Wednesday, July 09, 2008

'Interesting' Exchange Of Mails...

Had an interesting exchange of e-mails last week with a particularly nasty individual who wrote to let me know that the ideas in my free 'Comedy of Errors' Poker eBook were wrong... at the lowest limits at least, since the 'donks' call with too wide a range.

Sensing the frustration I wrote back explaining at some length that every calling range has a corresponding pushing range and that time + patient mathematically 'correct' play = profit... should not have bothered! This nasty piece of humanity from the UK would not budge and instead of any 'thanks' for my assistance just sent back abuse (will not mention his name or publish e-mails / address (however tempting) as I have just a little in the way of dignity!).

Anyway - on to the point of this post... a question:

Can ICM (or any mathematically-based poker Strategy) actually help someone who is at the stage of their poker development where they can not yet profit from opponents who are trying to give away their money? (ie the people you'll face in a $3 or $5 SNG).

After all, poker is a game of adjusting to opponents based on betting and cards... the adjustments to people who are trying to give you money is the first base, if you are not able to do this then life will be impossible against people who are trying not to give away their money at the same time as trying to win yours!

My thought is not really that playing a 'correct' bubble in a $3 SNG according to ICM could not make a profit - it can and will. It is more that at the very beginning level, trying to incorporate an 'avanced' strategy into your game may be dangerous... for example what is the point of knowing your hand is a call at the bubble if you are going to stack off with an easily dominated hand in the middle stages.

In a situation where opponents are behaving 'irrationally' there are wider calling ranges to contend with, stack size considerations which drive ICM decisions in the higher buy-in SNGs are less important*, and you need to factor in a distinctly non-zero chance every hand that your opponents will burst the bubble for you (this can be easily esimated by increasing 'ev fold' by 10% or so each time - did a post here on it waaaayyy back).

* For example medium stacks will not usually call without aces when there is a micro-stack present in a $50 SNG... but are likely to do just that in a $5... making decisions on what to push from the big stack more complex!

So, if you are able to adjust to these circumstances and accurately assess the wide (sometimes crazy!) calling ranges then you'll kill the $3 SNGs. If you are at the stage where these factors are not clear then some small amount of $ equity strategy could actually be dangerous.

Ah well, a new thought - but one I'll carry on pondering - key thing to think about today is that if you can not adjust to take money from opponents who want to give it away then you need to, ahem, work on your game a little....!

GL at the tables, Mark


Sibbe said...

Guessing he has some dignity/self-respect issues...

Mark said...

lol, nice one Sibbe!

Cheers, Mark

mikewoodhouse said...

It's a bit like Hellmuth going off at the guy who called with 10-4 preflop and (presumably, or Phil would have been happy) won. Everybody who plays sub-optimally benefits those who play optimally. Something like that.

The trick (there's a meta thingy in here somewhere) is to be able to figure out what constitutes optimal play in context. As you say.

Mark said...

Nice point Mike - sure there is a difference between unexploitable and optimal play... but if you cant beat those who are trying damn hard to give away their money then it is time to give up!!

Cheers, Mark