Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Ought versus Is

Poker how-to books tend to be prescriptive, they talk about what should be rather than what is. Some poker non-fiction is more descriptive, but those don't really tend to fall cleaning into the how-to genre. Examples of pretty straightforward how-to stuff would be my books, anything written by Harrington, that kind of stuff.

I always thought that was a pretty obvious characteristic of the how-to genre.

Which is why I was surprised when I saw the thread on 2+2 that started out
If you take a look at Harrington on Hold 'Em Volume 1, published just before 2005, you'll notice that in it Dan says "I like my continuation bets to be about half the size of the pot" and "...half-pot is an ideal size...". He goes on to say you can vary your c-bets from around 40% pot on the low side (for dryer flops) to 70% pot on the high side (for the very, very drawy flops). He appeared to believe half the pot was enough to deny proper odds even on something like a J82hh board

It seems to me the average size of a continuation bet has gradually gotten larger and larger since then.
Even more amazing than the question, it that none of the answers pointed out the question was based on a false premise, they all took it was a real question and tried to rationalize an answer.

The right answer was simply that the norm was never a half-pot bet. If used to be full-pot size bet, anthing smaller was considered an underbet. Since Chris Ferguson popularized the idea of a half-pot sized bet the typical bets have gotten smaller, not bigger.

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2 Comments:

Blogger Greylocks said...

There might be some confusion between cash game and tournament play here. There are at least two good reasons why you might want to make smaller continuation bets in a tournament than you might in a cash game in an otherwise identical situation. The first is that in many stages of many tournaments, it's often fairly easy to push players off the pot because they are trying to survive and don't want to risk even a moderate amount of chips chasing. Pushing players off pots in these situations is much harder to do in most cash games, where chasers don't mind calling a pretty big bet on the flop if it gives them a shot to bust you on the turn. The second is that in tournaments, the per-chip value of chips you lose is always higher than the per-chip value of chips you win, whereas in cash games the value is the same. This means you are effectively getting worse pot odds in a tournament than you would in a cash game in an otherwise identical situation.

5:42 PM  
Blogger DMW said...

Could it be because more people were used to playing pot-limit than no limit and it was easier to say "
pot"

7:58 PM  

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