Let Them In Or Keep Them Out? The Horserace Paradox & Poker

Poker Concepts, Strategy
November 15, 2007

A while back I wrote about the horserace paradox. I want to continue that discussion specifically in the context of poker.

A common decision in poker arises when you have the option of betting aggressively to drive out opponents or being passive as a means of keeping them in the hand. It should be obvious that this is in some ways related to the scenario in the horserace paradox article, where additional opponents with a limited chance to win cause a frontrunner to perform worse. I got to thinking about this issue because of a number of columns in Roy Cooke’s Real Poker II in which he advocated letting additional opponents in preflop in limit holdem when holding pocket aces because by calling they were making a mistake and therefore he must be benefiting by conservation of money. My intuition at the time was that Cooke was wrong and that those players were often not making a mistake by calling. But I wasn’t certain. Subsequently I’ve thought about it more, and I’m convinced Cooke was wrong but the situation is much more complicated than I originally thought. Read the rest of this entry »

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No Limit Holdem Postflop Play: Taking Stock After The Flop

No Limit Texas Holdem, Strategy
November 12, 2007

The flop is the defining moment in holdem. Play before the flop focuses on setting yourself up to flop something good. Play after the flop is about figuring out what your opponent flopped and drawing at or defending against draws made on the flop. Before the flop you’re dealing with hypotheticals unless you hold a big pair. After the flop you’re dealing with a much better defined situation.

Because the flop serves as a dividing line for the hand, it’s the perfect place to take stock of your situation. Misunderstanding the implications of the flop is the primary cause of costly stack-sized mistakes. So here are some things you should figure out before proceeding: Read the rest of this entry »

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Reading The Board In Holdem & Omaha High

Dealing & House Procedures, Limit Texas Holdem, No Limit Texas Holdem, Pot Limit Omaha, Strategy
November 2, 2007

Reading the board quickly and accurately is an important skill for both players and dealers. It is the process of looking at the community cards and determining the following information:

  1. What hands are possible on the current board
  2. What draws are possible (assuming there are cards to come)
  3. Where a given set of hole cards sits into the range of possible hands, or how two hands compare Read the rest of this entry »
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