Luck in poker

IrishDave

IrishDave

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When you mention luck in poker, most people think about the miracle flop or miracle river. The luck I want to discuss is more situational luck, like getting KK in the BB. Many of our forum events are played pretty tight as most of us know each other fairly well. In any tourney, you have to steal the occasional pot to survive as the cards don't always come when needed. How many times have you played tight and folded hand after hand and watch your stack dwindle? For most of us the answer to that is fairly often. As this is happening, you know you're going to have to represent a hand soon to stay alive. Now if your the lucky sort, the aces will arrive in the nick of time to save you. If you're like me, you just have to pick a spot and play like you have aces.

The type of luck I want to mention is the type that allows you to represent that hand and not run into a real one. Our dear friend Grumbledook is a very aggressive player and his first instinct is to attack the pot. There are times he puts that big bet in and I'm certain he's got crap but when I look down I'll have a powerhouse like 8-3 offsuit. He steals the pot (sure he could have had aces) and play goes on. My luck is such that I'll pick my spot, right position, tight image, and I'll generally walk my represented hand right into a big pocket pair. This is the kind of bad luck that generally knocks me out of tourneys and it's just another way random chance affects our success. Think about it for a second, put 10 equally skilled people at a table and who will generally win - the luckiest.
 
tenbob

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IrishDave said:
. Think about it for a second, put 10 equally skilled people at a table and who will generally win - the luckiest.

What you called equally skilled players is debatable, if you said EQUALLY skilled tight aggressive players, then sure of course the luckiest player will win. Now the thing is you HAVE to makes some sort of move if you are to win or place in one of our games.

I built my stack primarly from re-raising dook on FT the last evening, most of the time he had to fold. Until the luck factor came in, and he called my all-in reraise with AK to see my AQ looking weak in comparsion, until luck factored. But then again whos to say you wont get rivered twice in a row (last night, bad luck), or get your aces cracked by Jacks (good luck for me on stars last night).

But its your long run play that counts. Your table image is all important, not on small sit and go's online (unless its CC events). But in live games its nearly all that counts, you need your raises to be feared. Luck will come and go remember that, and Dave im sure you've had your share of huge hand in the BB.
 
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colin_147

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Nice post Dave

There are several reasons why certain players cant take down pots at different situations and there are times when you have to lay hands down if you know you could be in trouble

Making a steal attempt, loads of things have to be taken into consideration. Like

Am I raising into an aggressive player?
Am I raising in an early postion where I could get called?
Do I have the chip stack to scare the other players off with my bluff?
Am I raising enough?
Am I raising too much, does it look obvious I am stealing?

These are just a few things you need to think when attempting to steal

Generally I will attempt to steal with a marginal hand or when I can see low stacks down wanna bubble out, and are prepared to let their blinds go

Untimately picking up these blinds will be the difference between making the later stages of a tournament or going out midway.

I dont even think about stealing until the blinds are around 150/300. Other times its not worth the risk, unless you got a nice hand that may hold up
 
robwhufc

robwhufc

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Funnily enough, I got KK in BB in last nights freeroll!

I think it helps sometimes to write down the hands you receive for a few tournaments - generally, on a SnG or small tournament you'll play 100-120 hands before you reach H2H. On average you get pocket pair 1 in every 17 times (so 6 or 7?) and these'll hit trips once every 8 times (so once per tourney?). You'll get AA every 220 hands (so once every 2 tourneys) and a premium hand (AA KK QQ AKs), once every 70-80 hands (so once or twice a tournament). I was dealt 4 premium hands last night (AA, KK x 2, & QQ) which is above average and 2 other pairs (22 and 88) which hits average. Next tourney I probably wont get 1 premium pair. This does show though that the VAST majority of your hands (and your opponents) are rubbish - it's how you play those cards that makes the difference. We've all had games where you just get nothing, and when eventually you do you just happen to run into a monster, but you're not going to win every game you sit down to - poker's justnot like that.

Thing to remember is that long term everyone will get the same cards - One tournament they'll get better than you, another you'll get better than them. no-one can CONSISTENTLY get better cards than you - if you are consistently doing worse than them, then they are simply a better player than you.
 
IrishDave

IrishDave

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robwhufc said:
Thing to remember is that long term everyone will get the same cards - One tournament they'll get better than you, another you'll get better than them. no-one can CONSISTENTLY get better cards than you - if you are consistently doing worse than them, then they are simply a better player than you.

I wonder why you turn every post into something personal? I was just posting about something that happens to us all at times and you immediately turn it into "they're better than you". Your post was actually pretty good until the last paragraph when you just couldn't resist throwing in another personal insult. Whatever...
 
robwhufc

robwhufc

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IrishDave said:
I wonder why you turn every post into something personal? I was just posting about something that happens to us all at times and you immediately turn it into "they're better than you". Your post was actually pretty good until the last paragraph when you just couldn't resist throwing in another personal insult. Whatever...

