.

Step 4: Now that you can outplay an opponent post-flop, you can reduce your starting hand requirements (given good position or passive pre-flop action). After all, you no longer need the best hand to win the hand AND you can limit your losses when your flat beat.

Step 5: Learn to make the great call. This was where Junell and I focused our conversation. Once you can read opponents well and call them and win a pot with a mediocre holding, you are in serious control of the game.

Step 6: You might say this is just an extension of Step 4, but at some point, hopefully, you can read a situation and know exactly what your opponent has. Poker is a game of information. If I know, I mean so totally KNOW that you have AA and I have QQ, I just might call. I am a 4:1 underdog to have the best hand on the river. I have a much better chance than that to win the hand. (E.g., if the flop comes JJ4, that pot is mine.) Plus, I stand to win more when I win and lose less when I flop bad (e.g., T82.) I guess this is like step 4, but it is not the general relaxation of hand requirements, it is an intentional decision in a situation where you have read your opponents hand with great (perceived) precision. It is the sort of situation that might present itself once every hour or two.

Junell/Planck, let me know if I left something out.

I think the future steps (none of which I have taken) involve:

- Disguising your hand from even expert players
- Designing an strategy to a hand that considers all streets (e.g., raise the flop to get a free card on the turn and also know what you will do on the river if you miss)
- Designing an approach to a game that considers all hands (e.g., pay for advertising)

David called with QQ to Jeff's AA on Sunday night. If one accepts that it was obvious that Jeff had AA, then you could say David hasn't gotten to step 3 (couldn't make the laydown). Alternatively, you could say that he has progressed to step 6 (calling while behind due to certainty around what his opponent had).

I don't mean to imply that all poker players progress along the same 2-dimensional trajectory. For instance, Planck was the best player at the table. However (and I am certain of this), while Jeff would fare better against pros than Beau and I, I know that Beau and I are better at fleecing really bad players. There were three players at the table that were clearly stuck at step 1. Beau and I took most of their money and Planck was about even. After those three players (almost totally) busted out and left, Planck began to win more than Beau and I did. (Beau's stack stayed flat, mine shrank). Beau and I spend more time playing with bad players (is it a coincidence that we are both friends with Baird?) than Planck. He spends more with good players (I so rarely play with a table full of big-time competition). So, our experiences explain our niches.

Another funny on Sunday night was when Dude lost like $25 and got out of his chair and ran is hands through his hair like Phil Hellmuth. He was disgusted by the outcome of the hand. I'd hate to see Dude's reaction if he lost $1,000 in a pot holding AA versus K5 (not that I know any thing about that...) Those reactions are classic. Really, the only one better is when a player calls time on himself. I think that is my all time favorite.

Speaking of idiots, Beau brought up the fact that the first dude eliminated from the first episode of WSOP mis-read his hand (how could you forget with ESPN shoving a camera in his face for the next several hours?) Anyway, dude thought he was calling with a King high flush. Funny thing is that his opponent had an Ace high flush. I hope I am never on TV making a stupid call with a hand I didn't have, only to stick around and complain about it all night only to actually be too stupid to realize that I would have lost any way.

Back to Sunday. Glazy McGlazepants called to a paired board with a straight. He said, "I thought you had a full house when I called." Jeff giggled and showed his quads. Ouch.

Back to Dude. Dude, here is my advice, top pair, King kicker isn't a good hand; it is a punchline on 2+2.

Back to me. I am going to bed. Later.

2 Comment(s):

Posted by Blogger Todd, at 10:21 AM, August 13, 2008  

I am the first to admit that I am not near as skilled as most of the people that play and that is fine. I have and will always play cards like I do. some good and some very bad but I have one objective and that is to win or lose going down fighting. the game we played sunday night cost me 100 bucks and so it is not that big of a deal. I dont read the books that all you have and dont care to. I play to see my friends and get away from the wife and baby every once in a while so the fact is and i do not mean this in a bad way by any means but none you are every going to win the world series of poker main event and beat any of the other pros so why spend so much time trying to figure it out. most of the game is luck anyway so have fun and do what I do which is not care and win some and lose some.


Posted by Blogger Dr Fro, at 3:49 PM, August 13, 2008  

"...so why spend so much time trying to figure it out (?)...."

Why run a marathon? Why does Rice play UT?

Why does the wise man reach for the sky when even the fool knows it can't be done?

Because the pursuit is fun. It is exercise. It is a stretch of one's capabilities.


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