POKER THEORIES - ENOUGH ALREADY

Q

quads

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After reading an article Aliengenius directed us to read written by Jenifear, a writer for PokerFives.com on another thread, which discusses the ICM, (independent chip modeling) theory. I felt a need to discuss my feelings about the author’s recommendation.

First of all who is Jenifear? The site says “Jennifear is a proud Contributing Writer for Pocketfives.com and a Presto Award Winner”. I also see she wrote like 15 articles for the site and is a poker instructor. So, who is she? Why don’t these authors of articles teaching us how to win, using their recommended systems based on rules and theories, also post some proven facts from their own experiences using the same?

She stresses the importance of learning to respect your chip value when bubble play is on; of course this is always sound and obvious advice.

She mentions the chip leader has been pushing all-in nearly every hand since the action became four-handed fifteen hands ago. I can’t recall every running into that scenario. Which by the way if I did I would be thinking the Kill Phil theory, and would quickly adjust my play.

Regardless, allot of what she says of course makes sense, but all these articles with systems that are based on rules, and theories, always state something like Jenifear’s quote, (“Please note that these are general rules that work a majority of the time, but circumstances may exist that alter your optimal strategy”): So now you play by her rules and lose. You post what took place and then of course when the completed hand or hands are face up for everyone to see, 10 Monday night quarterbacks will tell you 10 different ways you should have played to win. This new and additional information only protects her rule and theory system by placing the hands into the “alternate circumstances” umbrella usually stated in every one of these articles.

Now there’s no doubt everyone including me, want to learn how to win a majority of the time. I personally read over 15 poker books, which in fact helped and improved my game. Yet, actual experiences were, and still are my ultimate learning aid. Online and live experiences are very much helpful for each other, but in many cases are isolated when comparing the two, with very different experiences that must be separated.

Understanding pot and hand odds, along with all the different styles of opponents, just too slightly touch on the challenge of a poker game is a mission in its self. Now let’s throw in another 100 or more different systems we read about based on rules and long term theories into this already complicated mix. Damn, I am going to have to start playing online with a computer that has a hard drive bigger then the CIA, in Washington. And I might as well just quit playing live, cause there’s no way my brain is going to be able to store not only the basic fundamentals of poker, but all these different theories along with the famous “alternate circumstances” clause.

Poker isn’t a game where anyone could guarantee a win. Even in the long run based on a blueprint of rules, theories, and of course alternate circumstances, (which will always exist with every hand that is played) that equal a system.
Just like handicapping a horse race, there are some many variables, like track surface, slow, fast, muddy, early-speed, closer’s, controlling the pace, luck, who’s peaking, and who’s not feeling to well, etc… Other then the complete stand-out (very rare) it is pretty hard to predict the outcome on a steady basis. Well the same goes for poker to be able to win on a consistent basis. And with the way online poker is heading, the goal of winning more then you lose online is getting even harder.

Anything we can pick up, even if it’s only one thing that will help our poker game become more experienced is always a good thing.

Bur since the poker boom and especially over the last four years, with all these poker magazines, websites, forums, books, etc… it seems like new systems and theories, are popping up every week.

Poker became a big business, and I think too many chefs are stirring the stew, for personal gain.

I wonder what the old time true proven poker champions like Doyle, and Harrington, read as they were climbing the ladder. The only system they followed was their own which developed from nothing more then cold personal experiences over a long period of time. I know online is speeding up that process today, but unless you are playing the same group of people day in and day out, (not) experience coupled with some brains, will prove to be the ultimate winning system.

Many players are making tons of money online. But many more are losing. Remember when someone wins $8,000,000.00 dollars in one tournament, $8,000,000.00 dollars plus was lost by other players.
 
skd1337

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Is that the article I should be reading. I am finding it a little difficult to get my head around and be able to deal with in real game situations. But it seems there are so many books and courses and systems people invest in when the best system is getting in there and learning through emersion [SP]

having said that I am a sucker for books and systems :(
 
smd173

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I like what you've put in this post. Sums up my feelings on alot of things.

Of course a devil's advocate point I will throw out there is this... how are the top online players...the top online players. What are they doing differently at their levels of play that continue to help them be where they are? People like Chad "lil' holdem" Batista and annette_15 and Belowabove and Rizen? I'm sure they go through variance just like any player at any level, yet they continue to excel. Obviously they are doing something right.

I recently got to see on some site a whole matchup of annette_15 playing "blind". There were definite patterns in what she did to take down that 180 person SNG. But I also saw her get her money in bad 3 times (35-65) and hit to double through. So even they get lucky.

CardPlayer had an interview with Belowabove and he said that he lost $1800 online when he first started to play. So obviously he got better over time.

I just wish I could find the "magic formula" to get out of the $1.75 and $.01/.02 gutter.
 
T

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just some stuff that springs to mind:


1, jennifear is pretty lol. she charges $75/hr when her poker hrly is like $30/hr

2, she writes about SnGs. There's actually a 'system' for the most part in these games because to a certain degree this game has actually been 'solved'.

