Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Poker and The Magnificent Seven

"The odds are too high!"
"Much too high."
"Then we [give up]?"
"No. We lower the odds."

Harry Luck (Brad Dexter) & Chris Adams (Yul Brynner)
The Magnificent Seven

Poker is often described as a game wherein the object is not to win money, but to make correct decisions. That's fine as far as it goes, but there is a corollary to that: You must make better decisions than your opponents. What people often miss is that what this really means is that you must attempt as much as possible to make your decisions easy and your opponents' choices difficult.

Should you bluff a raise pre-flop? Sure, that's a good thing to do once in a while. Do you do it with Q9o or with 25s? The answer is surprising: It is better to bluff with 25s. Why? Because it's easier to get away from if you're re-raised before the flop. And if you're called and the flop comes all little cards, a continuation bet is going to look much more like you raised with a big pair. And if the flop has a 3 and a 4, your opponent will be unlikely to put you on a straight draw. If it has a 5, he won't put you on a pair.

What if you have that Q9 and it comes J94 rainbow? See how your decisions suddenly become more complicated? Did your opponent call with AJ, A9, JT..? If it comes that with your 25, it's an easy check-fold. But what do you do with 2nd pair and a weak overcard?

No comments: