Friday, October 19, 2007

Bad Night at Poker

One of my favorite features of my life in DC is a poker game i play with a rag-tag group of buddies roughly once a week. I have learned a lot about playing in that time but still have an enormous amount to understand. For instance, I got nailed on a big hand last night. We were playing Texas Hold-Em and three players remained. J had about $30, I about $15 and G about $15.

G was small blind ($.5) and J was big ($1). I had pocket Jacks. I raised three dollars. G called and J folded. The flop came Jd, 7c, 4h. I raised $10. G called. G had Qd 8d i think. The turn was a diamond (10d maybe) and I went all in. I thought either he had a high pocket pair or two pairs. I couldn't imagine he would have bet $10 into a pot of $17.50 on a three-to-a-flush with an overcard. Boy was i wrong. When I went all in he quickly called. I liked my odds. Though the turn improved his hand a lot, i still would win unless he made a flush. There were 9 remaining diamonds which would make that flush and cards overall 44 (52-2 of mine-2 of his-4 of the boards). The A, K, 9, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, and 2 of D remained in the deck. If the A, K, 9, 6, 5, 3 or 2 hit, G would win. If any non diamond hit i would win. If the 7 or 4 of diamonds hit he'd have a flush but the board would pair and i'd have a full house. He really had 7 outs but 37 cards (44-7) that would lose. Of course, he hit the non full-house flush and took my money. Arrggghhh.

PS: Poker is a bad form of investment unless you are very very good at it. I certainly am not. I budget it like an entertainment expense and expect to lose money. It's cheaper than a lot of restaurants and more fun. that's why i play. when i win, that's gravy.


At 10/19/2007 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

In this case you played it well, G was being stupid and got lucky. After the flop there were 10 Ds and 47 cards that he didn't know about. He had a 21% chance of getting a D on the turn and only a 4% chance of getting 2 diamonds. His expected value of the $17 pot was only 70 cents. Even if you only look at the odds of getting that first diamond, his expected value was $3.60. You technically need to factor in the odds of getting 3 Qs, but with odds of 6% and .3% it doesn't really effect the math much. End of story, G's betting $10 was a bad move and 80% of the time he just gave $10.

However, after the turn the odds changed a lot. There was now $27 in the pot. You put about $2 in raising the pot to $29. If he ignored the chance of the D pairing and giving you the full house(he'd have to know your hand to know that) he had a 19.5% chance of hitting his flush, so his expected value was $5.67 and betting $2 was a no brainer. Even if he factored in your full house he still had a 15% chance of winning so his bet made sense.

So what can you learn from this? Poker is still a game of luck. G was stupid/didn't care about losing. This game he got lucky, but if you play the same way next time odds are you'll be winning his money.


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