What I'm Reading

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Hypothetical Poker

It's important to keep in mind that no single hand should dramatically affect your poker results over your lifetime. Going one step further (or backwards, or sideways, as the case may be), it's also important to remember that once the money is all in, the actual outcome is effectively only negligibly significant. What is important is whether or not the correct (most profitable) play was made.

You can use this knowledge to console yourself in light of a bad beat. Remember, when your aces get all in preflop versus someone's sixes and they river a straight, you're still rich in Sklansky dollars. Go ahead and console yourself with this. It's okay. Just remmeber that whenyour hand holds up against those same sixes, you now owe the metaphorical Sklansky a moderate sum.

Sklansky dollars is a term (derived from the 2+2 forums, I believe) with a meaning synonymous to EV. But much like Sklansky's Fundamental Theorem of Poker which has been shown to be slightly too results oriented by certain game theory models*, simply looking at your EV in a single hand doesn't quite go far enough. This article which was linked to on +1 gives an awesome overview of a lot of concepts that a lot of people (including myself) overlook far too often. The article is a little heavy, but it's definitely worth the read.

*Most notably (at least in my opinion), the Jam or Fold game. Ex: jamming 10BB with T8o from the SB and then folding the T9o in the BB are both optimal plays, although FTOP makes folding look atrocious, even though it isn't

As a side note, because the link is on ESPN's website, I kind of assumed before reading it that the author of it was some Michael Craig or Steve Rosenbloomtype; the kind of guy who knows a little bit about poker and writes well, but isn't necessarily someone reliable in regards to poker theory. After reading it and still not recognizing the author's name, I was frustrated that some ESPN journalist can think about the game in such a complex yet lucid way while I barely even attempt to put this kind of work into my game.

I felt a little better when I checked the article again and learned that Phil Galfond is high stakes no limit cash player OMGClayAiken (which also has to be one of the best online handles).

And briefly, I wanna mention to all Cardrunners members that this weekend, the Brians Hastings and Townsend (I went to HS with a kid named Brian Hastings, but I doubt it's the same guy) played each other heads up at 5/10 pot limit omaha. I watched Townsend's first, and then watched Hastings' while streaming Townsend's so I could see both players' hole cards. These are two amazing videos, so definitely check them out, even if you don't play omaha.


lucko said...

I think Stinger (Brians Hastings) is about your age, could be the same dude.

I thought it was funny when on one video it shows sbrugby timed out with Aces when he fully intended on calling and the other stinger complemented sbrugby on his read and the good fold since he flopped trips. sbrugby runs soooo good.

doylefish said...

I tried to pay for lunch with Sklansky Dollars. Unfortunately they are not a recognised currency yet. :)

Still a good poker theory though.

doylefish again said...

Wish id added this on to my last comment, but yes both those Omaha videos are very very informative.

Played quite a few HU PLO SNG's, and while the format is different, the theory behind hand reading is identical.