Thursday, June 24, 2004

Monkeys regularly write the complete works of Shakespeare

YTD: +$20852.59 (curse you work :-)

The Hendon Mob has mostly deteriorated as a forum, that is assuming you actually want to talk about poker. One of the few interesting threads was from a guy, Vlad, who made a massive jump up to the 10-20 NL game on Laddies for the first time. Basically he calls a raise mid-late position with AcTc, is checked to on a 2c 3c 4s, he bets the pot $400 and is reraised allin for his $1600 stack (he also mentions that this is basically his case money.) His foe had 4d6d and our hero hits his flush. Here’s the feedback we gave him on his play:
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Posted by Big Dave D on 15/2/2004, 8:48 pm

Ok. A true story first. The first time I was a pro, £100 comps were comparatively rare in the North. Out of the blue, a complete unknown won the first prize in a Stockport £100 comp, no deals done. By a bizarre coincidence, there was actually another £100 comp somewhere else in the North that month. He won that outright too. So in the space of one month he had won the best part of £30K, all the way back in 1996. I later played with this self-same player and it was abundantly clear that HE KNEW ABSOLUTELY NOTHING ABOUT POKER. Not that he didn't know the odds of AK vs. KK, I mean to the extent that he may have actually struggled to understand the ranking of hands.

What's the point of this story? Well, I have wanted to get it off my chest for a while, but also, more importantly, I like to keep it in mind to remind me of how much damn luck there is in this game.

It seems that a lot of posts on this forum are by people who could do well to remember this story.

To the hand in question. I'm not awfully found of the cold call with ATs. It’s a hand likely to be dominated and I would want a HUUUGE stack vs. the raiser, plus knowing I am a much better player. I actually prefer the QJs UTG as I would then have the raiser on my left, which is greatly preferable, especially in a NL game.

On the flop, the poster raves as if he's got a monster hand. He hasn't. His hand is MUCH better to be putting the final bet in, much worse to be CALLING the final bet. He now cannot bluff his opponent out; he has to make his hand. Of the spectrum of potential hands his foe has, what he shows is just about the absolute weakest. He's far more likely, people and probability wise, to be up against a made hand of some kind. If you run some sims you can see that he is a EV dog to this range of hands. More importantly, this is in a very real sense his case money on Ladbrokes and a large sum of money in the context of his playing life.

If someone had bumped into him in the street and offered to toss a coin for it he would have been astounded, and doubly affronted if he was told he wouldn't be getting even money either. Yet this is what he has voluntarily done here.

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Then there are some more responses from Vlad:
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(snipped Vlad saying he is a favourite still)

BDD - There are a variety of sims out there, some free, that can do the work on this. Even if you do a simple mathematical likelihood of hands, you are a dog. And of course the real weighting of the hands is going to be greatly different from this and will strongly favour the made hands. Even if you look at the sim as a final bet of 1600 vs. the pot you only make a tiny profit. And this is somewhat an unreal assumption as you have contrived to make this pot this big yourself with your money...if you had bet 800 for example this would make the resulting call back to you, supposing the same action, even more clear cut, but in the end, although I think that's a superior play, you have really gambled 2000 to win 2400.

(snipped Vlad talking about how a mix of foes would play this differently, but against a random foe he would always make this call.)

BDD - The truth is you know absolutely nothing about your opponent. You have contrived a situation where you now have to be mathematically right. CALLING Allins in the end is mostly a maths situation, whether most people realise it or not, especially when you have no read on the foe. So if you agree with the point I made above and you steadfastly play the hand in this precise way then you will clearly go broke. Putting your money in -EV on a regular basis is just roulette.

VLAD Quote - "I agree, the preflop call was negative EV for 5% of my 100xBB stack, the implied odds perhaps were not there, and I would not make that call every single time. I am much happier playing QJs/10Js or even 45 than A10s"

BDD - you already said that you had passed QJs for a raise even though you had already called the minimum. Also your position was much better in that situation than the one you are in now.

VLAD Quote -"Still, in the end I got the kind flop I was looking for...used to playing in games where my postflop play more than compensates for the loss of EV making loose preflop calls."

BDD - You got a kind of flop you were looking for. The fact that according to your own original mail you called this allin immediately has me worried. Like most flops and situations in big bet poker, unless you have the nuts it’s the action that ultimately dictates whether you "like" a flop. Would you have liked it, for example if your UTG had simply moved allin instead? You talk about having superior postflop play, yet you also state that you have been playing only 18 months...what makes you think your play is superior after such a short sample? How do you know? And how do you know you're not in the "7th best player in the world playing the best 6" in this game?

The truth is that you took a shot in a game on short money and gambled on at very very best a coin toss. There's no shame in this. But no great glory either. Remember my tournament example. Monkeys regularly write the complete works of Shakespeare in this game.

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Then some more....
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Re: First experience of mid-stakes NL
Posted by Big Dave D on 16/2/2004, 3:00 pm
Vlad,

I get the kind of feeling that maybe you weren't looking for feedback after all, but as this is the only decent thread we've had on here in 2004, I will persevere:

: VLAD - I have a sim and I am +ve EV vs. the average hand. I may be a dog, but the pot is offering me better than 50-50 so I can afford to be a dog...The only hand I'm a loser against is a set (vs. a straight I'm more or less even money).

