I mentioned the other day that the year's biggest casino chips collectors' convention was in town this week, and that I would be scrupulously staying away so as to avoid any temptation to buy some collectible goodies that I can't really afford.
Saturday, June 25, 2011
If you haven't already heard about the crazy 5-way-all-in-preflop hand at the PLO event at the World Series of Poker a few hours ago, go read about it here:
Friday, June 24, 2011
Thursday, June 23, 2011
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
I was reading the current issue of Ante Up magazine, and came across an interesting column by psychologist Stephen Bloomfield. He discusses the results of a study that I had not heard about elsewhere. It's available online here (in fact, it seems to have been published only online, not in a traditional peer-reviewed scientific journal).
The gist of it is this: They took a bunch of volunteers and made them play lots of simplified Texas Hold'em hands against an imaginary opponent. The subjects' only decision in each case was to call a raise to 5000 chips, or fold and lose the 100-chip blind they had posted. The only information they had available on which to make the decision each time was (1) their own hole cards, and (2) an image of the face of the opponent.
The increased influence of trustworthiness on reaction time (Figure 3B) and correct decisions (Figure 4B) around the optimal decision boundary suggests that people are using face information most for medium-value hands. This could be explained by optimal data fusion –, which states that the more uncertainty people have about the value of their hand, the more they should weigh face information when making a betting decision. Since participants in our experiment were novices (12 of 14 play less than 10 hours/year), they may have a more reliable estimate of high-value hands since those tend to be more salient/memorable (e.g., face cards, aces, pairs, etc.) than medium- and low-value hands. Indeed, participants in our study took significantly longer to react to hands in the optimal fold region (Figure 3B), and also made significantly more mistakes for medium- and low-value hands (Figure 4B), supporting this notion.
It is also interesting that all of the changes in wagering decisions were observed against trustworthy opponents, while untrustworthy opponents did not yield any significant results. This asymmetry is even more fascinating given that people's perception of trustworthiness is more sensitive to changes between untrustworthy and neutral faces, than between neutral and trustworthy faces . One possible explanation stems from the assumption that people use a random opponent decision criterion in this task, unless there is information that an opponent is betting with non-random hands. In this respect, neutral and untrustworthy faces are functionally the same: neutral faces do not provide information about an opponent's style, while untrustworthy faces may suggest that opponents are betting with poor hands. However, if participants are already assuming opponents bet randomly, they cannot decrease their criterion any further. In agreement with this proposal, Figure 5B shows that the inflection point for the neutral (Green) and untrustworthy (Red) curves is very close to the optimal decision boundary for a random opponent. However, trustworthy faces may provide information that the opponent has a high-value hand, leading to the observed shift towards more conservative wagering behavior.
Interestingly, contrary to the popular belief that the optimal poker face is neutral in appearance, the face that invokes the most betting mistakes by our subjects is has attributes that are correlated with trustworthiness. This suggests that poker players who bluff frequently may actually benefit from appearing trustworthy, since the natural tendency seems to be inferring that a trustworthy-looking player bluffs less.
Monday, June 20, 2011
Of course you all already know to always play the Deuce-Four, since it always wins:
It just doesn't seem fair that some people can put up blog posts like this, and the rest of us are stuck just pretending that we know how to write:
Two young things are heads up at a table buttressed to the front rail. 200-400 limit mix. Plaques stacked on the table show the current game, switched every ten hands. One player is thirty, slow and solid, his girth backing up his moves and his gaze, deliberate in front of five stacks of black, ten grand worth. His opponent, twenty-three and perhaps a day, hates having to be here. He belies his disdain for these archaic cards, shuffled by hands, and the snail paced movement of the game, and every element of life in this the real world, with every ounce of his actions. His left hand moves like a piston, down over a tall stack of his chips, breaking it into two, and then breaking one of those into four, and then stacking them all back up again. He does it again. His eyes roll with exasperation when his opponent thinks for all of five seconds. He bets blind, he tries in vain to speed the game to catch his mind. He’s stuck, losing, but it’s more than that. He’s stuck at this table, this life, this virtual hell brought on by the DOJ when all he dreams of is being in his underpants at his desk with his two monitors, his headset, and ten tabling with his expensive mouse....
A new dealer comes into the box in the Aria game. She’s a pert forty year old lady with a coiffed perm and angular face. The kid goes right for her, long before she’s even taken the purse from her shoulder and hung it over her dealer’s chair. He’s at her jugular with pointy jabs. “Can you deal?” he barks. “Then let’s go.” She gathers the deck and then looks into her rack, trying to get her bearings straight. He leans over and reaches into the rack, invading her personal space. “These!” he barks. “See these chips? They go here, at ten you switch the game. Let’s go. Let’s go!” Most of his chips are in one tall stack, double high. The rest he’s clacking from one hand to another, making noise. He can’t stop moving, his energy boundlessly reflecting his mind. He swigs from a glass litre water bottle. He can’t stop. Nothing is fast enough. Nothing can make him happy. Nothing here outside the virtual world.
That's Jesse May, whole thing here.
Every once in a while I run across a poker-related phrase that I think would make an absolutely perfect title for a blog. I noticed one such today:
Sunday, June 19, 2011
Congrats to Memphis Mojo for a $5031 prize in the WSOP seniors event. See here for his denouement.
One cute hand was in respect to the PokerGrump. The table dynamics were that usually somebody raised three times the big blind and won the pot preflop. Because the blinds and antes were getting high, the pot to be won was substantial. I was in the cutoff seat with the mighty 2-4 off-suit and raised to T6000, expecting to win it right there. Unfortunately, both blinds called, ouch. The flop was 7-7-8, an excellent one for my purposes. They both checked and I bet T12,000. The small blind folded and the big blind gave me a dirty look and said, "I don't believe you for a minute," but he also folded!One of the lesser-known powers of the Deuce-Four is that it performs Jedi mind tricks on opponents, causing them to fold hands that are currently ahead. Of course, this is really a favor to them, because the next two cards off the deck were certainly going to be 4-4, and somebody would have lost more money calling you down with an ace.