Friday, April 28, 2006

 

Picking Holes In Myself And Others

I noticed something in the post Grand Designs that could use clarification.

"Time and again they grill their opponent for that elusive read, when the pot and stack sizes clearly dictate one play or the other. When they guess on the basis of their "read" alone, half the time they'll get it wrong."

When I say "get it wrong", I don't mean that in the sense that a lot of people would think. Allow me to explain. If you raise with 99, your opponent reraises all in, you're getting 3/1 on the call and his possible hands are AA, KK, QQ and AK then you should call. You're only a 2/1 dog against his range. If you stare at him for five minutes, "decide" that he has an overpair, fold, and he shows you Kings, the fold is still wrong. It's like Greenstein's distinction between the perfect play (what you would do if you could see your opponent's cards) and the right play (what you should do given that you can't). Still, try explaining that one to the Joe Stillmans of this world ...

Speaking of which, I am rapidly losing interest in the WSOP 2005 downloads as we have reached the point where most of it is just people going all in and shouting a lot. All the same we have reached Tiffany Williamson's fifteen minutes in the spotlight. And that was just one hand (boom boom). Add one more to the long list of things not to when playing poker in front of the cameras : don't verbalise your thinking (this is a bad thing to do at any time). Announcing that "I know you don't have Aces" when your opponent's Aces are being broadcast to the whole Western Hemisphere via hole card cameras makes you look a bit stupid. At least if you keep it shut then you might still get credit for making the right decision for the wrong reason [1]. I do think Sheikhan missed a trick on this hand. When Williamson tries to wander off (presumably to phone a friend), he protests, but not too strongly. If he had started foaming at the mouth and demanding that her hand be killed, she might have found a reason to call. Padraig would have done it for sure.

[1] Or the perfect decision, as above. For example, if you fold Kings just because you're a big girl and want to last longer, you'll look like a super stud if the guy does happen to have Aces, provided you keep your trap shut.

While I'm here there's a moderately interesting hand quiz on Ben Grundy's blog which I couldn't resist chipping in to.

Comments:
It could be argued that by 'looking into someone's soul' a la Hellmuth, you are narrowing down their range further from the initial range the reraiser is given credit for.

In this case, the decision to lay down could be seen as the right play, as well as the perfect play.
 
God dammit. There was another one of me at work, based in California, who reception used to send my T-shirts to. And now this !

I'm going to change my name to Ebeneezer McJehosophat or something.

Andy :-)
 
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