Monday, April 30, 2007

Poker Math Made Easy!

Not every poker player is a math expert. But being able to accurately calculate probabilities in relation to rewards (the pot and future pot size) is critical to poker success.

I found the trick to make poker math easy. It is called the Golden Rule of Two.

You multiply the number of outs you have to win the hand by 2, per cards to come.

For example, you have JT of spades on the button in a limit game. A middle player calls and the cutoff raises and you call the double bet, and the BB and middle player both call.

The flop is 3h, 8c, 9d. You assume the cutoff raiser has a big pocket pair (AA, KK). We figure pairing our J or T will not win us the pot. We are positive we need the nut straight to win especially with all the fish in this pond.

To figure the percentages you simply take the number of card that will give us the straight (8) and multiply it by 2. Since there are two cards to come, so we can multiply this number by 2 also.

So 8 x 2 (for turn card) = 16% chance of hitting straight on the turn.
Then, 16 x 2 (river) = 32% of hitting straight with the turn or the river card.

So we can estimate that our odds of hitting the straight by the river is 32% - or almost 3 to 1 against hitting the straight.

The actual odds are 34.2%, but this method obviously gets you close enough. This assumes all the cards you need are still available to show up, which is rarely the case – so this estimation method may actually be better than the real calculations.

So if the two front player’s check and the raiser bets the flop. You know there are 6 big bets in the pot and maybe only 8 big bets at the river. It is going to cost you at least 2.5 big bets to call it down. That is a 3.2 to 1 payoff for 3 to 1 odds. A coin flip decision.

If you are certain the limpers will continue to call it down also, the odds change. The minimum that will be in the pot after the river betting may be 12 big bets, not counting your donations. Now you are getting a 4 to 1 payoff for a 3 to 1 bet – a clear call – or for Beerhog, a perfect re-raise situation.

Let’s say you have JTs on the button and the table all fold to the cutoff who raises. You know if you call you will have even a coin flip situation – WITH a near perfect flop AND both the SB and the BB calling. Is that the situation you want to put yourself in continuously? A clear fold.

Of course a Boother re-raise from the button may get the SB and BB to fold, leaving you heads up against the raiser. Your JTs is a slight favorite over small pairs and A-any, but hurting in a big way against AK, QQ, KK or AA.

Lesson over - now commentary.

34.2% is the percentage to hit that straight for normal players.

For me to hit that straight, it is 4.1% against a random player on-line or at a casino, or at Boother’s game.

Against ArticBlast, BonA1r, Boother, Beerhog, Cigar4John, DavetheDog, Hlam, 747, Matchy, Momo, Rownder, SpartyToJo and Tolly it is 3.7% that I would hit the straight and 99.9% of them hitting the straight if I have the big pocket pair in the hand with you mopes.

Sour grapes and being a sore loser were not involved in this commentary what so ever. – Nik Faldo

Thursday, April 26, 2007

NPP Internet Tournament League Standings

Here is the standings after 16 tourneys guys:
Place, Name, Points, (Tournaments missed), [Ave/Tour. played].

1st - Boother - 80 (2) [5.7]
2nd - Nik Faldo - 65 (2) [4.6]
3rd - Matchy - 58 (1) [3.9]
4th - Rownder - 52 (5) [4.7]
5th - Sev4TSev - 37 (11) [7.4]
6th - Momo - 32 (7) [3.6]
7th - Cigar4John - 28 (9) [4.0]
8th - Beerhog - 24 (last 11) [4.8]
9th - BonA1r - 13 (first 10 - 11 total) [3.3]
10th - ArticBlast - 12 (7) [1.3]
11th - Hlam14 - 10 (14) [5]
12th - DavetheDog - 1 (14) [.5]
13th - SpartyTojo - 1 (14) [.5]
14th - Bronco76 - 1 (15) [1]

The main ingredient to earning points - is to play!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Momo Wins NPP Internet #16

Seven players made it – which is over average (six is slightly under average).

I was soon low man as I hit two hands that lost right off the bat. That sent me steaming early. The tip off is that I didn't record those hands or the ones soon after. Not tilting, but definitely steaming already. Not good.

Hand #30 Rownder took a good lump of Momo’s chips without a showdown.

Hand #35 BonAir took a good lump of Matchy’s chips without a showdown.

Hand #36 ArticBlast hurt Momo by taking more chips without a showdown.

Hand #37 I took a good lump of Boother’s chips without a showdown.

Hand #38 I hurt Boother by taking more chips without a showdown.

Hand #42 Boother (7th) went out with AK when Rownder’s 55 held up.

