# Book Discussion: Theory of Poker, chapters 4-7

#### F Paulsson

##### euro love
Silver Level
Reading assignment for this week: Chapters 4-7.

First off:

Antes: How does the antes affect the game? Specifically, how does it affect how you play in a limit hold'em game vs. no-limit?

Pot odds: Calling on the river, extra outs, etc.

Effective odds: When pot odds do not necessarily apply

Implied odds and Reverse implied odds: Understanding the former is easy - but do you see the latter?

These chapters are absolutely imperative to learn and understand. Reverse implied odds, specifically, can be tricky to understand the implications of. Also, how does a low ante in no-limit games affect your decisions?

Discussion galore!

NOTE:
Please do not quote the book. This thread is to help broaden the understanding of the book, not rip off the copyright of it. Feel free to discuss, but try doing so without infringing on David Sklansky's and 2+2 Publishing's intellectual property rights. Thank you.

#### starfall

##### Visionary
Silver Level
Antes are just another form of forced bet, and therefore encourage action. Just play a micro limit 7 Card Stud game where they don't have an ante if you want to see what difference it makes. In online HoldEm you generally see them in the later stages of a tournament. The first change is that stealing the blinds, and generally playing looser and more aggressively is more important, as the starting size of the pot is larger. If you can steal a couple of pots around, then with the increasing blinds and antes, then you'll quickly start to build up a good chip stack, so you don't then necessarily need to play big pots. The other change, is that if you've just missed the blinds in a non-ante game, and you're a serious short-stack, then you can sit for several hands waiting for a premium (or at least better) hand. If you have antes being deducted from your stack each turn, then this becomes less of an option, as your short stack will rapidly dwindle even between the blinds. This forces you to a) push all-in earlier, so you don't get so short-stacked, and b) gamble, since you can't wait on a better hand.
I'd say that antes probably result in short-stacks going out faster, so if you want a tournament to end more quickly, then it's probably a good thing. If you're a tighter, less aggressive player, then you're better off with non-ante tournaments, as you'll have more chance to bide your time.

#### F Paulsson

##### euro love
Silver Level
Sklansky makes it pretty clear that by "antes" he means any forced bets, including blinds.

Was this a comment on chapter 4? I'm not sure I follow.

#### Xandit

##### Rock Star
Silver Level
I found what Sklansky said was that the lower the Anties (blinds) the tighter you should play, due to the less money in the pot initally. At a higher antie game the looser you should play due to larger amount of money already in the pot. And the fact that your oppents are playing less strong hands due to the high anties. At this level you should be playing more draws due to the odds. Also if you raise with a good hand you could get some playing back at you with a weaker hand thinking you are on a steal.

So as you move up in limits, you need to be willing to play more starting hands even though it seems counter intuitive. If feels like you should be looser in low anite games and tighter in high antie games but he makes it clear that you should do the opposite.

#### F Paulsson

##### euro love
Silver Level
Ah!

No, that's not quite what he means. He considers a large ante to be more than 15% of the average future bet, and a small ante to be less than 5% of the average future bet (first page of the chapter, near the bottom). It has nothing to do with what stakes you're playing - only what the ante is in comparison to the bet size.

At a 10-seat limit hold 'em table, with the blinds at 0.5SB and 1SB respectively, there will be 1.5SB in the pot before play begins. This is the total ante for the table. Since his example counts the "invidual ante," we need to calculate it for each person at the table - who on average pays 0.15SB per hand. Right?

The average future bet is 1.5SB (two betting rounds of 1SB, two betting rounds of 2SB), meaning that the ante is 10% of the average future bet. It is, in other words, square in the middle for what Sklansky considers a normal ante.

Food for thought: How does this affect a 6-max table?

S

#### Styrofoam

##### Visionary
Silver Level
In relation to the bets. When you have to bet 30\$ and the future bets are 10\$ that is a large ante.

#### Xandit

##### Rock Star
Silver Level
I see now, the limit doesn't make a diffrence. I was looking at it as though the starting pot at a 10-20 table would be 5-10 =15 dollars therefore there is more money in the pot to battle for, but it sitll costs you the same .15sb per hand. So it's all relative.

If my math is correct at a 6 max table the average "cost" of the table would be .25sb per hand,(1.5sb/6people) therefore you would need to open your starting requirments because it is "costing" you more per hand to play at the table. If you were to tight you would not be able to make up the diffrence between what you win and what each hand "costs" if you play it or not. Also your oppents will have to play weaker than normal hands to overcome the added "cost".

Please clear me up if i've got this wrong.

