Losing is winning?
Recently I am reading David Sklansky's "The Thoery of Poker". Firstly I wish to recommend it to anyone who hasn't read it. It is a really good "textbook" on the basics.
But I have some trouble rationalizing one of his key concepts. Basically, he says when you make the right decision by betting sufficient amount with the best hand, but get outdrawn by a lucky opponent (say, with a flush on river), you are still profitted by your decision even by losing. This is because, as Mr. Sklansky argues:
(1) weaker players would have lost more in your position
(2) In the long run your correct bet will earn you money because the opponent is calling with a negative expected return. So each of your bet is earning you profit.
This is where I get confused. Here is why:
(1) Weaker players would't have bet as much, thus giving the opponent correct odds
to call and in the same manner lost to a flush on river. The weaker player actually lost LESS because he didn't bet as much on Flop and Turn. It would be correct to argue that the weaker player does not profit as much if the flush doesn't connect, which happens more often, but we are talking about the made flush here.
(2) Past results won't affect future outcomes. For example, if you play the same hand 300 times MORE, roughly in 100 hands your opponent will make his flush by river. However, your opponent won't win one LESS hand (99 hands) because he has got you one here. A loss is a loss and your precious stack is shortened. It won't come back because you deserve it. In the next one million hand, your expected earning is independent of what just happened.
So I want to argue that a bad beat still sucks. I don't think one can call it profitting at all - because you actually lost money. By making the right decision you should earn money, but in fact you lose money here.
By making the correct decision every time you should win in the long future, but your bad beat just now will always drag that average down a bit. If you are really unlucky you will lose to 3:1 underdog 10 times in a row and go broke, even if you are expected to be a millionaire.
That sucks, man!
Yet we still have to do what we know is right, and swallow annoying bad beats often. From time to time I wish luck is totally taken out from this game -- but that's what keeps the weaker players around.