Hand #44 Momo went all in with JJ and got called by Rownder’s AK and Momo’s hand held up.

Hand #47 Momo hurt Rownder by taking more chips without a showdown.

Hand #55 Matchy got hurt by Momo as he re-raised Matchy and the hand ended.

Hand #56 Matchy (AJ) took some of Rownder’s (KT) chips.

Hand #60 Rownder (65) hurt Matchy’s (AT) stack when a 5 hit on the river.

A record six players made the break and the chips looked like this:
Momo 3.7K, NikFaldo 2.9K, ArticBlast 2.2K, BonAir .9K, Rownder .4K, and Matchy .3K

Hand #64 Rownder’s (6th) A9s knocked him out when they lost to Momo’s 22.

Hand #65 ArticBlast and I call a short stacked Matchy’s all-in with a flop of 943. Matchy (5th) has A9. I had 65 and we never saw ArticBlast’s hand as I raised some chips when my lucky 7 fell on the river for my straight.

Play went on for a while and action started again on hand #88. Short-stacked BonAir (4th) goes all-in with 33 and is called by Momo’s AQ, and an A fell on the flop.

Hand #96 ArticBlast (3rd) went all-in with T9 when a 9 fell on the flop. Momo called with J9 and the hand improved for Momo with a J on the turn.

Hand #101 was the end for me, Nik Faldo (2nd). I had QdQs and re-raised a couple times the blind and Momo called. He had me out-chipped around 2 to 1.

The flop came 6s Ks Jh. A bad flop for me. Momo bet and I raised to see where I was at. I found out as Momo called. I am sure he has a K but I am just about pot committed.

I am quite sure I played this hand incorrectly. Not because I lost, but I should of folded to the bet or went all-in at this point.

The turn was a harmless 3c, ending my backdoor flush draw. Momo checks and I do too. I know I need a Q. The river was the 5s. Momo checks and I decide to bluff the flush and hope Momo believes me. He doesn’t and may have been forced to call anyway as he has K5 and made two pair on the river. If he had me on AK, he has to know he’s got me now. Great job Momo!

1st - Momo
2nd - Nik Faldo
3rd - Artic Blast
4th - BonAir
5th - Matchy
6th - Rownder
7th - Boother

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Poker is Subjective. The Reason We Love This Game!

Poker is subjective. Players will have disagreements on how to play certain hands. And none of them may be 100% wrong.

While there is always ‘the best way’ to play certain hands, player’s poker personalities may prevent them from making the optimum play. That doesn’t make it a bad decision, just not the best.

One player may always push the envelope. He is willing to take the swings in his stack or bankroll in order to maximize results. While another player will be conservative and not risk the ups and downs, but be happy with a lower but consistent ‘grind’ percentage.

And the reverse will also be true. The straight forward ‘take the odds’ approach may sometimes be the optimum play, but for the ‘thrill’ of the action, an aggressive player may decide to push it, even when the odds dictate otherwise, lowering his overall expectation on the same hand or situation.

Adjusting to your opponents is also a consideration. In both my examples, the optimum play as described might be correct for the standard table of one maniac, one rock, one loose caller, one great player, two gamblers, two decent players and you.

But change the mix of the table and the sub-optimum strategy may now become the optimum for THAT particular table. Your persona at that table at that particular moment may even dictate the optimum play for that hand at that particular time.

The absolute best players will adjust to the situation, while recognizing the many different ways to play a hand, and use the optimum way each time.

Having written this about great players and understanding this about great players, why do I not do this? Can anyone answer me? (as if I didn’t already know) – Nik Faldo

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Online gambling update

Guest post from the much-loved Fourputt:

"If market expectations are any guide, though, the United States will likely end up allowing its citizens to gamble online. In the hours after the WTO ruling was announced, stocks in online gaming companies lifted. Investors clearly see the writing on the wall, even if the U.S. government does not."

Article link here.

I feel it is my duty to update my friends that love me like a chicken to update them on issues of real importance. Seriously, this "blog" has fallen from a site that once prided itself on improving our poker skills to one than resembles the content you would find in any People magazine one would read while watching "The View" or "American Idol". '

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Boother Wins NPP Internet #14

Six of us had enough $ left after Tax Day to have a seat at the virtual NPP felt.
Boother came from near totally dead to first! A great run of cards and expert playing.

The play has really tightened up. When you play in these, settle in for the long haul. We did not have a casualty until hand #72.

