Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Commandment #5 - Run Your Profits And Cut Your Losses

Time to revisit Reuben and Ciaffone's commandments of big bet poker. This one 'Run With Your Profits and Cut Your Losses' does not appear to make much sense at first glance... are they suggesting some kind of Martingale system for poker?

Well the answer to that is a firm 'no', and actually their explanation of this commandment makes good sense.

The concept behind it is that people play differently when they are winning and when they are losing in a session... and that this is a matter of confidence and psychology.

When you are winning you are able to make decisive positive moves, you go with your 'reads' or logical deductions and make moves to back these up - you are not scared to get involved in pots and are somehow able to value bet effectively.

Conversely losing tends to make players more passive, you check behind instead of value betting the river for fear of being raised off of your hand - you fold in potentially profitable situations to avoid the possibility of an outdraw and so on.

Then there are the 2nd level effects:

When you are winning, playing confidently and pushing the table around your opponents will begin to fear you. In situations where they might have made a huge bet you could never call they will check or fold... you will have the initiative.

And the opposite is again true when you are losing - you'll be bluffed off of more hands, have your blinds stolen more often and so on.

Now - lets think of how this might apply to individuals and to the online game in general... after all we have a choice of exactly when to walk away.... will ask some questions:

= Ever started a session badly and just 'known' you were going to lose that night, but continued playing anyway?

= Ever built a stack and used it to win pot-after-pot as your opponents wait for the nuts to play back at you?

= Ever found yourself folding into the money at the bubble of a tournament since you might as well take the minimum rather than lose a coin-flip?

Yes to any of the above (like me!)? then I guess Reubens and Ciaffone gave us yet another good 'commandment'!

GL at the tables, Mark


AllanDuke said...

I have never started a session badly and 'known' I was going to lose that night!

Sometimes I will fold into the money on the bubble. But its been a long time since I've taken that route. Now its Power Poker 24/7!

Mark said...

Hey, sure 'knowing' probably too hard a word... could certainly testify to 'expecting to lose' before now - in the middle of a self-fullfilling monster-downswing!

Cheers, Mark

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Keep the spirit!