Sunday, April 24, 2005

Outré

YTD: +$53820.86

I remember outré as one of the very first words I looked up in a proper dictionary. I suspect I was going through an adolescent Lovecraftian phase. And the pronunciation marks I confused for punctuation marks :)

For those of my Faithful Readers who don't frequent dictionary.com, or Innsmouth, outré means bizarre or beyond normal propriety. And that is what decision making is like on Party in the PLO games at the moment. Time and time again, in big pots and in small, I see normally sane players making insane decisions.

On the decision-making front, I've been enjoying Pete Birk's wrestlings with PLO. Paradoxically, what he dislikes about PLO is what invigorates me about the game - that making decisions really matters. Now many people believe that limit holdem is also about making decisions, but really, until you get to high enough stakes, its about replacing decisions with playing more hands. Until you reach a boundary limit of playability, playing more hands will nearly always be more profitable than eking out every ounce of EV out of every hand. What is also strange for an experienced PLO player is that decision making is more important in small pots than in large ones. Small pots are where good limit holdem players craft out nice parts of their hourly rate; big pots are where even a chimp learns that it is nearly always right to call on the end.

I saw an outré play today. For a change the variance went the right way and I booked a healthy winning session. This strange hand certainly helped:

Unraised pot with a flop of QJx. A loose UTG, stack of 1k, bets the pot and the other limpers pass to me. I have JJJ and some backdoors. And a 2k stack. I decide that it would be very unusual for this loose player to bet out the full pot with the nuts, so I raise it up to 200. A tight player, Outré, also with 1k, flat calls. UTG raises again allin. After a little thought, I can't get over my initial impression that UTG was not holding QQ and was now trying to squeeze me out against the cold caller. Who surely must be drawing. It seems to make sense to try and get Outré out and I also move in, and Outré calls for a nice 3k ish pot. Standard play so far? BDD in healthy shape?

I have one out.

UTG had kinda the hand I suspected, 33KT. But Outré had QQ!

At first I thought this was a terrible play, timidity in the face of possible draws and that Outré was trying to wait for a blank turn. But now I'm not so sure.

On one hand, the pot is now big and its worth his while to try and win it now. If he reraised I am *probably* going to pass - this is Party after all - and maybe UTG will move too. Pot won, no risk. There is also the losing his market fear if we are both drawing and it pairs up. Lastly, what does he do if the straight hits? Pass to a bet?

But say Outré has read both UTG and myself well. Say he puts UTG on a poorish hand, and myself either on a big draw or a big wrap. If he raises, I only stay with the hand that hurts him most! By calling, he locks me into a hand with 1 out, if I am behind, and keeps the pot potentially small if I do have the drawing monster. And if UTG goes bonkers, I might misread him...

Unfortunately genius and idiocy is often inseparable in PLO.

And FWIW, I hit the case Jack.

Outré indeed.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

5 jacks, are you sure?

chaos said...

Good stuff Dave. I like this example alot, because illustrates well the problem we have with conflicting desires or logic. On the one hand he desperately wants to keep you in with your set and but doesn't to let the draw hand have a free shot. How can you satisfy both needs, or trade them off?

Interestingly, I'm not sure that the guy would know what move to make if he had temporary knowledge of your cards, because, as you say he doesn't know how you will respond.

If he knew your hand(s) and decided to just call then he is clearly giving up plenty of EV to the draw and not gaining any of you to compensate. But I suppose he has plenty of implied EV from you in case a rag or pair comes on the turn. Then of course he cleans you out and gets paid for the EV he deliberately lost on the flop.

This example is good for a case study / sensitivity analysis.

Does his strategy change depending on whether the draw hand is first to act after him or second?

How do the stack sizes affect his play here?
E.g. High,High,Low; High, Med, High. etc

chaos

Big Dave D said...

The interesting thing about this hand was that I initially thought it was terrible play, which was what prompted me to write the post in the first place. Then, as I was formulating my ideas, I realised that instead it could have been brilliant play instead - so a change of tack :)

I must reiterate tho, Im almost 100% certain that this wasn't the player's understanding of the situation.

Although the situation initially looks complex, in all cases it comes down to UTG's likelyhood of reopening the betting. Because Outre is a healthy favourite against the range of hands we may both have, her best opportunity is to try and get us both allin. Her best chance of this is by UTG seeing the call as a sign of weakness and raising again. Of course this is even more true if the stack sizes are very large.

