Monday, August 30, 2004

Bad Company

YTD: +$52914.78

After one of my best months ever, I’m still unhappy with some of the quality of my decision making. In some ways – not many admittedly, but some – I feel better losing when I’ve done the right thing than winning when I’ve done the wrong thing. The first is a short term fluctuation, the second the start of bad habits. However, one of the mitigating factors in the Stars game is that many players, even the good ones, are making worse decisions more often than me. Here’s an example below. Let the mediocre prevail!

PokerStars Omaha Pot Limit ($5.00/$10.00)

Seat 1: Ludster ($467.90 in chips) (sb)
Seat 2: batoelrob ($1176.00 in chips) (bb)
Seat 3: dougthompson ($450.00 in chips)
Seat 4: acekingqq ($1529.65 in chips)
Seat 5: Foe ($713.00 in chips)
Seat 6: joelmick ($3282.75 in chips)
Seat 7: Lowbrow ($548.00 in chips)
Seat 8: Hero ($1124.00 in chips) (button)
Ludster : Post Small Blind ($5.00)
batoelrob : Post Big Blind ($10.00)

*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to Hero [ Ah 9d Qs Ks ]
dougthompson : folds
acekingqq : folds
Foe : raises $20.00
joelmick : folds
Lowbrow : folds
Hero : raises $60.00 (button)

This is a loose reraise against a mostly unknown player, although my hand is quite strong. This was early in the session and I wanted to build some image too.

Ludster : folds (sb)
batoelrob : folds (bb)
Foe : calls $40.00

*** FLOP *** [Kc 8c Jh]
Foe : checks
Hero : bets $110.00 (button)

Not a great flop, but one worth betting.

Foe : calls $110.00
*** TURN *** [Kc 8c Jh] [4d]
Foe : checks
Hero : bets $352.00 (button)

Foe has shown no strength at all. If he’s drawing a big bet should move him out. Over the table I felt I was in front at this point.

Foe : raises $543.00 and is all-in

OK, now I know I’ve been trapped. But. He could have two pair. He could just have a big draw and want to put it in for value. And I still have 3 nut outs. On the range of probabilities against a typical Stars player this is an automatic call.

Hero : calls $191.00 (button)
*** RIVER *** [Kc 8c Jh 4d] [Ts]
*** SUMMARY ***
Main pot $1438.00 | Rake $3.00
Board [Kc 8c Jh 4d Ts]

Seat 5: Foe lost $713.00 [8d 8s 9h Kd] with three of a kind
Seat 8: Hero bet $713.00, collected $1438.00, net +$725.00 [Ah 9d Qs Ks] with straight

I did say this post was about bad decision making, not bad beats :-) At least not for me. On one hand I’ve been outplayed and my foe has made me put in a good chunk of money very thin. But that was only because my hand was in essence a semi bluff anyway. But from his perspective he did not know I was drawing so thin and he has contrived a compulsory call out of me. Anytime an opponents calls when he should fold, or folds when he should call, you make theoretical profit. But the converse is equally true. If your foe calls when he should call and folds when he should fold, you make theoretical loss. And over the long term this theory turns into real money. Or real loss. (For those that don’t know this is in essence the core of Sklansky’s Theory of Poker.)

The check on the turn is especially bad, assuming I had the draw hand, as (a) I could just check it back (b) if I’m the aggressive player he assumes I am, he doesn’t have enough to make my call of his check raise wrong. Unless he puts me on naked AA he must either check raise on the flop or bet out on the turn.

Bad decisions all round.


Anonymous said...

The fundamental therem of poker - one of the most missused guidences in poker literacy.

You are right that the turn check raise with 888 was a bad play. But still you both put $500 in on the turn and the set had best of it, the fact that you were forced to call the last $190 does not mean that he was losing money by the play itself (he would have win more tho if you folded).

It is the other aspects you list that make it bad, like you checkking behind etc.

Also. As you most likely know the fundamental theory is not valid in *many* multiway situations. RGP search for "morton's theorem" should give examples for ones unfamiliar with the problem.

armchair analyst

Big Dave D said...

Heh. I feel a bit like Mason Malmuth now. That's not a nice feeling :-( I realised that this hand, whilst not a deliberate mistake, was flawed from the point of view of the post. In a sense, it is a good example of the benefit of post-game analyis. Over the table I really thought his play was terrible. Coming to write this post, I started to think, hey its not so bad after all. But by then I didnt really have a memorable hand to write about and I was "late" with a post. So, to use scientific terminology, I "kludged" it. And wondered not whether anyone would notice, but how soon..and of course dear Aksu blows my cover in minutes :-)

Such a complex game is PLO, that now I really LIKE how he played the turn, and I will do an indepth analysis of this hand in my next post.



Anonymous said...

Actually, I think your oppenent played it horribly, he had a marginal hand the whole way, and should have bet to protect it or gotten out - but he waited until you were pot committed.

Anonymous said...

I wrote this comment after searching for Morton's Theorem (because of the 1st comment in this thread), in response to the first article appearing on Google for that search. I thought it might be interesting to the commentor, our resident pro, and other readers. If you feel I am clogging up the comments, I apologize. For reference, the article was at this address

HereSklansky's Theorem is still correct, assuming you think about the you in "YOU benefit when your opponent..." as a collective you (the rest of the table). While I believe the example you give is really more about the schooling effect that the TFTOP, I've got another example which is similar, but does not involve schooling. In a NL game, you hold AhQh, against two opponents holding JcTc and 5c4c. The board is 6s 3h Qc 9c. The pot is 200, and JT bets his last 100 (putting him all in) and you call with your last 100 (putting you also all in). 54 has both of you covered. From 54's perspective, assuming that no one holds two clubs, he has 15 outs, making this an easy call. However, if 54 can see both of the opposing hands, he sees that he has 6 outs, not 15, making this a clear fold. Now, let's see how the EV plays out for both players

River - 13 outs - 42 cards unseen - Win 30.9%

54 Calls (all 13 outs are still live) - 30.9% of 500 = 154.76
54 Folds (13 outs) - 30.9% of 400 = 123.8

River - 23/29 "outs" - 42 cards unseen - Win 54.8%/69.1%

54 Calls (23 "outs") - 54.8% of 500 = 273.8
54 Folds (29 "outs") - 69.1% of 400 = 276.2

54, by making the correct play given his mystical ability to see your cards, has increased your EV by 2.4. However, you'll see that by making the correct play, 54 has decreased the table of the table as a whole (the collective you).

A sidenote, that i just thought of after writing the above. This may be identical to your example, but I will restate it to be clear. Say a situation exists where I only have pot odds if Player X behind me calls, and Player X only has pot odds if I call in front of him. If I call, Player X has to call 95% of the time to make my call correct. I cannot possibly call, as there is nowhere near a 95% chance X will call. However, if I can see my opponents cards, and I can see that if I call, then Player X will indeed call, that makes my call correct. The fundamental theorem of poker has not been violated.

Big Dave D said...

To be frank I put in the TOP reference more for newbies than anything else, so it may expand their reading. In PLO TOP and Mortens are not always especially useful constructs, as it is very common for the draw to have the right outs even when you are very strong, and as a development from this, schooling is often not as painful as normally all the outs lie in just one or two hands.

Tx for the post and keep commenting!


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