Thursday, May 08, 2008

Genie in a bottle

If you could magically acquire one poker skill, what would it be?

John Vorhaus asks the question in this month's Cardplayer.

Would you rather have the ability to reraise bluff on the river, exercise a laser-sharp memory, make plays, be fearless, read hands, manipulate table image or always know the odds?

Vorhaus doesn't answer the question, but I know which of the choices I would pick.

I'd want to be a master hand reader. Of all those skills, pinpoint hand reading would result in the most extreme profits. It would be like being a superuser on Absolute Poker.

Who needs courage if you can consistently narrow your opponent's range to a handful of possible cards? Why worry about your bluffing frequency when you can always force your opponents to fold their weak, transparent hands? What good is memory when you know what your opponent has? Why bother with higher-level math when a basic knowledge of pot odds will do?

Superior hand reading is more important than any of these individual skills. You don't need fancy plays when your opponents' cards are obvious.


Countryboy said...


Interesting post.

As a beginner - better discipline post flop would probably make the biggest difference to my game. Giving in to the recognition that I was probably beat - and resisiting the urge to pay another bet... just in case I hit a helpful card!

WillWonka said...

In the online world, it is so hard to be a hand reader so I think I would like the memory especially when you couple in the fact that we are playing multiple tables. Sure we have HUDs that help us with our memory.

Theoritially, hand reading would be the bomb; but I'm not sure how possible it is with online play. Now, Live play is another story and hand reading would be the one.

pokerpeaker said...

This really is a stupid question because if you do have the outstanding hand-reading skills, all the other skills would fall into place. You could re-raise bluff, for instance, if you knew what your opponent had.

Good post though.

HighOnPoker said...

Wonka has a good point. Online, hand reading is especially limited. That's why I love live play. Since we are dealing with "magic" here, though, I agree that it is the most useful skill. I also agree with Peaker, though. Masterful hand reading incorporates a lot of the other possible skills, like memory, so it also had unfair advantages over some of the other possible skills listed.

For my dollar, I'm still going with Hand Reading, especially live. For online poker, assuming that hand reading is naturally limited, I'd want the memory, since it's the closest thing to hand reading.

Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Easy. I choose the power to always win when I get it in ahead. Just give me that and I will guarantee you sick profits.

Btw LOL at everyone saying you can't read hands online. I really love that stuff.

Bayne_S said...

If you have the frckn Genie why can't you make it always peel off the perfect river card?

I have found the most profitable play in poker is when you have trips against a flush chaser on paired board and river is his suit but pairs your other card