Friday, August 01, 2008

Two For The Money

"Still you talk like this. Who the fuck are you, like this is some kind of game. I was betting a few thousand a Sunday when I called you. You pushed me. Every call. All the time with your talk... I lost $380,000 this weekend... I was going to get married... I had a life..."

The above lines come from a movie which is included in the category I described in an earlier blog entry, which are movies from the "never bad enough to not be worth watching" genre.

The movie, "Two for the money", stars Al Pacino as the owner of a Vegas company which resolves around advising sports-betting addicts on what team to pick before a football match takes place. If they are right they get 10% of the addict's winnings. If they are wrong they may lose a customer.

The concept about the company's structure was quite interesting to me. Which is gambling with other's people's money and getting paid if you are right. Which translates into having an infinite bankroll to gamble with as long as the supply of gambling degenerates does not lose the trust in the company and steps over to competitors.

Most of those aspects can actually be applied to poker.

Gambling with other people's money? I probably have to lose over 20k dollars before I have to put in money again which originally did not come from another poker player's paycheck.

Losing customers or having customers move over to the competition? Also quite applicable. I generally get in a lot of situations where some preflop action is directly +EV but not the best one:

Here is one example from those:

$1/$2 No Limit Holdem
6 players
Converted at

UTG ($480.20)
UTG+1 ($134.85)
CO ($200.00)
BTN ($240.00)
SB ($200.00)
Hero ($230.00)

Pre-flop: ($3, 6 players) Hero is BB

1 fold, UTG+1 calls $2, 1 fold, BTN raises to $9, 1 fold, Hero raises to $30, UTG+1 folds, BTN folds

Final Pot: $21

Hero wins $42 ( won +$12 )
BTN lost -$9.00
UTG+1 lost -$2.00

So what is interesting about this hand? Not the hand itself, but rather my range for deciding on my preflop options here, and my 3bet sizing:

In the above example, there's a 38/10 fish limp-calling, who gets iso-raised by a 23/19 44% attempt to steal regular solid player. In this spot, the regular's range will be huge, and ATs is definitely way ahead of it, but still not that easy to play OOP. The fish's range here is huge here as well.

This is a very +EV spot to make a resteal, and I could show the math behind it if people are interested, but this was the only hand I hated from today's session.

Why is this? Because the times where this fish will limp, and solid player will isolate will be happening tons of times. The direct equity of making this preflop play is a few dollars, but how is it longterm?

The story behind the lines here is that a fish wants to limp into a lot of pots, because he likes to see flops. Curious what K8o can hit? You don't know before the flop! And then there's mr. solid regular who recognizes that, and makes an isolation raise here with tons of trash. He knows he has an edge on the fish and wants to keep other players out.

3betting here takes advantage of that, and is directly +EV. But when I 3bet here it will mean the fish will be slightly more unhappy. He wanted to see a cheap flop by limping in and a lot of people raise and reraise behind him. He has to fold, and does not succeed at what he wants. Yet if I just call here the fish will be happy enough to call and see if he can hit two 8's, I will see the flop 3-ways, even while OOP, there still will be one huge fish in the pot to exploit postflop. And a solid reg with a range I am ahead off.

The positional disadvantage is bad, but keeping the fish in will still make calling here a +EV spot. When I have random trash in these spots, which will happen quite often with this table lineup, I can still exploit the regular a bit by restealing now and then. But just calling here with a decent part of my range will keep the fish in the pot, which is good in itself, and reduces the chance he becomes unhappy by never seeing a flop at all and moving to other tables, or worse, quiting for the day.

The most interesting aspect about the movie was about the person from the quote starting this entry. This world has millions of gambling degenerates who are willing to lose lots of money. Sadly, I am not playing the limits yet where someone ends up crying because he lost 380k dollars to me. I am working on that though.

Almost all the money won by the regulars at FTP at these limits comes from recreational players and small gamblers. Gamblers are people who play expecting to lose, while the regulars are people who profit from their presence.

For instance, my july database which does not include any datamined hands, but only those from tables I were playing at, shows that the total losses made by 4056 different players is $44k. Which equals the total rake paid.
Yet if I change the filter to players who played at least 300 hands at those tables, they did not lose to rake at all. The total profit from those 250 players is about $11k even while over half of them are still fish.

In short, over the last month I've seen recreational players and gamblers donate $55k dollars to the poker community. This means that if that group is so eager to give their money away, I really need to stop making fancy plays vs them and save those for regulars who try to exploit me a bit too often. Why should I not play my hands face-up vs opponents who would not even notice it if I handed them a telescope, and why should I not use exploitable bet sizes vs people who can't spot the difference anyways?


Anonymous Neilis said...

Nice post Soultwister.. I must really remember to read your blog more often!

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