Friday, January 25, 2008

Antes and bring in

I was poking around in the twoplustwo archives and ran across this old post by Ray Zee.
Posted by: Ray Zee
Posted on: Wednesday, 2 September 1998, at 12:40 a.m.


A $2 bring in with no ante per player is exactly the same as a 25 cent ante with 7 players and a 25 cent bring in. The difference is that with bad players they tend to come in more often when they have an ante as they already feel part of the pot. A no ante bring in game really has an ante that changes in relation to the number of players taking a hand. In your game the ante is fairly small so tight play should get the money if the rake is not too high. Straight and flush cards do well in multi-way pots and highest upcard that is a pair will win money when your cards are live and you improve or can narrow the field down to just a few people. You should play tighter than the good poker books recommend at least until you can get a better grasp of the game. Good Luck.

I don't really know Ray Zee so I don't know if he's an idiot or has a drinking problem or just has a habit of spouting off nonsense without thinking. It's probably the not thinking option.

Of course his two examples are different -- different in a huge way. With the bringin and no ante a caller is getting even money on the call. With the smaller bringin and an ante a caller is getting 8 to 1 on a call.

Of course you'll get more callers with the ante, and not because the callers are bad players who think the ante has tied them to the pot. You'll get more callers because you pretty much have to be insane not to call with that structure.

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Monday, January 21, 2008

PPA Update

Life's a Bluff's blog has some criticism of PPA. I made a comment in the thread. You might want to check it out.

Frank (of Lifesabluff) also made a comment on PPA's discussion forum. I didn't bother because I don't know what their moderation policy is, but I can guess.

Their response to his post is interesting. Basically they argue that we should ignore systematic cheating in the poker industry because we don't want anyone to think there is systematic cheating in the industry.

Good thinking. Bunch of slimeballs.


Thursday, January 17, 2008


Everest Poker thinks they have something to say about country specific player stereotypes. The whole thing sounds fairly ad hoc and not really very rigorous. In fact, the more I think about it the weaker the whole thing looks and I'm wondering why I'm even posting this.

hat tip to


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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Sunday, January 06, 2008

Crazy Asian Gambler

I've been reading The Geography of Thought: How Asians and Westerners Think Differently...and Why.

A basic premise of the book is that
The Chinese believe in constant change, but with things always moving back to some prior state. They pay attention to a wide range of events; they search for relationships between things; and they think you can't understand the part without understanding the whole
Westerners live in a simpler, more deterministic world, they focus on salient objects or people instead of the larger picture; and they think they can control events

This has strong implications as an explanation for the stereotypical Crazy Asian Gambler. That Crazy Asian Gambler is playing the table, not playing individual opponents.

There really is a difference. That was part of the point I was trying to make in my hold'em book when I talked about adapting to table conditions as opposed to other author's suggestions that you should adapt to particular opponents. You can profit from exploiting characteristics of the total mix at the table without having to worry about exploiting individual opponents. That's what the successful Crazy Asian Gambler is doing.

I think this is actually pretty profound stuff.

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Saturday, January 05, 2008

Poker and cheating

I haven't blogged much about the cheating scandal at Absolute Poker, in fact I'm not sure I've blogged about it at all. Mostly because I think blogging about it is pretty much pointless. The attitude of poker rooms everywhere (online and offline) about cheating is that it's best to just ignore it and it will someday go away.

Of course it won't go away, it will always be with us, another reason I think it's almost pointless to blog about it.

An example of they typical attitude about cheating is something that happened at the Coushatta Grand in Kinder right after they opened a few years ago. I was in a 20/40 game and I suspected a player I didn't know of holding out cards. Without going into details of why I thought that (it was a conclusion I came to after a couple hours of observing him and others in the game) I even thought I knew what he was holding out, I thought he was holding out a queen.

I told the floorman my suspicions and asked if he could put a camera on the guy or otherwise watch him.

I don't remember the guys name, although when I later told this story to others in places like Biloxi, New Orleans, Shreveport, and Tunica they knew who he was and told me his name. Let's call him Billy-Bob.

The floorman said, "Oh, that's Billy-Bob, I know all about the stuff he used to pull in private games but I talked to him and he promised me he wouldn't cheat in my room".

That's the typical cardroom attitude about cheating.

I'm glad to see that Lou Krieger is trying to keep the Absolute Poker cheating story alive, but I think it's a futile effort.

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Friday, January 04, 2008


This post briefly explores the idea that extroverts are better at lying than introverts.

This has some application to poker and tells. One of the common tells is that most players tend to shut up, even freeze up, when bluffing. The research above suggests that is more likely to be a reliable tell among non-extroverts. The loud and gregarious types are less likely to exhibit this tell.


Budgets and bankrolls

Ed Miller advocates stop loss as a bankroll management scheme. Mason would be rolling in his grave if he was in one.