#### F Paulsson

##### euro love
Silver Level
Nope, that's pretty much what I was getting at; the fact that the "ante" at a shorthanded table is on average higher at a shorthanded table does make quite a difference in what hands you should be willing to play. What hands you should play is a topic for another thread, of course, but it's interesting to be able to spot this implication.

There are some secondary implications that have to do with blind play in a shorthanded game because of this, and it's not really as straightforward as just "playing more hands," but the basic premise that Sklansky describes does state that when the antes are high, you should be more inclined to fight over them.

T

#### Threesixes

##### Visionary
Silver Level
Wow, thanks for making that clear. I just learned something new I was confused on that subject as well.

#### KillerKat

##### Rock Star
Silver Level
Ah Tenbob just got the book yesterday. Just been having a quick read. Very interesting.
But it does make sense, why fight agressively over pots when the antes(blinds) are so low that it wont make much difference to you stack.The small pots your going to pick up wont be of great profit in the long term.

Wait till they will actually make a worth fighting over and they will fatten up your chip stack nicely. Making it worth the risks in the long run. (much more profit)

#### F Paulsson

##### euro love
Silver Level
Another thing to consider is that when the antes/blinds constitute only a small portion of the later bets, seeing the flop in Hold'em becomes worth it because of implied odds (hi, chapter 7!). It costs you very little right now, but the payoff can be big. The reverse is also true, of course: When the blinds are big in comparison to future bets, limping becomes much less profitable (raising, in order to steal the blinds, on the other hand, goes way up in profitability!)

#### KillerKat

##### Rock Star
Silver Level
Is Sklansky advocating the calling of a smallish bet for a long shot like a gut shot straight in the knowledge that if he hits it he is going to get paid off greatly.

So even though one would say calling a gut shot is bad news the implied odds suggest otherwise.

#### Gizzi315

##### Rock Star
Silver Level
Even though I now understand all the odds stuff much better than I did previously, I was very happy to hear Sklansky say that it is more of a JUDGEMENT than an exact MATH issue.

Figuring out the exact math would be difficult if not impossible, especially for implied odds, but taking a look at odds as a big factor in making your decision makes alot of sense.

Now that I think I have a basic idea about these concepts, it is time to try them out a bit on the table.

S

#### Styrofoam

##### Visionary
Silver Level
you can't play completely mathmatically every time (although, you would if you knew everyone's cards) the implied odds are somewhat of a judgement call.... I'd still stick to roughly the pot odds, and don't make any bad calls. I don't think sklansky is pushing poor calls with odds here.

#### Gizzi315

##### Rock Star
Silver Level
well, what I learned from trying to apply some of these ideas at the tables was that, like with everything else, I need to be patient with myself and take things one step at a time as I learn new concepts.

there is so much to keep in mind and the action is so quick and I need to process it all - pot odds and chip stacks and position and likely hands and my own gut feelings - as long as I learn a bit more each time I play then things are going well.

Sklansky's ideas are great - I will need to reread them several times as my general poker knowledge increases and I am sure I will get more out of them every time.

I did find myself paying alot more attention to pot size and potential size when deciding whether or not to call, I didn't feel bad about folding cards that had "potential" if the pot odds weren't high enough, and I felt much more secure in raising in a variety of circumstances. Hope that means I am learning something!

see you at the tables!

#### F Paulsson

##### euro love
Silver Level
Styrofoam said:
you can't play completely mathmatically every time (although, you would if you knew everyone's cards) the implied odds are somewhat of a judgement call.... I'd still stick to roughly the pot odds, and don't make any bad calls. I don't think sklansky is pushing poor calls with odds here.
It's a bit of a judgment call, sure. But at the same time, if you routinely make laydowns where you have obvious implied odds that justify a call, you're missing out on potential profit. For example:

Limit hold'em, you're on the button with JTs. A middle position player limps, you limp, the folds and and the BB raises.

Flop comes 89K rainbow. There are 6SB in the pot. BB bets and the limper calls. There are now 8 bets in the pot, giving you 8-1, but your gutshot requires 10.5-1 to call profitably.

You should call here. If you hit your straight, you will most likely win at least one more BIG bet from one of the two people ahead of you, and very often more.

In aggressive games, the implied odds are often huge, and "peeling" on the flop (taking a new card for the small bet) is often okay. Don't go too far with it, though; always peeling on the flop - which a lot of weak players do "just because it's cheap" - adds up to a LOT of bets in the long run. But some of these situations are profitable. It's essential to learn how to properly count the outs, which there may be more of than one would have thought.

