re: Poker & This just in! You want bad players at your table.
Originally Posted by BelgoSuisse
Actually I think Harrington goes a bit too far when he advises randomizing nearly all your plays. What matters is that for all your actions there is a sufficient range of hands that the action can represent. It does not matter that a given hand is always played the same way, as long as you also play other hands that way to provide balance.
Actually though, I've given this some thought and I really do not like randomizing your play like that. In general perfectly balancing your range will ensure that you can never be exploited. This also means opponents can never make a mistake (because all decisions are equal ev, that's what it means to perfectly balance your range). With rake this means you can NEVER make a theoretical profit, that all your profit comes from short-term good luck.
For example, cbets:
I know Sklansky has said some of this as well, that your bluffing range should be as wide as the odds
give you. Basically say you're pondering betting 1/2 pot, giving an opponent 3:1 on a call. According to the theory of perfectly balancing your range, you should be bluffing 3 times as much as you value bet. Obviously this is simplified and ignores things like equity when called, people floating with worse hands, your "value" hands actually being behind (or the worse hand having equity), etc.
But basically the logic is that if our opponent knows our range is 75% bluffs and 25% good hands he can't exploit us. If he calls he's picking off a bluff 75% of the time and has to be right 75% of the time for our cbet not to be profitable. But on the other hand we don't profit ever. What we really do is mix it up according to the mistake we expect our opponent to make. If we have opponents who fold too much, we do something to make our cbet range 80% bluffs and 20% value bets. This way we have an edge, but most opponents won't be able to observe this in any short period of time to exploit it. On the other hand when opponents call too much we may make our cbet range be 70% bluffs and 30% value bets.
Obviously if our opponent calls too much we should pretty much just not bluff at all, but the problem is our opponent will still make adjustments, and it doesn't take a genius to stop calling when a villain only cbets like 20% of the time and always shows up with top pair or better. So against a perfect player, we should attempt to perfectly balance our range, because the best we can do against a perfect player is to break even (with no rake). The real answer though is to not play against a perfect player, and since none exist, no one really has this problem. We need to sufficiently balance our range though such that we exploit our opponents without them realizing what we are doing and being able to adjust to our changes.