Tuesday, June 17, 2008

If It Ain't Good Enough To Raise With....

I played an entire session yesterday without calling a single bet. I forced myself to either raise or fold every time it was my turn to act.

Wow that was difficult.

An additional problem arose when one of my opponents figured out what I was doing, adjusted his game and started raising me back. This turned into a whole 'nother game within a game for the two of us.

But for most everyone else at the table my raise or fold persona worked. I was often playing their cards much more than my own. Especially since I couldn't do any of my "Hey I got a piece of the flop let me call a couple of small bets routine." I had to make a decision one way or the other.

I played fewer hands than I normally would from the blinds. I just didn't feel as comfortable raising from there.

Damn it was powerful to raise with medium or bottom pair and watch opponents fold top pair lousy kicker.

It also seemed worthy to raise, get reraised, and throw my hand into the muck. Rather than call and find out the same truth a street or two later.

In the long run I obviously need to call sometimes when playing poker. When I picked up queen 10 suited on the button yesterday I really just wanted to see the flop. However I raised and my opponent quickly moved all in and I had to muck. This would have been a great time for me to disregard this strategy and see the flop. But I was committed to raising or folding, so I raised.

The way I also dealt with not being able to call was for me to vary my raise sizes. Sometimes the small raise was me buying another card in a spot where I'd normally call. Other times I was hiding a big hand and mixing it up.

Overall, quite the fun experience.


Check Raise Chin said...

Hey Rob,

From a math perspective I think it's +EV in the long run to raise preflop and on the flop. Based on the numbers, the chance of a person hitting a pair on the flop with any two hole cards is roughly 2-1 against, so if you bet you should win 2 out of 3 pots (this is if I understand this theory right). So over a sample of let's say 3k hands you should be up $1k (if the stakes were a dollar for example). I'm not sure if this applies to NL but it makes sense to me in limit at least.

I don't know if this is true or not but based on the odds of the other player hitting his/her hand is low, therefore staying aggressive is better than just calling. That's the theory at least.

Anyway that's my attempt at game theory in poker.

Keep up the good work bro!

Check Raise Chin said...

Hey Rob,

I came across this article about variance. It's a interesting read.

Here's the link:


Good Luck at the tables!

eric said...

hey rob,
this is the guy who did the lights for no time. i have to change careers soon and my question to you is: which artist(s) would be more fun to tour with as lighting designer, Tony Orlando or Gwar?

Robert said...

Gwar. Unless you have to ride in the bus with them in which case I'd say Tony Orlando.