Friday, January 19, 2007

Poker Psychology vs Poker Maths...

After 3 years here in Budapest I have finally bitten the bullet and signed up for Hungarian lessons. Will start next month 2 evenings a week, they have 48 letters in their alphabet and a grammar structure that supposedly boggles the mind... should be fun there then.

Ah yes, Psychology and Maths. Read an interesting post over on the 2+2 forums. The original post was about running bad - hypothesising that there is no such thing, ie past events should not influence future games... it was well written and in a perfect world I would agree. Hang on though, this is not a perfect world and poker players are not perfect people... my view is that ones mindset does influence future play - that a bad run of cards can cause you to lose next time you play due to changes such as playing to tight or weak etc. Something many people (myself included) could benefit from working on!

The discussion then moved onto varience in SNGs, this was the really interesting part for me. Say you are a winning player with a 9% ROI (decent over the long term for the medium to high buy-ins) and a friend offered you a prop bet at 50/50 that you would be ahead in cash terms after 10 Sit and Goes - should you take it??

The answer is acutally fairly close, you would win this bet only very slightly more often than you would win it (51.4% of the time) not close enough to take a large bet as a one-off but still a profitable proposition long term...

With SNGs the difference between a positive ROI and a negative one can be just a few coin flips at the bubble... imagine you have played 100 $10 SNGs with a 20% roi - so $2 / game or $200 profit after 100 games. Now take 3 flips you won and change their outcome to a loss, we will take it that you went on to get one 1st, one 2nd and a 3rd - $100 less - suddenly your ROI is 10% instead of 20%. Big difference! Opinions differ about how many games you need to play for the chance factors to even out, there is a consensus that 500 at any one level is a minumim - not sure here, I think it should be higher....

Planning on returning to the subject of ICM tomorrow - will look at the 1 Big / 3 small Bubble scenario once more - this time from the perspective of one of the small stacks.

Cheers, Mark

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