What is also nice from Outre's point of view is that if UTG just calls, she is very unlikely to be bluffed at if the str8 comes, as it is her hand that looks much more like the draw

gl

dd

chaos said...

Just realised I misread this hand, I thought UTG had the QQ and the caller after you had the draw. Doh.

Anonymous said...

From Peter B

Hi BDD: You wrote What is also nice from Outre's point of view is that if UTG just calls, she is very unlikely to be bluffed at if the str8 comes, as it is her hand that looks much more like the draw.

This is probably the most valuable and useful Poker information that I have read this year. I can see this ploy being used by me against any player with an IQ of more than 30 (proportion in my PLO games, about 25%) several times a week.

Just goes to show that the pearls turn up in the strangest places.

Pete

chaos said...

My naive follow up question (I have little experience of the game) is 'How much of a benefit is 'not being bluffed' here?'

Naturally it is part of the trade-off for allowing the free card.But because I don't play the game I don't have a feel for how likely it is for someone not to hold the draw (with all those wrap arounds).

If, for example, you added another player (or two) to this scenario, one would imagine this benefit to be negligible because someone was bound to have hit the str8.

Is there also benefit for QQ by calling the flop because the chances of a trap-chk on the turn by a str8 are quite high because the QQ is expected to have/bet it? In which case by flat-calling the flop the set might be getting a free river card if the turn is a perilous str8 card?

Or is such a benefit highly unlikely?

Anonymous said...

From Peter B

I was not referring to this particular hand, which is of such fiendish complexity that I haven't had the time to dig into its ins and outs, and which would probably still confuse me even if I did.

It was the general point that was useful. If I am in a hand (in any game) where, by playing (say) a made hand so that it looks like a drawing hand, then I am far less likely to have a bluff attempted at me on the river if a scare card comes.

Now, "what is the benefit of not being bluffed" is also a complex question. Basically you want someone who rarely bluffs to bluff less, and someone who bluffs often to bluff more. This is a basic principle of poker, because you always fold to the person who bluffs at less than the saddle point, and always call the person who bluffs at more than the saddle point.

The question is, therefore, will the "make the made hand look like a drawing hand" work in all situations? Since it makes a bluff LESS likely, you want to use th technique against players who already do not bluff that often (in other words, against a player who, if he bets on the end, you would normally fold to).

Getting bluffers to bluff more and non-bluffers to bluff less is a long-term art, and one's normal tricks are used in chat. This is an example of where you can use it in a play.

chaos said...

Peter,

Whilst your post is general mine was specific to this situation. i.e. there is little benefit in reduceing the chances of being bluffed in a scenario where a made hand is very likely. In this case I don't have a feel for how likely this is in this situation. But I agree it is another salient point from BDD.

'Now, "what is the benefit of not being bluffed" is also a complex question. Basically you want someone who rarely bluffs to bluff less, and someone who bluffs often to bluff more. This is a basic principle of poker, because you always fold to the person who bluffs at less than the saddle point, and always call the person who bluffs at more than the saddle point.'


My immediate thought is that acaveat is required to this - multi-way pots: I'm sure the prinicple won't hold for all sorts of multi-handed scenarios. This may be one of them.

chaos

Big Dave D said...

Chaos and Pete B,

Good to see you guys here.

To answer the specific hand situation, the potential decrease in being bluffed out was very much a consolation factor for the risk of flat calling. Outre's main objective is to try and get everyone allin on this flop - the flat call is just a ploy to increase the action not decrease it.

In general just flat calling with top trips on the Net should have a "Handle with Caution Label". In nearly all cases you should try and get everyone allin as the play online is so loose that the range of hands you are facing will be comparatively weak and you will have a nice +EV postion. I can think of one example where my foe had top pair, second flush draw, and put his whole stack in headsup against my top set, in an unraised pot. Yum. People play the flop so very very fast online that you make money by having the best hand in that spot, and passing drawing hands that they may themselves overcommit to. The infamous Sgt Rock "Delta Factor".

gl

dd

Anonymous said...

Hi,

Question: can you give us a link to peter birk's blog that you reference?

I like your blog a lot and would like to read other good ones.

Thanks

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