3, You don't understand SnGs in the slightest, or at least you dont seem to understand the difference between SnGs and 100bb cash games.

4, everyone back in the day read doyles book

5, everyone plays a different style.

6, reading online poker forums >>> reading poker books, which are often written by pretty poor players
 
Q

quads

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I like what you've put in this post. Sums up my feelings on alot of things.

Of course a devil's advocate point I will throw out there is this... how are the top online players...the top online players.

Same goes for live play. What makes them the top players of the live game. Experience being number one, and being born with the gift in their blood similar to a professional athlete. Not that they didn't learn how to play, but were born with that something special. There have been some recently young players conquering poker in a big way, but I would trust and try to mimic their strategy at a later time. It's the proven veterans I'm more concerned with now. Not poker theories written by unknowns.
 
skd1337

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6, reading online poker forums >>> reading poker books, which are often written by pretty poor players

Excepty for super system and the harringtons which are awesome books by awesome players, but on the whole there are a lot of books by players are yet to prove themselves.
 
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tufat23

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Same goes for live play. What makes them the top players of the live game. Experience being number one, and being born with the gift in their blood similar to a professional athlete. Not that they didn't learn how to play, but were born with that something special. There have been some recently young players conquering poker in a big way, but I would trust and try to mimic their strategy at a later time. It's the proven veterans I'm more concerned with now. Not poker theories written by unknowns.


wow its gonna come off like i hate u, but i dont. the young crop of online players have way more knowledge of poker than the 'proven veterans' (not saying jennifear is one, shes probably rather bad tbh).

i guess i cant say exactly which ones i would recommend since i'm clearly affiliated with one in particular, but sign up and pay a subscription to an online poker training site that specializes in producing videos of people playing.

im gonna put one up on this site soon, hopefully you'll see how deep some of the thought process and knowledge of the math of the game the young internet players have.
 
zachvac

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Same goes for live play. What makes them the top players of the live game. Experience being number one, and being born with the gift in their blood similar to a professional athlete. Not that they didn't learn how to play, but were born with that something special. There have been some recently young players conquering poker in a big way, but I would trust and try to mimic their strategy at a later time. It's the proven veterans I'm more concerned with now. Not poker theories written by unknowns.

Gotta disagree with the "gift" aspect. An athlete has to have some sort of build to him, you're not going to see a 4'10" basketball star or 150 pound football star. But the rest comes with work. Are you willing to work harder than everyone else?

The same is similar in poker, but there's no prerequisite to playing other than the patience to grind your way up, learning the ins and outs and studying the game. You need the patience, and you need some intelligence I guess to think through everything in such a quick time. Especially online, the best poker players aren't the ones who were born poker players, they've just worked at it and have figured out a game that works for them. What kind of "gift" are you talking about with poker?
 
Egon Towst

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2, she writes about SnGs. There's actually a 'system' for the most part in these games because to a certain degree this game has actually been 'solved'.

I am not sure about the validity of this statement.

There is certainly fairly general agreement that what one might call the "tight early, loose late" approach is best. The problem is, it`s becoming less and less effective.

A year ago, online SNGs were easy money if you were a reasonably sound player and played that way.

Today, anyone with the smarts to read a poker book, magazine, or website (including here at CC) knows that strategy.

It is increasingly difficult to find a fishy game where the idiots bust each other out (and double you up) in level one, and nearly everyone is playing a more solid game.
 
blankoblanco

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well, he only said it's solved "to a certain degree", and i think he's basically right. there's some variation in how you can play very early on, but in the late push/fold stages, the most important stages, there's the ICM and pretty much a range you're "supposed" to push with and "supposed" to call with in almost any given situation. in the higher stakes sngs, nearly all the players know these approximate ranges and just have a general feel for when they're supposed to shove and call. this makes the edges very very slim, and makes it essentially the lowest skill form of poker--aside from flipaments
 
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quads

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just some stuff that springs to mind

2, she writes about SnGs. There's actually a 'system' for the most part in these games because to a certain degree this game has actually been 'solved'
Therefore, to a certain degree I should assume you're going to retire soon.

3, You don't understand SnGs in the slightest, or at least you dont seem to understand the difference between SnGs and 100bb cash games.

You're absolutely correct. This thread's theme is based on the differences between SNG's and Cash Games.
4, everyone back in the day read doyles book

Got me on this one, considering the question was, "I wonder what the old time true proven poker champions like Doyle, and Harrington, read as they were climbing the ladder?

5, everyone plays a different style.

Damn, just when my thinking was otherwise.

6, reading online poker forums >>> reading poker books, which are often written by pretty poor players
I'm gonna guess you still read poker forums to stay current on what us poor players are saying.
 
aliengenius

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Say what you want about the article, and agree/disagree with the strategy as you will.

But the underlying important point remains:

comparing your chip equity in the hand to your actual dollar equity in the tournament
is an advanced level of thinking that not many consider in a sng, even though they should.
 
DaFrench1

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But the underlying important point remains:

comparing your chip equity in the hand to your actual dollar equity in the tournament
is an advanced level of thinking that not many consider in a sng, even though they should.



