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


Anonymous said...

First off great post Nik, I love talkin' about poker! I think our personalities sometimes get in the way of good decisions, and becoming a great player. I certainly see myself as sub-great, often relying too heavily on my own cards. Maybe that is why I enjoy Omaha Hi-Lo so much, it forces me to be creative. I have never played against Tolly yet (I hope to some day), but have plenty of time against Boother, losing to him more often than not. I frequently find myself muttering "great bet" and then folding. Knowing when to bet is a big part of greatness to me, especially on the internets because people reading ability is very limited in the virtual world. I also feel there is no substitute for experience, I hope to learn something every time I play. Bottom line is that my biggest limitations in poker are probably my tightwad personality and lack of creativity, both of which which dovetail nicely with my career as an accountant.
PS- Don't sell yourself short Nik, you are an incredible slouch (line stolen from Caddyshack).

Nik Faldo said...

Thanks Matchy, but thank 4Putt. He is the one that prodded me.

We are not getting enough comments to the site so I don't know what the guys want to read about.

BTW, that is one of the funniest lines in the history of movies. Let me try to re-create it:

Nik Faldo: "Don't think you have the NPP Internet title wrapped up already. I'm no slouch myself."

Boother: "Don't be so hard on yourself Nik. You are a tremendous slouch."

Anonymous said...

Thanks Matchy for the kind words. Now that I know I have you psyched out, I will keep up the aggressive play!!

Thanks even more to Nik for including me in one of the all time classic quotes!!! I feel honored!!!


Anonymous said...

A good quote from Herbavor a while back was something like "Hang around if you have a chance in the big pots, then break their hearts". Also once in the NPP live game Herb folded after I raised, then told me "Mike you had a hand because you were only playing your cards". Just between you and me I held the nut full house. I never forgot that one. I didn't tell at the time, y'all probably knew anyway. I felt like I was beat even though I won the pot!
Don't you guys agree that good players sometimes LOOK lucky. In the end we all get lucky about the same number of times. I got to learn to win sans luck once in a while.

Fourputt said...

Outstanding post my friend!!!

I read about poker, listen to good advice, blah blah blah... but never seem to be able to keep up with the best players at NPP - Herbagirl, Beerhag, and the infamous Tolly.

Those dudes play aggressively and "fast & loose". When I try that style online I get my lily white fat ass handed to me on a platter.

I live in fear and admiration of these three gentleman.

I must compliment the beloved Nik Faldo on writing an interesting article for a change.

Nik Faldo said...

Flattery will get you everywhere 4Putt. I'll post another soon.

I have not played a great deal with Booter or Matchy yet. Certainly not the hours I have in live action with Tolly and Hlam.

Tolly and Hlam are the Daniel Negraneu's of NPP. They usually know what you have.

What is scary is now Beerhog and 747 getting 'the knack' too. Let's not forget Thai Food - who we lost for the Tuesday tourney due to an identity crisis at Poker Stars.

tolly said...

Matchy and the new guys don't believe everything you hear and read. take my word for it HLAM is the king of NPP WITH tHAI food right with em, all the rest of us are just chumps,(thats not a putdown either guys so dont get your panties in a bunch) thing is HLAM doesnt drink except the one time he was hugging the bowl with some cider beer or something(sorry I missed that one) he takes advantage late in the night when beerhog mike, 747 and I have had a few............

I am just lucky , a tolly card kind of guy, hell I'm the only guy to this date that has gotten in an OMaha hi lo 9 player SNG and made it into the money before I realized it was Omaha High only, what a hoot...

beerhog said...


for some reason i have been blocked from this blog when using my blog name and password. so i had to make some changes to your blog. now i am back in charge.

anyone for a detroit trip tomorrow night to play some poooker?


Nik Faldo said...

Unfortunately, I can't get to Det-wtaaa this weekend.

But we should get an NPP trip down there some time. Mt. Pleasant would be good too.

Spooning partners will be by a cut of the cards.

Anonymous said...

Did this post make it?

My other submissions are absent.