Losing is winning?

M

maltz

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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. :p
 
KingNothing4

KingNothing4

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my take on it is that if u take that same play over and over u would win more than u lose because the odds of him sucking out gerneally arent better than the odds he loses the hand...but seeing as playing the same hand over and over is never the case in poker, my take is probably worthless....haha
 
aliengenius

aliengenius

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Right. And keeping with the idea of 'Sklansy bucks', even when you opponent misses, you can think that you "sucked out" on HIM, because he had about 25% equity in the pot; i.e., he is "entitiled" to a quarter of what you won, but you got it all !
 
M

Madness_does

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my take on it is that if u take that same play over and over u would win more than u lose because the odds of him sucking out generally aren't better than the odds he loses the hand...

This is my whole damm problem with online poker in general, I can't post how many times today alone that I have typed up in the room, hey the worst hand wins again, and again and again and again, lol I lost count, its seems to be a fact that making the right decision at the right time does not pay off in online poker in the long run at all, in real life, well thats very different story. Hence why we should not call online poker real poker, but should call it online entertainment or online cards entertainment, because in real play bad beats happen, but its not the bad beats that bother me so much as its the monster hands coming out beyond reality and people saying, HEY that is normal. Online poker is a good basis for learning the game of holdem in general, then you should go live and hope you have some good skills in reading people and having a lot of patience. Don't get me wrong online poker is fun, its just at some point your going to have to separate the two, from online to real life, I think there is a large difference. Don't know about anyone else but David is a master at the game, use it for real live play, as far as internet is concerned, I don't think it holds up in online play. But every little bit helps, game on. cheers.
 
Schatzdog

Schatzdog

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Theoretically you've won in the long run because you charged a price to draw that is higher than the odds of hitting the hand, so in the long run you show a profit from this position even though in the actual hand you lost.

In NL the maths isn't so rigid because implieds odds play such a big role and need to be factored into the EV equation. Here you need to be putting in some assumptions about your opponent based on his tendencies. Better players offer lower implieds while weaker players offer better implieds.

Good question though.​
 
titans4ever

titans4ever

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Here it is a very basic example of it. You are a good player and give incorrect odds. I am a weaker betting player and give correct odds to call.

100 hands heads up you and me. Pot is $10 on the flop. You hold A 10 and I have 7 9 to a board of 10 8 2. You will win this hand 64% of the time to my 34%. You will play it the right way and I will the wrong way.

Pot is $10 but has a goofy draw. You want to give incorrect odds for me to call but low enough I might gamble. You bet 1/2 the pot on flop and turn and do a nice 1/4 value bet on river. My hand is alittle hidden and I am loose so I call flop bet and turn bet no matter if I hit or not. I fold to any river bet unless I hit my straight. The hands you win you will win $5 preflop + $5 flop + $10 on turn = $20 from me each time you win. I will win $5 +$5 +$10 +$10 (river bet you fold when I push all-in and you fold) = $30. You will make $20 x 64 = $1280 on the hands you win and lose $30 x 34 = $1020 for a profit of $280. This is crude at best because you bet $10 every time even though you should see there is a straight draw out there. But you see you still will make money doing it.

Same set up but now I get to be the A 10 and you the draw. I am weaker and don't like to bet. I only do $3 all the way down (you see people bet like this all the time, and it also gives your opponent correct odds to call). You will do the same call and reraise. I will only win $5 + $3 + $3 = $11 for the hands I win but only loose $14 when I don't. 64 x $11 = $704 for when I win and 34 x $14 = 476 on my loses for a profit of $228.

I only made $228 and you made $280. You made $52 more than me on the same 100 hands. Long term you made money and more of it.

This is a very simplifed example. This doesn't even consider the fact that you will check/fold some of the rivers when you see the straight and don't want to pay them off.
 
Last edited:
titans4ever

titans4ever

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I answered part one above. Here is the rest.
(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.
This is poker and gambling. You are making correct plays but you are not 100% to win this hand. You will lose hands after the flop even though you are ahead now. You cannot get away from it. The trick is to make move that in the LONG RUN will win you more than you lose.

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.
This bueaty is called variance. I went on a streak where I lost with AA and KK 13 times in a row. That doesn't mean I should win the next 20 times with it. It just happens to everyone once in awhile. Even with that bad streak I still win with AA and KK about the right amount.

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.
:p One of my favorite poker quotes is "Luck pays off at the moment, skill pays you at the end of the month." This means that if you do thing right you will in the long run make a profit.
 
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