Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Response to 'Poker is About ...'

Quite a few poker players weighed in with their thoughts on the goal of poker. My favorite response came from Drizz:

I just trying to avoid sucking.

People that suck don't normally win.

That seems like great advice to me. Poker doesn't have to be narrowed down into one of three choices I listed in the previous post. Players can win simply by concentrating on playing well, although that means different things for different players.

I was glad to hear a diversity of viewpoints from players who prefer to manage risk, adapt varying styles depending on the game format or avoid tough decisions.

Others suggested their own approaches.

The largest group echoed the idea that poker is about decision-making, which is what I was trying to emphasize in the original post. The way to win the most money is to reason through the hand, analyze your opponents, identify patterns, evaluate the likely outcome and make the best choice given the facts at hand.

Plenty of winning players simply fold in tough situations or forgo small edges in exchange for a better spot. These strategies are OK, but they're not always ideal (at least in a cash game).

My underlying thought is you should always make the play that you think is best, whether it's easy or marginal. I know I'm in trouble when I dodge tough situations because I'm afraid of losing.


Recommended Reading: Are you kidding me, Full Tilt?


surflexus said...

If you call Carson folding to my hammer in Okie-Vegas after I fired my third bullet winning, then I suppose he is correct. :)

kurokitty said...

Whenever I feel afraid of losing in a hand, it's because i'm not properly bankrolled. That probably is not the case for you, but if you notice on the CR videos, pros like Taylor Caby really don't sweat losing or having a misread, likely because it won't have a permanent effect on their game and you hear many times that something like that can help set yourself up for the table thinking you're a donk in the future.

I feel a simply stated goal of poker is too simple -- it really is like going to war, you have to take everything in consideration, from your troop size to strategies to intelligence from the field.

Play with these things to your advantage. Remove yourself when you are ground down and morale is low.

I still stand by my two quotes in yesterday's post -- like Sun Tzu, how can you lose if you know your play and your opponents? Rarely you will be in a situation where you don't know where you are in a hand.

Or like Amarillo Slim, I find that whenever I have to guess in a hand, most times I'm on the losing end of that hand.

You don't even have to do much planning if you find your opponent does not -- or cannot.

Drizztdj said...

I was sitting on a 2.5 BI stack and got into a pre-flop raise war with the other big-ish stack at a 6-max PLO8 table.

I could have flat called at any point, but you're not pushing premium hands, you shouldn't be playing. I'll take AAJQ vs. KKQJ any day, except next time the king wouldn't hit the river.

Sure it erased 2 hours of decent grinding and stealing, but if you're not in it to stack someone (regardless of bankroll), don't play.

Shamburglar said...

Once again, all the pundits are wrong. Poker is about "free" drinks in Vegas. That and titties. You see, first you get the money (by winning at poker). Then you get the power (by crushing your opponents). Then...you get the women (titties!). Cram that in your cram holes.