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Ignoring Negation oF Outs

"Negation of outs" is just a phrase to refer to situations suggesting that some or all of your outs may not be good if they hit. For example, when you have overcards like

The flop is

And there is a bet and a raise ahead of you; it is easy to see that your "outs" are ignored, to one degree or another, by various reading poker hands rivals may hold (or draws they may complete) which beat any one pair. Of course it is not that so obvious.

Continuously recognizing when your outs are essentially ignored and playing accordingly, is one of the indicator of a skilled player. Similarly, failing to recognize the negation of outs is an indication of bad play.

Sometimes, however, even good players slip into tendency to ignore or fail to accurately assess the negation of outs. This can easily come about as a consequence of subtle tilt. A player may know, under regular conditions, that some or all of his outs are likely to be no good even if they hit. If his play is affected emotionally he may rationalize playing on, talking himself into a read on his rival's hand which indicates that his outs are good.

For example you are having a hand like

And open for a raise with three people left to act behind you. Only the small blind, an average player calls. The flop comes:

Your rival checks and calls your bet. The turn comes:

Again your rival checks and you decided to bet. When you bet, he raises. Generally, thinking completely positively, you would know that you couldn't assume you had seven outs (four for the gut shot draw and the three aces). While your rival might be semi-bluffing or has a hand which does give you seven outs, you would know, depending on the rival, that there is some chance he could have hands ranging from AQ, AA (the latter having been slow-played pre-flop) to A4, 55, 33 or 22. These hands would reduce your outs to either four or three (the latter giving you half the pot). (You can analyze clearly the number of hands your rival might have that make your outs against those that in them by counting similarities. Skylansky has highlighted this factor in his essay online play poker, Gaming & Life. In this example, it is clear without even worrying with this, that your outs are essentially ignored.) Thus, while seven outs is about a 6-to-1 shot, the 6.5-to-1 you are getting from this pot is not enough to call. You cannot win this pot the one time out of seven that the "6-to-1" figure indicates to.

If your judgment is headed by emotion or otherwise caught up, then it will be easy to convince yourself that you do have all seven of those outs. You may decide that your rival is semi-bluffing, despite this being an "average" player whose possibility of making this check-raise without a real hand is insignificant. You may beat him with a hand like

Fairly "sensing" that that is "certainly" what he has, thus negating the other possibilities which are, in fact, real.

It is significant to good play that you stay always careful of negation of outs. I think that neglecting this concept is one of the common indications of the subtle losses of judgment that poker players experience. You should not divulge into other direction and convince yourself that your rivals have hands that have you drawing dead. That would be playing scared or "weak-tight." What's needed is an objective awareness of when some or all of your outs may be negated. If you in the long run find that many of the mistakes involve calls where you have neglected the negation of outs, you should be able to bring back your play into the profitable area through a positive awareness of this poker concept.

•  Overplaying hands . This emerges out of a player's efforts to play better and gain more profit from hands played. He takes it deeply into his mind the relevance of aggressive play. The problem occurs when he fails to see where to draw the line. He may misinterpret the advice he has seen, or may be paying attention to the advice that was too narrowly focused on the relevance of aggression. In this instance, he is acting on the basis on a kind of misinformation.

At the same time, subtle tilt may also be triggered. In this case, it is not difficult to rationalize going beyond the lines of correct play by frequent raising when a call or a fold is favorable.

Let's take the example of over playing many hand. Suppose you are holding before the flop. You raise in an early position, a weak player in the middle position calls, as does a player in a late position. You are unknown with a last position player. The blinds fold. The flop came:

You bet, the first player calls, and the second player raises. You re-raise, the weak player calls, and the unknown player restricts it at four bets. How will you play now? Keep in mind that you do not know this player.

You might consider the following options:

•  Folding right there. (I hope you won't take this option seriously given your pot odds at this level.)

•  Calling with the purpose of checking and folding if you do not improve and he bets on the turn.

•  Calling with the purpose of betting out on the turn provided the turn card does not appear to have completed a draw for a raiser.

•  Calling with the purpose of calling him down if you fail to improve and no scare cards or subsequent action force you to fold.

•  Calling with the purpose of check-raising on the turn whether or not you improve.

Unless you get into the correct play, option "E" would be over playing the hand against a "typical," unknown online poker player. It would not be a severe mistake, for you might in fact have the best hand and gain maximum profit by playing it this way. It would not be a big surprise to pot this option, but it would suggest that he had strayed little out of the zone of correct play as a result of some rationalization of judgment. It would often suggest a bit of tilt. Under different situations, his awareness of the strong chance he is beaten at this point, and will have to improve to win, would take him away from the option.

•  Making too many fancy plays . Another mistake that arise out of deceive efforts to play well is making too many fancy plays. A player reaches a certain level of capability and asks, "Where should I go from here?" Making many fancy plays may look like a logical choice. Such fancy play can easily become habitual - habitual slow-playing, habitual use of uncommon plays. This makes it costly as it takes the place of thorough judgment in individual situations. Deception and irregular plays have their place, but used tentatively they mixes your results.


If you are sure that you are capable of a certain hourly rate but your results over a subsequent (long enough) period are disappointing, one main reason is that you have been playing with subtly impaired judgment. As a serious player you should often determine your play for the mistakes that have been discussed, as well as others which reflect sound judgment. Your ability to identify mistakes will be limited by your knowledge of poker theory. By assessing your play and looking for evidence of subtle losses of judgment, the chances of winning to improve your hand will increase consistently.

Continue Here: A Poker Player In Therapy