Boother had started his comeback at this point after taking some chips off Matchy. But it was Momo's (6th) AK that got bad beat by Boother's AT, with a T on the river, that really lit the fire in Boother's stack.

From that lucky river, Boother played perfect poker to wrestle the chip lead away and then grow the stack.

On hand #80, ArticBlast (5th) goes all-in on the flop with 88. There is an A in the flop and Boother has one. An A on the river was the final nail in Artic's night.

On hand #86, both BonA1r (4th) and I are low in chips. I decide to call BonAir's all-in after a flop of 765. I decide he is on a straight draw, so my KQs might be enough. Besides, I have a back door flush chance and both of us need to gamble.

I was half right as BonA1r has 88. Ouch. But it was more painful for BonA1r as I got a K on the turn and the straight or another 8 didnot come.

This made Matchy (3rd) low chip man and on hand #89 he goes all-in with A7 against Boother's AT. No help for Matchy and we are heads up. Nik Faldo (3100 chips) vs Boother (5900).

At hand #100, it almost ended. Boother has been grinding me down and I only have around 2000 left. I have QQ and make the standard raise, hoping for action that comes. Boother calls and we see a flop of 478. I should be good here and go all in. When Boother calls I expect to see AK or 88, and am thrilled to see J8s.

The turn is a J! Well, it was good night for me, but a 7 hit the river, giving me the larger two pair and pulling the chip totals to as close as they were going to ever get.

For the next 60 hands, Boother does his ground and pound. I'm fighting back on occasion, but just can never get a hand, a flop or action at the right time to really play back. I need cards to win. Boother does not.

Finally, ground down by Boother's chronic raising and my usual run of Poker Stars sewer water, I (2nd) go all-in with 86 and run into Boother's monster 92, and Boother wins his 4th NPP Internet tourney of the year (which happens to be exactly 4 more than the host).

1st - Boother
2nd - Nik Faldo
3rd - Matchy
4th - BonA1r
5th - Artic Blast
6th - Momo

Good luck to all as the golf leagues start. Watch for 4Putt. He may be a beer bitch at your local course now since he was obviously neutered over the winter.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

NPP April Game Is Cancelled!!!

Sorry guys. Just not enough to make the game a go. I will ask for dates in May later on this month. - Nik Faldo

Beerhog - tell Gridlock it is off.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Sev4TSev Repeats – Wins NPP Internet Tourney #14

Proving #13 is not unlucky; Sev4TSev beat the star studded NPP tournament group for two victories in a row in tournament #14.

Dave the Dog (6th) was the first casualty on hand #20 as his JJ ran into Matchy’s A3 when an A landed on the flop.

Boother (5th) had the hard luck of his KK running into my AA to get crippled and then on hand #55, his 88 ran into my QQ. A bad time for two good hands.

My own evening was a roller coaster of accumulating chips and nice hands, just to see Sev4TSev take them away with better ones. I lost to the eventual tourney champ in all three of our showdowns as my trips, two pair and pair of aces lost to a straight, a flush and two pair on the turn.

Matchy (4th) got knocked out with 88 as Sev4TSev AJs made the flush on the river. Not exactly a bad beat as the situation is a coin flip anyway.

Rownder was low chip stack but got healthy on a hand #73 flop of 37J of spades. I had KK, Sev4TSev had 37 and Rownder had KQ - of spades!

I became low stack after my 3rd showdown loss to Sev4TSev. Guess he “has no idea what I am doing over here”. (Inside joke. Had to be at the last NPP game)

I (Nik Faldo – 3rd) went out on hand #80 when my desperation all-in with 88 fell to Rownder’s A9 when a 9 fell on the flop.

Rownder (2nd) and Sev4TSev battled for a while, but 747 whittled Rownder down and took him out with AA when Rownder flopped a pair a tens and he had to go all – in.

Nice job Sev4TSev! Two in a row!

1st – Sev4TSev
2nd – Rownder
3rd – Nik Faldo
4th – Matchy
5th – Boother
6th – Dave the Dog

On a different subject, The Wall has dropped out of NPP and the 4Putt Open in Mt. Pleasant on June 7, 8, 9, and 10. That leaves a spot in the 4some of Dave the Dog, Hlam and me. The cost is around $400 for four days of golf, poker, cigars and steaks. Let me know if anyone wants in.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Visa Debit Card

Any of the NPP gang have any experience with this????

Of course most of you have no experience in withdrawing your winnings.

[guest post by the most-beloved fourputt]

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

No NPP Internet Game Tonight

Sorry guys!
I could never get it right and I forgot to get something posted in time.
Next week for sure.
Nik Faldo