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New for 2014: Small Stakes Solutions!

The mathematics of in-position play in Pot-Limit Omaha from pre-flop to river explained in 5 interactive lectures.
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PLO Post-flop Strategy

Folding Thresholds in 3-bet Pots: A Closer Look at your Opponents’ Strategy

“If you know the enemy and know yourself you need not fear the results of a hundred battles.”
Sun Tzu, The Art of War

Our primary considerations when choosing a line of play in a poker hand are the particular exploitable tendencies of a given opponent. Both ‘math’ and ‘feel’ players alike will agree that if a player folds ‘too much’ on a given street we can bluff him more often. But exactly how much folding is too much?

Away from the table we can do some valuable analytical work to calculate folding thresholds beyond which a player is vulnerable to exploitative bluffing. In so doing we also discover how our own exploitative lines expose us to being exploited ourselves. Thus the calculation of folding thresholds helps us both to more accurately target imbalances in our opponent’s strategy and to recognize when they are adjusting correctly to our strategy.

3bet pots provide a veritable haven of diverse exploitative lines for the observant player. Given their bloated size relative to single-raised or limped pots they also account for a disproportionate amount of the money per hand which you win/lose at PLO. In this article, we consider the mathematics behind bet/calling, bet/folding and other decisions post-flop in 3-bet pots.

My writing in this post is not meant to be an exhaustive examination of 3bet pots so we shall not go into much detail regarding our opponents’ ranges. The purpose of this analysis is to discover the threshold frequencies at which bet/folding the flop leaves a player open to being exploited. A knowledge of these fundamental frequencies will improve our awareness in 3bet situations at the table.
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By | 2017-04-10T13:22:52+00:00 June 4th, 2015|

The Equity Delusion: How much does chasing cost you?

“The future influences the present just as much as the past.”
Friedrich Nietzsche

Take a look at the picture above and ask yourself, “Why are these men running?”

We can’t be sure, but the chances are that they aren’t running from some rabid beast. In fact they likely aren’t running from anything at all. We can infer this from the fact that not only are these gentlemen wearing inappropriate beast-fleeing attire but that the lead character is looking at his watch. All rather mundane, so why, dear reader, have I bothered bringing this to your attention?

For those of you hoping for a surprise beast-chomps-man denouement complete with a graphic YouTube video this blog post will be something of a disappointment. My readers with a poker-focused disposition will have a lot more fun and should read on.

The point is that these gentlemen are roused to action by anticipatory anxiety: the threat of something bad happening in the future. In this case our heroes are presumably at risk of missing a connection or event. We routinely account for future events in our life decisions yet it seems harder to do in poker. Why? (more…)

By | 2017-04-10T13:22:53+00:00 April 20th, 2015|

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|