Friday, June 05, 2009

Poker Philosophy 101

I had a long post in mind, but it all boiled down to this:

Would you rather get your money in first (regardless of what you are holding) or call behind with Aces?

The first person who replies with, "It depends" gets a punch in the nose.


jjok said...

call behind because you are guaranteed to be ahead instead of sweating whether someone is going to call.

Nosepunch time......are you talking preflop? because if not, then it depends....hahahaha.

DrChako said...

It's a fair question, so your nose is safe. For now.

I suppose when I asked the question I was talking about pre-flop, but the idea I'm kicking around should apply pre or post flop.


KenP said...

You remember that cartoon I mentioned to The Wife?

Don't be so results oriented. You got your money in good.

Oh, sorry. We are really talking about poker here.

It all boils down to two profane words: Incomplete Information. If you could stare at the lint in your navel, you'd be doing pledge week shows as a self-help guru. (Surrounded by that here. Worse than cracked Aces. When you watch PBS at such times it is obvious that the women control the purse strings.)

Like those .99 signs say in the tourist gift shops, shit happens.

Katitude said...

I'd rather drink a martini on the beach, preferably with a man servant close at hand to refill the glass. And maybe one who knows how to give a good neck rub.

Wait, what was the question?

MHG said...

Weird, I was thinking about AA preflop the other day, and specifically when I've got AA preflop and get raised. I was contemplating my body tells and keeping a good poker face, but you bring up an interesting question.

I think I would prefer to get my money in first.

Calling with AA preflop is obviously fine, too--you are guaranteed to get all their money in the pot by calling, which is ideal, and you don't have to worry about having your soul looked into, while they contemplate calling.

Why I like getting my money in first is that they still have a chance to fold, which wins me money 100% of the time. Aces against the hammer of the same suits, the best match up in the game preflop, the hammer will still win over 10% of the time. I'll obviously take an 89/11 hand at any point, but I'd prefer a 100/0.

DrChako said...

Finally - Someone is applying math to the answer! I knew it would be MHG. Granted, this is no "100 lock" question, but I think it has a real answer and MHG's comment gets to the heart of it.


Sean D said...

Whatever gets the pot drug to me the fastest

Bayne_S said...

MHG is wrong you would rather be against A6o-A9o with 1 live suit.

Go Big or go home, I would rather hold the AA.

SirFWALGMan said...

I would want to call an all in with Aces pre-flop any day of the week. Post flop might be a different story. You asking to be in the eyes of the two potential people and I am never sad to see jams before me when I hold ACES. I am a big favorite in that spot.. well not me specifically as I run like shit.. but normal people. Only time I can even think of this being an issue is if some short stacked fucker does it and kills any action I might get.

Post flop is a whole nother can of worms because people it is just a fucking pair. I think post flop it would depend who is behind me and what kind of board I flopped.

Shawn said...

Call from behind, of course.

MHG through out some math, but I don't agree with it.

We'll start with an optomistic scenario. Say it's a 1/2 game, unopened pot. You're op has KK. Somehow we know everyone else will fold (it makes the math easier). If he's sitting in front of you and open shoves 200 the math here is easy. You are 80% to win $203 by calling. The bet has a net expectation of $122.40.

Now let's say he's sitting behind you and you shove first. Even if there's only a slight 10% chance he'll fold, you still lose money. You'll make $122.40 the 90% of the time he calls, 10% of the time you only make $3. Total expectation: $110.46.
Calling behind wins.

Now let's try a more realistic. Let's say about 75% of the time nobody will call you from behind. That drops your total expectation to $32.85.

You can try to crack my aces pre flop any day of the week.

DrChako said...

You are getting closer. Here is the key:
- With AA, you win 86% of the time against any two random cards.
- If you call behind pre-flop, you will lose 14% of the time.
- If you call behind post-flop, you may ALREADY be behind.
- If you get your money in first, you win 100% of the time your bet is not called.


Shawn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shawn said...

"you win 100% of the time your bet is not called."

This statement is misleading. What percent of the time are you not called? That's the percent of time you win what's already in the pot.

DrChako said...

I don't believe it's misleading, but you ask the ultimate incalculable question. The original post started by asking, "Would you rather get your money in first?" There is a not-insignificant % of time where you won't be called.

I would argue this: Let's say you are not called 1/2 of the time you get all your money in first. That's a guaranteed win 50% of the time. The other 50% (where you get called) you will win a certain % of those. Even if you get your money in with the WORST hand, you are still at least 14% to win. Now it's 64% vs 84%. But you won't be getting your money in with the worst hand (unless you are Jamie Gold). You have to assume that the hand you choose to push has value.

Does is have enough value to make up the extra 20%? I would argue that it usually does. Plus, you get to be the master of your own destiny. Calling behind is a losing formula unless you are holding a monster.


Shawn said...

Now we're getting into the "it depends" area you wanted to avoid. Is this preflop or is it post flop? If it's post flop what's the stack to pot ratio? If it's preflop is this a cash game, or is this the first hand in the WSOP main event?

But I also think we're coming back around into an area that matches the title of your post: "Poker Philosophy 101."
Thinking about what percent of the time you win the pot, rather than how much you win when you win, is an indiciation of a players philosophy. And that philosphy has impact on how much they will win or lose in poker.

Do you prefer to take the route that wins the pot the highest percent of the time? Or do you prefer that which has the highest expectation for profit? They are not the same.

Anonymous said...

Preflop, call.

Postflop; all in first.
This question is built in a vacuum especially in regards to postflop.

Poker isn't about winning pots.
Just winning a pot is a red herring in regards to playing winning poker.

Usually the one that wins the most pots in a session is a loser.

I agree with Shawns last paragraph.