I dont know Dave why we always get into this EVERY day, and I dont know why i'm bothering to respond, but how can you interpret that paragraph as a personal attack on you? I was just responding to your post (am I not allowed to do that?) and said that, long-term, if player A beats player B, then player A will be the better player not the luckier player. You keep referring to these "personal" attacks..... do you not think you're a bit paranoid, cos I can't remember many (certainly i've been on the receiving end of more than I have made).

Please, don't lets keep doing this - If I don't agree with something you say, i'll say so. It wont be because I dont like you, it's simply that I have a different opinion on most stuff than you do, OK?
 
IrishDave

IrishDave

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OK Rob, we'll call a truce but it's pretty easy to take personal offense when you tell me directly to go out and buy a poker book. And when you constantly hammer the Guys V Gals thing: "NOT EVERYONE WAS ALLOWED TO PLAY". You never answered my question: If you have 50 players and 25 seats, how do you decide who plays? I did it randomly which is the only fair way in my book. If there's a better way, don't complain - explain...

BTW, this post was not written in response to last nights event, just an observation from the last 4-5 SNGs I played in, mostly on Fulltilt...
 
robwhufc

robwhufc

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I re-read my original post Dave - when I said "if someone is better than you", I meant "you" to be you, me, us, everyone - not specifically you - Irish Dave. I can see how this can be misinterpreted perhaps, but it wasn't meant as a dig, honest.
 
robwhufc

robwhufc

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IrishDave said:
OK Rob, we'll call a truce but it's pretty easy to take personal offense when you tell me directly to go out and buy a poker book. And when you constantly hammer the Guys V Gals thing: "NOT EVERYONE WAS ALLOWED TO PLAY". You never answered my question: If you have 50 players and 25 seats, how do you decide who plays? I did it randomly which is the only fair way in my book. If there's a better way, don't complain - explain...

and this - no better way at all, I was happy with it (and was happy that I was chosen of course) and of course there was no other way to do it, but there were 2 separate posts (one from you), berating the members for not getting behind event, and saying that everyone had an opportunity to play - I just said that this wasn't the case, and it wasn't. I pm'd Nick to say I thought that in the circumstances (and due to the fact Titan had doubled pot to a not inconsiderable amount), that the freeroll should be opened up to other regulars like Buckster for example, as I didn't really think the Guys had done an awful lot to justify the freeroll.

And re truce, I honestly and truthfully am not trying to antagonise you - the "buy a book" thing was months ago now!!
 
t1riel

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I would have to agree with Dave on this. Yeah, some of it is skill and sometimes a player could get a bad read from another player. But, when you're facing off against nine skilled players, the primary reason of a victory is luck.
 
tenbob

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colin_147 said:
Am I raising into an aggressive player?
Am I raising in an early postion where I could get called?
Do I have the chip stack to scare the other players off with my bluff?
Am I raising enough?
Am I raising too much, does it look obvious I am stealing?

Great points Colin, and very important points. Now the timing of a move as Colin said is essential. If i want to take down the pot there and then ill make it against who i see as the best player at the table. (apart from yourself of course). If you want a caller, or you NEED to have a race to get back in the game, then id push when the table maniac raises.

These are situations when any two live cards are important. That is the main reason that when im shortstacked i dont like taking the race with Ax or Kx, because there is a strong possibility that the caller has a big A or 2 face cards, increasing the possibility that you only have 1 live card.

Call me crazy but that why I prefer to push for my race with mid connectors, and/or any pair.

Oh And Girls........STOP IT >>>>
 
IrishDave

IrishDave

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This becomes very important when we go through the "card dead" phase that hits us all at times. Played a $10 SNG on Fulltilt earlier in the week and throughout the entire game the best hand I got was A-7 offsuit. I played very tight and aggressive but just didn't have much to work with. I stole a few blinds but not enough to provide a chip stack large enough to scare anybody. I waited for the monster to come and it just didn't so I picked what I thought would be a good spot and made a stand. You guessed it, I walked right into a pair of kings in the small blind and it was bye-bye.

I will certainly agree that over the long haul skill is critical but I guess the point I'm making is that skill won't always get you to the final table - you need the cards as well. About all you can do is look back over your play and try to find any questionable decisions. If you do that honestly, and don't see any bad plays - then it just wasn't in the cards - literally...
 
robwhufc

robwhufc

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tenbob said:
These are situations when any two live cards are important. That is the main reason that when im shortstacked i dont like taking the race with Ax or Kx, because there is a strong possibility that the caller has a big A or 2 face cards, increasing the possibility that you only have 1 live card.

Call me crazy but that why I prefer to push for my race with mid connectors, and/or any pair.

Not crazy at all! - If you're up against AK, you're better off with 4 5 than you are with A Q or even Q J. If you are last to act, have a big stack and are faced with an all-in from a small-stack (everyone else having folded), then you should pretty much call regardless of what cards you have.
 
Bill_Hollorian

Bill_Hollorian

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Interesting post. I may be conused but it seems there are 2 diferent points going on.
1.) Bluffs, or steal attempts running into 221/1 values.
and
2.) stacking off out of neccesity and running into a 221/1 value.

