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Introduction

 

Waste of Energy on Deception


The readers may find that points in this essay are incredibly obvious. On the other hand, others will still maintain that they can tell when they are on a rush, or which seat is presently "hot," or which dealers they should prevent. As a serious poker player, I expect that many great players continue to rely on these deceptions. For doing so, they invest their entire energy in insignificant, sometimes expensive activity irrespective of what really matters at the poker table: The quality of the play. That is one of the many components that keep the game beatable for players who waste their energy unnecessarily.

Bad Beat? Think Again

The important feature of an advanced poker player is the ability and experience to process much information together during a hand. For instance, suppose a player thinks he has a hand which is worth betting on the flop. Before acting he may be absorbed in reading his rival's hands while he ascertain the chances of his own hand improving, and considers the advantages of betting out against check-raising. Other than this example, numerous combinations of other elements contend for a player's attention on a normal basis. The good players are usually aware of and evaluate more elements than other players. Even a skilled player fails to receive some significant information.

The immediate result can be a misplayed hand. But not processing all important elements in a hand can have little obvious result. The most common is that the missed information affects a player to evaluate a rival's play incorrectly, costing him money in future hands played against his rival.

I noticed a hand lately in which this was the situation. Before the flop, Ben, a weak, loose player, called in an early position. Carl raised him in a middle position, a better than the average, but not an expert player who tries to remove weaker players with raises. The player next to him folded. Dean, fairly skilled and aggressive but far too loose aggressive player, made it three bets in a late-middle position. The player behind him folded. Ann, a poor player who will call raises pre-flop with weak hands, called in the big blind. Both Ben and Carl called. The flop came:

Everyone in the game checked to Dean who bet. Ann, the big blind, raised. Ben folded and Carl the original raiser, made it three bets. Dean responded with four bets. The two players called. The turn was the:

Ann checked, but Carl continued to bet. Dean now raised again. Ann folded and Carl called. The river was the five of clubs, and both players checked. Carl turned over his card:

Dean won with having:

Carl showed frustration and disgust at what he played as a bad beat. He added a scornful comment about Dean being psychic and knowing what was coming on the turn.

As I stated, Carl is a good, skilled experienced player. He should know a bad beat when he looks one. (Whether bad beats are bad, is different story.) Was the beat that bad? I don't guess so. Frankly speaking, Dean played the hand well at the best level. Carl's general anger of Dean's re-raise on the flop. But as I consider the case I have to say that the re-raise was compulsory. By putting in that extra bet Dean forced Ann, in the big blind, to fold - something which would increase his chances of winning the pot if he missed his flush, but paired either of his cards (and if she fail to fold he would get 2-to-1 odds on a hand that was likely less than 2-to-1 to win). While the extra raise did not have the desired effect on the flop, it was a fair alternative given the relatively big pot. Whether or not Dean thought about it this way, however, I don't know. He may have felt like playing his high flush draw aggressively.

Yet, the action itself suits with the good play. Dean's raise on the turn was correct for a same reason. If Ann was having a hand like then getting her out, even at the risk of being re-raised by Carl, stopped her from drawing out and taking the pot away from Dean in the situation that his pair of jacks was good. Even if Ann had called, at that spot her odds would have been cut to the point where, based on her hand, her call would possibly have been incorrect. (Refer to The Theory of Poker written by David Skylansky for more discussion on such raises.)
I think Carl did not notice Dean's flush draw. As he was not considering a flush draw for Dean during the hand, when he saw the hands at the showdown, he saw only the ace and jack. He thus discovered Dean had played passionately and got very lucky. It is difficult to believe he would have been so riskier had he been aware of the additional outs provided by the flush draws. By not processing the concept of the hand his perception of Dean's playing pattern was indistinct. If he later assumes Dean to be a passionate player than he actually is, he might play incorrectly against him.

Again I found myself in Dean's place, accused of putting a bad beat on someone when I was drawing to outs of which the accuser wasn't informed. I guess that the cause of the mental instability is emotional, as it appeared to be for Carl. To him, nervousness (or maybe irritation?) during the hand collided with his consideration; thus avoiding from taking in all significant information. Then his frustration and disappointment at losing the pot again blinded him to the flush draw which place before him on the table. (Though debatable, his failure to bet out Dean, thus knocking out Ann and Ben, is easily assessed than anything in Dean's play.)

There is no one who is aware of all significant information at all times while he plays. However, if emotion is intervening with your awareness while you play, you may need to consider the nature and cause of the reactions you are holding. That is, what kind of feeling you possess (anger… frustration… humiliation…?) and why. Though the answer for the question may ultimately be complicated, anything you can perceive may prove a positive step toward reducing the problem. (Other essays that may provide some favorable ideas in this field are those on the fact of "tilt" and also "A Poker Player in Therapy.")

Continue Here: Why Learn To Beat Tougher Games?

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