Friday, December 21, 2007

avoiding tough decisions

I havn't read Professional No-Limit Hold 'em: Volume I (pretentious titles turn me off) but The Surly Poker Gnome has a quibble with this passage.
Many players think experts win because they make these tough decisions well. They miss the point. Good players plan ahead to avoid tough decisions, and so should you.
Here's what The Surly Poker Gnome says about it
Yes, it's true that avoiding tough decisions by planning your hands can help improve your game. But money isn't made by dodging difficult situations. Profits come from making correct decisions, whether they're simple or complicated.
They're both wrong.

You do not make money in poker by being smart. You make money by the other guy not being smart. You simply want to avoid mistakes.

The decisions you want to focus on are the ones with big potential payoffs and small risk, it doesn't matter whether they're easy ones are hard ones, it doesn't matter whether you make most decisions correctly. It matters that you make the important ones correctly.


Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Enticing a call

I don't know why this works, but it does.

In a 1/2 game I limped UTG with KK. The limp left me with a stack of $125. Another early position player made it $15 and two players called. The raiser had another $75, the other two each had a couple hundred. I made a huge overbet, moving all in.

The initial raiser went into the tank and gave me his best imitation of a TV staredown.

Then I said the magic words. "Can you beat two jacks?"

Somewhat taken aback, he said, "Maybe".

I said, "Well, then you know what to do".

He called. One of the other two called, the other folded.

I turned my hand over, the board got dealt, they both mucked.

I don't know why causing them to focus their thoughts on a pair of jacks makes them call, but it does.

I have some thoughts about what the reason might be though.

When they mention a pair of jacks they'll tend to think about your hand as it relates to jacks, not as it relates all the other information they might have. They'll tend to think, "He might have jacks, he might have overcards to jacks, he might have a pair smaller than jacks and he might have a pair bigger than jacks. But he's thinking about jacks, so he probably doesn't have a bigger pair, he probably has TT and my KQ is a coin toss".

I don't really know though. But it works.

I learned this trick from John Mioton, I guy I used to play with in Mississippi (in Gulfport and later in Tunica). John has a lot of technical flaws in his understanding of the game but he does have very good insight into people.