By the way, if you sit down at a table where everyone is the same skill... You will know the best player, because he will be the one walking toward the exit door. OK in a tourney you can't do that. So, what you generally see is a complete shut down.

I have been at tables where I was clearly the worst player at the table. So, I got to listen to some great stories, from the old time pros, and watch my blinds pay for a great education. But, while all the other tables in the tourney were mixing it up, my table never had a chip swing of more than 500 dollars the entire first day.

When you bluff/steal, what percentage of your stack are you commiting. Ask yoursel if in this spot what your steal result will be if successul, and what the penalty for ailure will be? It is rarely a good idea to bluff more than 8% of your stack.
Therefor stealing pots is the luxurty of the bigger stacks. Bigger stacks means you have more tools in the tool box.
If you are short stacked, and looking for any 2 cards so to speak. try to be OUT of postion, but not in the blinds. Your largest equity is by removing post flop play, rom a player in postion, plus both blinds are live. OKOK if the hand comes while on the button of course push. But, in the Im short, I gotta make a move situation, out of position is better.

Good thread!
Bill
 
tenbob

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Bill_Hollorian said:
1.) Bluffs, or steal attempts running into 221/1 values.
and
2.) stacking off out of neccesity and running into a 221/1 value.

Maybe im a bit of a thicko, but what do you mean here Bill ?
 
Alon Ipser

Alon Ipser

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IrishDave said:
Think about it for a second, put 10 equally skilled people at a table and who will generally win - the luckiest.

Why the house will win of course. Skill being equal, luck will average out in the end and the house keeps raking.
 
tenbob

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Just back from a series of live STT. €50 ($65) buy-in and in truth i was very lucky but then again i played great poker.

1st game - Busted out, my 6A flopped 66K, so the only hand that could beat be was a slow played KK, guess what ??? Bad luck ?

2nd game - Came 2nd, cashed for $150, came to showdown twice !!

3rd game - Now here is where the luck aspect came in, 2nd hand picked up AK on the Button, 6 limpers and i raised 10XBB, (yes you heard me) and got 5 callers, flop 10 10 K, now when a player get overexcited and bets out of turn, thats luck, and thats what he did.

He could have come over to me and told me that he had 10 10 in the hole, that guy doubled up by a caller with KQ. Now kinda shortstacked the deck went cold, so i waited for a hand, half an hour later i pick up 77 in the BB and push, to get 4 callers, hit my set became the big stack and cashed for €400.

But a bit of luck is essential, i caught a big pair in the last hand of the 3rd game against a TOTAL all-in bluff.

Yea Dave luck plays an essential part of poker, but its not the essence of the game, it simply is not a game of luck in the long run. Bingo, lottery, horse racing even "skilled" games like blackjack are in the end of the day luck games, and gambers games. Poker is not.
 
IrishDave

IrishDave

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I agree with you 100% TB, but you did pick up the 77 and flopped the set. It was probably skill that may have gotten you to that point in the tourney but the cards arrived when you needed them. You hit the nail on the head in the statement "a bit of luck is essential". Good players do not need a lot of luck, but with none at all they'd blind out like anyone else...
 
beardyian

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Ok i may have thought this through wrong but anyway -

Yesterday playing a simple little .25c no-limit table (hands for a bonus etc.)
I now play usually pretty tight here - as a lot of others like to chuck the money in regardless and blow it fairly quick, and I therefore have been stung a few times playing high cards when of course the low ones hit home :mad:.

I have 64 os in the BB and the person next to me raises (again!) as seemed the norm when i had the big blind usually with very a marginal hand

I had a feeling he was bluffable though because he had let a couple of hands be taken away earlier - so i called.

Flop was KKJ - oops :eek: i thought, but if i was to carry it off i would have to raise (with nothing) so in went .50c showing it was worth more than the minimal.

Now he has already raised my blind so what has he got?

Well i never knew as he folded :D:D i had bluffed the bluffer - was only a small (very small) pot but the victory was mine as he didnt raise me again :D

Luck or right person/right time?

IanT
 
robwhufc

robwhufc

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beardyian said:
Luck or right person/right time?

If that's luck, every hand you win's luck. You're "lucky" that you're dealt a good enough hand to enter pot and "lucky" that no-one had a better hand than you at the end. Of course there is an element of luck, getting cards at the right time, and hitting cards when behind but there is a reason some players can make a living out of poker, and it's not luck is it!

Fact is, you're going to be dealt good hands, you're going to be able to bluff pots, you're going to hit some great flops. You cant choose the cards you're being dealt, it's how you act with those cards that make the difference. The best players win more pots, win bigger pots, and lose smaller amounts when they lose, than poor players. I don't think 1 person can just be "luckier" than someone else. I read something recently about what psychiatrists say about the type of person that genuinely believes they are unlucky, but i'm buggered if I can remember it!. I'll dig out book and post it tonight if i remember.
 
bigjace

bigjace

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This is a great thread Dave and i'm buggered if i'm going to post something and ruin it!!
 
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