You must be right there AG cos I haven't got the foggiest idea what you are talking about. But one day I will :D.
 
skoldpadda

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basically what he's saying frenchy:

1. you buy into a $1,000 SNG and get 1000 in chips
2. there are 10 players (make the math a little easier)
3. Initially it's a sunk cost of $1,000 (to make you economists happy) but basically you can say each chip is worth $1
4. the guy who wins has 10,000 chips but will get $5,000 (50% for first)
5. therefore each additional chip you get is actually worth <$1 (or alternatively the chips go down in value as players are eliminated)
--> this is why chip equity and dollar equity for the tournament are NOT equal

That's the idea in a nutshell
 
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basically what he's saying frenchy:

1. you buy into a $1,000 SNG and get 1000 in chips
2. there are 10 players (make the math a little easier)
3. Initially it's a sunk cost of $1,000 (to make you economists happy) but basically you can say each chip is worth $1
4. the guy who wins has 10,000 chips but will get $5,000 (50% for first)
5. therefore each additional chip you get is actually worth <$1 (or alternatively the chips go down in value as players are eliminated)
--> this is why chip equity and dollar equity for the tournament are NOT equal

That's the idea in a nutshell


Please explain how this math will improve my game?
 
Insomniac_1006

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It will change the way that you think about poker. It will change it to a level that will help you win more often. Overly simple, yes...but the best that I can do, right now.
 
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It will change the way that you think about poker. It will change it to a level that will help you win more often. Overly simple, yes...but the best that I can do, right now.

Like scientists that want evidence to confirm fact, I'd like the same.
 
skoldpadda

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it's important in making decisions near the bubble for example since chip equity and money equity are different. there are some good examples in other threads already... use the search function.
 
rob5775

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I think Skolpadda has done an excellent job giving a summary of a difficult to understand concept (ICM). Chip values in a cash game are 1 chip = 1$. In a SNG 1 chip does not equal one dollar. I would try to explain further but I suck at doing so... and Skol has already done it.
 
Q

quads

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I think Skolpadda has done an excellent job giving a summary of a difficult to understand concept (ICM). Chip values in a cash game are 1 chip = 1$. In a SNG 1 chip does not equal one dollar. I would try to explain further but I suck at doing so... and Skol has already done it.


Once again, because I understand the ICM facts, what is it doing for my game?

Does this mean if I wanted to call, fold, raise, or push based on my poker game knowledge, reads on players, stack conditions, hand odds, pot odds, etc... all dictating what should be done, instead fold, or do something completely different because of the chip equity compared to dollar equity?
Especially on bubble play, where my game already got me this far.
 
aliengenius

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Once again, because I understand the ICM facts, what is it doing for my game?

Sklansky gives a famous example in TPfAP, that might help expalin:

In Sklansy's example the stacks are as follows:

leader: $2 million
opponent B: $1 million
opponent C: $1 million
opponent D: $1 million
us: $30,000

Prizes:
1st: $1.5 million
2nd: $1 million
3rd: $700,000
4th: $500,000
5th: $300,000

Blinds: $10,000/$20,000

In this example the three opponents with one million each are all in (chip leader is not).

We have AA.

You can see that we are way behind our opponents in chip count, and have a very low effective M as well. Sklansky points out that our equity even if we win is still very low (we would only have $120,000 chips), but our actual dollar amount of winnings will increase greatly if we fold.

In other words, we make chips/tournament dollars if we call (+ chip EV long term), but we make actual real money if we fold.

Note how the two are opposed to each other here: calling is -EV in real money. Make sense?

This is of course about as extreme a hypothetical as you can get. Anyway, the point is that there could be a correct time to do take x action based on our real money +EV that is the opposite of our +chip EV.

In this case, even though all your other "poker knowledge" (you can accurately access that your hand is stronger than all your opponents ranges) tells you to call (and you would of course do so in a cash game), you should fold here.

This situation on the bubble of a sng (or any tournament really) is similar, although of course to a lesser degree. ICM calculations have to be taken into account in a tournament-- you can't just make your decisions the same way you would for a cash/ring game.
 
rob5775

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Thank you sir...^^^ I honestly could not have explained it better. I suck at explaining these things.

Quads, there are programs that can assist you in your ICM calculations and (I feel) an essential part of any SNG players repartee (along with PT, Poker Ace HUD, etc). I won't supply the links out of consideration for this site but just google anything that includes "SNG" or "sit n gos" and "ICM"... you get the idea.
 
dj11

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Ag, I don't like your explanation. If we take that a few steps further, we would purposely bust out at this point, under the guise that we are proper in doing so according to this obscure theory.

At the very beginning of every tourney (except rebuys) every chip has a fixed value. That value never changes throughout the tourney.

Example, 1000 players $50 buy in, prize money = 50K
each player gets 1500 chips = 1.5 mil chips/$50k = 30 cents a chip. Since chips only represent some other value, and in this case do not change, it would be just as easy to call each chip 30 cents.
 
skoldpadda

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no dj...see my post above. chip values are relative and dynamic, not constant.
 
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