Monday, July 25, 2005

The Question

YTD: +$11091.89

Well posts on here have been about as common as The Hendon Mob Diary entries. Has anyone checked out that morgue recently? It is truly terrible. There seemed to be a minor revolt the other day where someone dared ask WTF was the point of the site anymore, but thank god Harry "Gus Layne Danny Doyle are my Best Friends" Dem was on track to put things right. I never understood the Prima sponsorship deal. I wonder if Prima are now starting to ask the same question.

Enough gossip, this was actually going to be about poker for a change, and about asking the right questions.

Most of the interesting questions in Poker are meta questions like "which game should I play", "why am I losing", "how does my style effect my profitability", "why am I *still* losing" etc. These are tough questions to answer.

Questions about individual hands are often not as interesting, however in some cases, where a seemingly sensible approach can lead to completely the wrong view, it is about asking the RIGHT question. There was a interesting case on 2+2 recently on the Omaha8 forum about PLO8b. You can read about it here at

There is a lot of talk about +EV and getting 3 to 1 on each of the bets called. But they are not asking the right question. Which is given the hero's statement that he almost never passes a nut low in this spot, he is in effect betting his whole stack, and saying what is his return when the smoke is cleared. The bets on the other streets are illusory, kinda.

The analysis then becomes a straightforward one. Assuming that he will get 1/4d or even 1/6d some of the time, can he make money on the reminder of his hands? Using some rough estimates, I got the Hero losing about $500 over 30% of his hands, hands where he puts some money in but gets some, less, back. This means he would have to make $500 plus over the remaining 70% of his hands just to break even. Is this possible?

One of his foes has a short stack. If this is the "carvee", then he will have potentially risked his entire stack for half of fcuk all. He has to hope that he gets to carve up the other full stack instead, but he has no strong outs for the high. It wouldn't be too unreasonable to have almost no outs for the high. Lastly, none of the calculations so far have included the chance that he puts money in on the turn, but is counterfeited by the river.

Clearly, obviously, when you ask this question, he is not getting the right price. It may be a fold on the flop, although most players would struggle to make it. It certainly is a fold on the turn.

The Question is a crusading television journalist who is determined to root out corruption where he finds it. To that end, when he encounters stories he can't investigate by normal or legal means, he dons a special mask, kept in a special compartment in his belt buckle, that makes it appear that he has no face


DeadEyedJacks said...

Saw that 2+2 post myself and thought his fundamental O8 strategy is flawed...

Your analysis hit the nails on their heads.

bare A2 can be counterfeited.

Even if it isn't he can get quartered.

He needs a way to scoop...

I would fold it on that flop with a bet and call in front.

He's only posted the blind, wait for a better situation.

Gergery said...

Why not post that at 2+2?

I have to say, re-reading that 2+2 thread, it does look terrible


Big Dave D said...

Thanks jack and gergey.

I guess there are a couple of reasons not to post it on 2+2. Obviously I want the traffic. Also, I have had some fairly pointless experiences on the Omaha 8b forum talking about plo8b, which I have alreaqdy talked about in the blog. Lastly, it struck me as such an obvious mistake in thinking by several people who are playing high in terms of plo8b, that I didn't want to rock the boat too much :)



Big Dave D said...

Incredibly, I'm hyaving another pointless experience on that forum now. Deja vu all over again.



Gergery said...

Well I’d prefer you get involved in the discussion, as you obviously understand Omaha games well. I’ll even make a PLO8 post in the PLO forum as an enticement for you….

Which posts in your blog deal with the O8 forum difficulties?


wintermute said...

Shit, Greg, you gave up so easy... I still stand by my analysis (and that of others) in the thread you linked to, BDD. I can't make much sense of the analysis you've posted here b/c (1) it's handwaving (you decide the hero gets 1/4'd "roughly 30% of the time", where did that come from) and (2) you don't seem to account for the possibility that the hero will end up with 3/4 of the pot some of the time, as happened in that example. (Without any raising action on that flop, it is definitely not necessarily the case that hero should be planning *only* on the prospect of the short stack will be carved up.)

Also, I'm sorry to hear that your intelligence is again being insulted in the PLO8/LO8 vs/ PLO8/PLO debate. It must be difficult to be the only soul to understand these games and their inter-relationships.

Lastly, I wish you wouldn't keep your secret high-stakes internet poker pro knowledge to yourself rather than risk correcting such obvious mistakes of myself and other high-stakes mortals... after all, your yearly results (which are certainly far superior to those of any other 2+2 high-stakes mistake-makers such as myself) bear the mark of a fantastically gifted player.

Big Dave D said...


I didnt post where I got the 30% $500 thing from for brevity sake. It may be too high, for sure. The point was is that if there is a reasonable chunky bunch of -EV to overcome, then you dont have to work out the nuances of how that may be overcome, but rather can it be overcome at all. And regardless of how much we put aside for the losing side, I would stand by the fact that it is going to be hard to make that money up in the situation described. This is the advantage of looking at the question from a bigger perspective, than just the "I'm getting 3:1 one." And is analagous to the reductio ad absurdum argument.

What I would say is that if the thinking behind that hand was different, then it may be ok to play it that way. For example if the hero says, well I dont like it but...and then the bets are quite small then he may be justifed in going to the river.

I didn't say that my intelligence was being insulted on the Omaha8 forum. I said I have had some pointless experiences there. I have been playing plo8b for quite a while now, and have posted there about the game for a similar length of time.

As a whole, I don't mind being wrong. Regular visitors to this blog will have seen me often admit to making mistakes and being plain dumb. The discussion here is very robust and completely free of the kind of processes that forums like 2+2 fall victim to.

Lastly, I'm not a pro, nor do I ever pretned to be. It's just a name for the site. But I have been a winning player for a very long time, but just now, I am going through a disasterously bad patch. If you get to play long enough, you will see them too.



Big Dave D said...


the post is here:

whereas the plo forum has a history of frequent disagreement, the Omaha8 one has always been a bit more Ministry of Truth like.