Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Picking on Brother Ed, part CVIII

Okay, I'll admit it, I don't really like Ed Miller. The reason is that he's just a bad neighbor. An unfriendly member of the poker blog community.

To me that just makes him a jerk.

He has a policy of simply not recognizing that he's a member of a community. He never links to other blogs and never gives any sign of recognition when other's link to him. That makes him a bad neighbor, makes him a jerk.

The only thing I can figure is that he learned his neighborly skills from his ultimate mentor, Mason Malmuth. He certianly didn't learn it from his wife, who is actually a pretty good internet neighbor.

Ed has partially parted ways with Mason, primarily because Mason couldn't understand why Ed couldn't (Mason doesn't understand that maybe Ed just didn't want to) control his wife. But for some reason known only to Ed it is still important to Ed that he please Mason.

Part of pleasing Mason means to not recognize other internet sites. It's kind of sad.

But none of that is why I'm making this post. I'm making this post to point out a recent example of Ed missing the point.

Ed gets a question from a loyal reader

Recently a reader of my website, John, asked about the $1-$2 blind game at his local cardroom. Here’s what he had to say about his game:

The players there are very loose and pretty terrible, and they call everything pre-flop.

For example, I’ll be under the gun with A-K, raise to $20 preflop, and I’ll get four callers consistently!

That means the pot is already at $100 when the flop comes, and I usually start the hand with only $300.

A-K is a good hand and is meant to flop top pair, best kicker (1 out of 3 times), but as we all know, flopping one pair is only a ‘good’ hand and not a ‘great’ hand. So when I do flop top pair it puts me in a sticky situation. The pot is already too big!

I have gotten to the point where I think I may do one of the following things:

1. Don’t play as deep, so when I do hit my flop I don’t have to worry about reverse implied odds. (Loose play collusion is a killer there with people hitting two pair with junk.)


2. Simply limp in with hands like A-K, K-Q, A-Q, and so forth, in an effort to keep the pot small if I do hit it.

Ed responds
While John has identified an interesting issue, I think he’s overestimating the frequency of bad outcomes and underestimating the frequency of good ones.

I actually agree with that. AK (even if it's not suited) is actually going to hit a good flop about half the time. It will flop top pair about a third of the time, but other flops put it in pretty good shape (JTx as an example).

But reading Ed's next paragraph leaves me unsure that he and I agree on the above as much as it might seem superficially.

He says,
First off, if you raise to $20 with A-K and a $300 stack and four people call (and it isn’t a fluke), you’re in a fantastic situation. It’s such a good situation that you could probably push all-in every time it’s checked to you on the flop and still turn a profit. If you do something smarter than that (and it’s not hard to get smarter than that) then you’ll be solidly in the black.

No, Ed, you aren't in a fantastic situation in early position with AcKh and a flop of Kd 9s8s with a $100 pot and four people behind you. In fact that's a terrible situation.

Sure, you probably have the best hand. But you aren't real likely to make any money with it. You might, however, lose a hefty slice.

Ed seems to think that the frequency various outcomes is what matters. He says,
Before I continue, I want to disagree with something John said: “Loose play collusion is a killer there with people hitting two pair with junk.” That’s an example of overestimating the frequency of bad outcomes. It’s not the mathematical reality. Even four opponents are a significant underdog to flop two pair among them. For instance, an unsuited connector such as 8-7 has a 4.8 percent chance to flop two pair or better. A pocket pair obviously has a better chance to flop a set, but on average I’d guess one of your four opponents will flop two pair or better no more than 25 percent of the time.

When in early position against a large field you're not going to be able to maximize your win in hands you're ahead in, and you're not going to be able to minimize your lose in hands you're behind in.

The solution is to never make the pot big to begin with when you're out of position. If you hit a perfect pot then fine. If you don't then just let it go.

In a really lose game save those preflop raises for late position.

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Blogger Elaine Vigneault said...

He doesn't link out much because he writes his blog more or less the same way he'd write a magazine article, book, or forum post.

Just because he uses Wordpress doesn't mean it's really a blog. It's just a blog platform. What he's got is a series of articles published online, not a true blog.

It has nothing to do with Mason and Mason's linking habits. It's just Ed doing things his way.

2:33 AM  
Blogger Wayne Vinson said...

Two thoughts, 1 poker and 1 life

I disagree that the AcKh and a flop of Kd 9s8s with a $100 pot and $280 behind is a bad spot. Yes, you're OOP. But Ed's estimate of how likely it is you're beat is about spot on. You can comfortably lead out $100ish here with the intention of calling an all-in re-raise unless it comes from someone who never re-raises on the bluff (or on bad cards as a mistaken value bet). Most of the time you'll get a sizable pot. Some of the time you'll stack KQ or KJ. Every once in a while you'll get stacked. Net, you'll win. When the pot gets that big relative to the stacks and your hand is that strong your job is to ensure you get your shot at the pot.

2) If Ed won't talk to you, why not try striking up a conversation with someone that will? Just as an example my blog supports trackbacks and responds to reader mail or comments on other blogs when appropriate. http://cardsharp.org

I'm not saying you should strike up a conversation with me, but rather pointing out that Ed's not some gold standard of conversation partners. If he won't talk, go elsewhere.

3:58 PM  
Blogger Gary Carson said...

Wayne --

1. It doesn't matter whether or not you're ahead. It matters whether or not you'll make any money.

They always put you on AK when you come in with a raise preflop. That tends to slow them down when you bet a king on the flop.

2. I often read Ed's blog because it's a good source of faulty thinking, not because I care whether or not he talks to me.

3. I added your blog to my RSS feed.

6:04 PM  
Blogger Gargamello said...

Ed must be an older gentleman. I'm guessing this because people aren't really named Ed anymore these days.

12:56 AM  
Blogger DMW said...

I'm biased, but I think that both of mine should be added.

9:54 PM  
Blogger Pokermaniak said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

4:41 PM  
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