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Aces Full of It: The Problem of Pre-flop

May 26th, 2016 by Justin Buchanan
Rough sketch of my reaction to the following. (Source:

Rough sketch of my reaction to the following.

This one’s going to be colored by my experience in micro stakes MTT events even more so than usual, just to get it out there. You see, in that poker niche, there is something of a phenomena that, well, doesn’t make the most sense to me.  Namely, an acute difference of behavior of the usual fishies between pre and post flop play.

The Sanity Line

What I’ve noticed is this: even among the most reckless players (with one notable exception,) da fishies who resort to unfettered, reckless aggression are much less aggressive post flop than they are pre-flop. This is especially evident when it comes to putting all the chips in the middle.  The same guy who shoved 3 hands ago, if he happens to limp in and the limp sticks, even if he does bet out after it is very seldom a shove.

It’s like the flop is some kind of line in the sand and once it’s crossed, the sanity of all but the worst players increases at least a little bit.  I am shamefully bereft of ideas for explanations for this.  The only thing I can possibly think is that somehow when three of the five community cards are dealt, some measure of reality sets in for everyone in the hand, and dreams of luckboxing and beating out AA by drawing 4 cards to a derpo flush die out in their little fishie brains.

How the heck do you tell what goes on in a head like THAT?! (Source:

How the heck do you tell what goes on in a head like THAT?!

DO fish players dream of catching that kind of luck? What even IS their mental process, really? As much as I advocate playing the players over just playing your cards, and as astute as I’ve become at figuring out what the fishies are thinking, I am totally at a loss as to how fishies think.

I have no ability to form a frame of reference for what actually goes on in their heads, only what comes out of those heads. I only know that the way they think is not the way I think. They could indeed have ambitions about having good luck over actually, well, winning. They could have some process that actually concludes that shoving pre-flop with four players left to act with something like 78s is a good idea. They could not be thinking at all. It could be all three of these things, or none of them at all somehow.

The point is, I don’t know. And I really don’t like that I’m this clueless about this. I seriously only realized how little I know about this literally as I was typing out this blog post.  I didn’t know what direction I was even going after that first big paragraph. I’m freaking out, maaan! What is love? Baby, don’t hurt me! If 42 is the answer then what is the question?!  WHY would a woodchuck chuck wood even if he c–

(Windows error tone). (Source:

(Windows error tone). (Source:

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