For instance, playing AK on a flop that missed me. This used to be a nightmare situation for me, but after realizing how to properly adjust my thinking to the outs that I had (including "hidden" outs), it becomes a walk in the park. That's a discussion better left for Small Stakes Hold 'em by Ed Miller though, and we'll get there soon enough.

#### Sammyv1

##### Legend
Silver Level
F Paulsson said:
It's essential to learn how to properly count the outs, which there may be more of than one would have thought.

Is there any way to practice this? Or ways to apply it quicker like charts I can put on the computer while I am playing. Maybe a list of things in order I need to look for? I play a lot on the net and It seems I do not have the time to analyze the board, my cards, and my opponents play. It's a whole lot to do and some sites are only 15 seconds to make a play.

#### F Paulsson

##### euro love
Silver Level
Well... If you think you're behind (which isn't always easy to tell either, sometimes your AK may be ahead), there are certainly cards (at least on the flop) that can come to make your hand better. The most basic one is that you may catch a pair, for instance.

If you have AK, there are 6 cards that can give you a pair - the remaining three kings, and the remaining three aces.

If you have four to a flush, but no overcards (e.g. 54s on a QJ8 flop, where two are of your suit) then you have 9 outs, as there are nine cards that can give you the best hand - pairing one of them isn't enough.

Etc.

It's not hard to learn how to count outs, and it fairly quickly becomes second nature. If the pot is multiway, you need to "discount" your outs a little, however, since you could still hit the card you like but still lose. For instance, if you have AK on a JT7 flop, and someone holds AJ, your aces are no longer outs. Your kings, still are, however.

But if you want to count "raw" outs, it's usually pretty simple. Try this one:

You have [Ac][Js] on a [Qs][10d][4h] flop. You suspect that your opponent has a pair of queens, but not an ace.

How many outs do you have to make the best hand by the turn?

Try making it a routine to always count your outs on the flop. You may be wrong sometimes, but being wrong sometimes is better than never knowing at all.

#### Sammyv1

##### Legend
Silver Level
7 outs, 4 kings and 3 Aces. So I'm around 2 1/2 to 1 to hit with 2 cards to come right?

S

#### Styrofoam

##### Visionary
Silver Level
F Paulsson said:
It's a bit of a judgment call, sure. But at the same time, if you routinely make laydowns where you have obvious implied odds that justify a call, you're missing out on potential profit. For example:

Limit hold'em, you're on the button with JTs. A middle position player limps, you limp, the folds and and the BB raises.

Flop comes 89K rainbow. There are 6SB in the pot. BB bets and the limper calls. There are now 8 bets in the pot, giving you 8-1, but your gutshot requires 10.5-1 to call profitably.

You should call here. If you hit your straight, you will most likely win at least one more BIG bet from one of the two people ahead of you, and very often more.

In aggressive games, the implied odds are often huge, and "peeling" on the flop (taking a new card for the small bet) is often okay. Don't go too far with it, though; always peeling on the flop - which a lot of weak players do "just because it's cheap" - adds up to a LOT of bets in the long run. But some of these situations are profitable. It's essential to learn how to properly count the outs, which there may be more of than one would have thought.

For instance, playing AK on a flop that missed me. This used to be a nightmare situation for me, but after realizing how to properly adjust my thinking to the outs that I had (including "hidden" outs), it becomes a walk in the park. That's a discussion better left for Small Stakes Hold 'em by Ed Miller though, and we'll get there soon enough.

you're actually open ended here, as a 7 or a Q will make you a straight.

But i understand what you're saying...8-1 isn't what i'd call a completely horrible call for a gutshot, but I don't think sklansky is advocating calling a gutshot draw getting 3-1 on your money, no matter what the implied odds are....you won't make enough to cover the losses on the play.

#### F Paulsson

##### euro love
Silver Level
Styrofoam said:
you're actually open ended here, as a 7 or a Q will make you a straight.

But i understand what you're saying...8-1 isn't what i'd call a completely horrible call for a gutshot, but I don't think sklansky is advocating calling a gutshot draw getting 3-1 on your money, no matter what the implied odds are....you won't make enough to cover the losses on the play.
Yeah, good catch - I screwed up the example. Was busy at work and just had time to make a quick post

Well, if the implied odds ARE good enough, even 3-1 pot odds is good enough to call. The problem is that they will (almost) never be that good to outweigh your crappy pot odds. But this is semantics, I believe we're on the same track now anyway.

Any comments or questions on position vs. pot odds? That particular section has some pretty significant strategy impliciations in it, and it's a very common mistake for beginners to make - getting trapped between two raisers.