Your sim is broke. You are between a 6 to 4, 7 to 3 dog on ALL made hands (sets/str8s.) So the scenario is this...versus a normal player making the call, even giving you the huge benefit of modelling the scenario of how you played the hand on the dead money you yourself have contributed (vs. a simple 2400/2000), this is a LOSING call. Your EV is negative. It only ends up marginally, very marginally profitable if you throw in 64s and 54s as his potential holdings. But how often will he turn out to be that kind of player. Very very rarely. Your reaction on being set allin shouldn’t be great, I'm in fantastic shape but instead sh*t...I need to do some serious thinking and decide whether I need to flip a crooked coin.

: VLAD - Give me a big draw anyday compared to a hand which is strong but not the nuts. That's why I liked the flop.
I like to play in games where I can influence the action, so, yes if UTG had gone all in it would have taken
the action away from me. Oh, and I said my postflop play is good enough to beat the majority of the muppets
on the internet, which is not saying a lot really.

When its allin, and I’m called I don’t care whether I’m drawing or made, I just want it to be +EV. Despite the timbre of this thread, I’m not a big fan of the EV thinking in big bet poker as a carry on from limit thinking. But when you and your foe(s) are allin, with cards to come, EV is the entirety of the game. Also you talk about wanting to influence the action. CALLING on short money with a -EV hand is not influencing anything. You have to be the bettor in this coup.

Lastly you state that your postflop play is better than the majority, yet you have only been playing less than 9 months on the Net. Not meaning to be rude, but you cannot be sure of this. When you have been around even my comparatively short time you see players come and go, flying high on luck and aggression, Icarus-like, and having the same result. Onlinechamp was a beautiful example.

You may think you are great, and you may actually be so, but in 6-9 months you simply cannot know. As our Scottish legal friends say, the case is Not Proven.

: VLAD - As long as there is a tiny +EV I am happy to gamble, provided my roll can sustain the variance.

This is real limit poker thinking. The reason limit holdem players have to pursue tiny EV is because that is all that is available. The game is made up of the accumulation of tiny edges. Most good big bet players are trying to contrive situations where huge chunks of money are getting into the pot when they are significant favourites. Now to generate these you may have to make many slightly -EV decisions to set up the killing coup, especially in holdem, but strictly speaking the whole metaphor of EV kind of falls over in NL/PL except when there is no more money to be bet. You shouldn't be thinking "Great I’ve got a 1% edge, let’s shove my whole stack in". There's just too much variance in the game, and also too many good opportunities downstream to have that kind of approach.
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To Vlads credit he did later start to challenge some of the assumptions he started of with in this thread.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I remember the post on the hendon mob well, and as the person who introduced Vlad to poker I spent a fair amount of time talking to him about the hand you have mentioned when the discussion was occuring on the hendon mob forum.

I think that the hand in question highlights some important concepts in big bet play and i think that it highlights some common traps players can find themselves in. I know that Vlad was truely intereasted in analising the hand as he is the sort of player who takes an academic approach to looking at his play and is looking at allways improving.

In the end i think that Vlad was convienced that he didnt play the hand optimally. Knowing Vlad he really didnt mind the concept of lossing the money he was playing with, he fancied a little excitment playing for higher stakes. My concluison at the time is that Vlad should probably have bet more on the flop making it more clear to the other players in the hand that he was committed to this pot and moving allin wasnt going to make him fold. As most people conclude calling allin isnt great though i have seen loads of players react to a rerasie in this way. It almost seems like a natural reaction to someone questioning the bet of a player last to act, a player calls allin as if to say look i dont bet unless I have a chance to win the pot. I remeber Doyle Brunson advacting such play in his super systems book though this was supposed to be used to build a reputation at the begining of a session, not in a semi anonamous online game. I am still unsure about the best way to play the hand but dont think that personally I would play in a game where i wouldnt be prepared to buyin a few times. With this in mind being seen to protect money you have already invested in a pot isnt allways such a bad thing. As you say Dave sometimes it is sensible to suffer the worst of it in order to set up a big win later.

steveyboy

Anonymous said...

>>> 2c 3c 4s

>>> ...very marginally profitable if you throw in 64s and 54s as his potential holdings.

Flop was slightly different. Im pretty sure that Vlad did not have str8flush draw. But the discussion is relevant still.

-Aksu

Anonymous said...

Cool Blog Dave. I was discussing the "Vlad" thread only a few days ago, as it seemed a classic example of "putting an opponent on a hand" which justifies your play, i e he didn't consider the hands he was dogging...a similiar tourny situation had just happened to me which remided me of this. No bad beat stories though :)

As an aside, on your blog, I am pleased to see your Year To Date figure increasing steadily (I don't play the games you frequent online) :)

Are you operating off a big "tank" and ploughing "profit" back? or taking money out. (I presume you are still playing P T on line?).

GL

Redsimon

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