Phil Rocquemore

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So far Phil Rocquemore has created 14 blog entries.

Poker Habits: The False Security of Conventional Strategies

“The nervous system and the automatic machine are fundamentally alike in that they are devices, which make decisions on the basis of decisions they made in the past.”
Norbert Wiener, originator of cybernetics

When we think of habits what first come to mind are physical actions: brushing our teeth, writing in our journal, going to the gym… or perhaps eating a bag of Cheetos, checking email, mindlessly surfing the internet(!) Yet we all have a far wider set of mental habits- thought patterns which we revert to either under conditions of stress or simply as our daily default mental states. In fact our physical habits are themselves grounded in these habits of thinking.

It should come as no surprise then, that in a game where we make thousands of decisions an hour, we soon develop patterns of thinking that help us automate decision-making. These patterns of thinking manifest themselves in patterns of our play at the table. They become our poker habits.

One of the greatest gifts of poker is that it rewards sincere introspection. To make any progress in your game you must first become aware of the reasoning behind your decisions. This is often an uncomfortable process, since chains of reasoning which once seemed secure are found to have weak links. A ‘standard’ betting line appears, upon closer inspection, as simply a bad habit. (more…)

By | 2017-04-10T13:22:56+00:00 October 20th, 2014|

Online poker is the first real-time ‘Data Sport’

God does not play dice with the universe; He plays an ineffable game of his own devising, which might be compared, from the perspective of any of the other players (i.e., everybody), to being involved in an obscure and complex version of poker in a pitch-dark room, with blank cards, for infinite stakes, with a Dealer who won't tell you the rules, and who smiles all the time.”
Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, Good Omens

Poker is not just a game of cards.

Modern online poker is played over multiple virtual tables simultaneously, with decisions for significant sums of money taking place every second of every day. In Pot-Limit Omaha poker, my game of choice, we play 70 hands per table per hour. The average pot size each hand in a $2/$5 stakes game is around $200. If you play 7 tables at once, a minimum for many professional players, you will play 500 hands an hour, and make at least 1 decision per hand. A professional poker player makes thousands of micro-decisions per hour for many thousands of dollars. With so much at stake, even a small percentage advantage in decision-making skill compounds to a significant profit over time for the astute player. (more…)

By | 2017-04-10T13:22:57+00:00 August 18th, 2014|

When to bet to induce: Does villain have a short fuse?

“Shallow men believe in luck. Strong men believe in cause and effect.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

A good deal of hocus-pocus clouds many betting lines in Pot-Limit Omaha. The exact bet size to use for a given situation often seems quite arbitrary. But this is to be expected! Seeming arbitrary is not the same as being arbitrary. If you haven’t done the math, why should you know the best bet size? Experience you say?

Then consider this: There is enough variance in poker (No kidding, right?!) that your subconscious mind is often going to mistakenly attribute profitable events to being a causal result of the betting line you chose. Thus whether you are correct in your belief that you know the right bet size in a given situation is largely a question of luck. (more…)

By | 2017-04-10T13:22:58+00:00 June 4th, 2014|
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