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Thread: Skill vs. Metaphysics

  1. #1
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    there are a plenty of books out there that discuss skill and strategies, but none that discuss plain old luck. then again, can there even be a practical discussion about luck?

    im curious how other people deal with luck. i think the basic is the stop-loss cut off point for one's playing for a day (ie, lose $X, stop playing). but theres always the delimma that ensues: one's luck can change from one minute to the next --i believe this is called the gambling addict's mantra (thankfully, hold em IS NOT blackjack). nor does a stop-loss point address when luck is on your side... what (in $$$) or when (time) is that peak point in a session where you just wont win any more?

    let me share what happened to me that got me started on this:

    few days ago, went to play $1/2 NL at a casino. starting with $50, i was up to $650 in a matter of a few hours. i figured hitting a $1000 for day wouldnt be too difficult. went on a meal break, then poof! draws werent panning out, AK etc and pocket pairs, missed on flop, made a lot of 2nd best hands (ie, AQ on bb, flop AAJ and 5th position limped in with AJ). over the course of 5 hours, i was chipped down to a days total of -$200 and double up a lot of people who were chipped down to their last $30-40 bucks. FARK!.

    on the flip side of this story is something i think we've all experienced. sitting at a table for many hours on end, tossing in a few chips every so often only to fold on the flop, miss your draws... then POOF! within the span of a few hands (or a few short hours), you make back your losses and double/triple your money.

    so how do you deal? the only idea ive come up with is a min-max strategy (which i havent tried yet); lose lets say $200 quit, win $800 quit.

    i am curious and very interested to hear peoples thoughts and strategies for dealing with luck. we've all cursed bad players often enough, but i think we curse (or praise!) fortuna even more with greater passion.

  2. #2
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    there are a plenty of books out there that discuss skill and strategies, but none that discuss plain old luck. then again, can there even be a practical discussion about luck?

    im curious how other people deal with luck. i think the basic is the stop-loss cut off point for one's playing for a day (ie, lose $X, stop playing). but theres always the delimma that ensues: one's luck can change from one minute to the next --i believe this is called the gambling addict's mantra (thankfully, hold em IS NOT blackjack). nor does a stop-loss point address when luck is on your side... what (in $$$) or when (time) is that peak point in a session where you just wont win any more?

    let me share what happened to me that got me started on this:

    few days ago, went to play $1/2 NL at a casino. starting with $50, i was up to $650 in a matter of a few hours. i figured hitting a $1000 for day wouldnt be too difficult. went on a meal break, then poof! draws werent panning out, AK etc and pocket pairs, missed on flop, made a lot of 2nd best hands (ie, AQ on bb, flop AAJ and 5th position limped in with AJ). over the course of 5 hours, i was chipped down to a days total of -$200 and double up a lot of people who were chipped down to their last $30-40 bucks. FARK!.

    on the flip side of this story is something i think we've all experienced. sitting at a table for many hours on end, tossing in a few chips every so often only to fold on the flop, miss your draws... then POOF! within the span of a few hands (or a few short hours), you make back your losses and double/triple your money.

    so how do you deal? the only idea ive come up with is a min-max strategy (which i havent tried yet); lose lets say $200 quit, win $800 quit.

    i am curious and very interested to hear peoples thoughts and strategies for dealing with luck. we've all cursed bad players often enough, but i think we curse (or praise!) fortuna even more with greater passion.
    [/b]

    I am of the opinion that money management schemes are only a good idea if you are tilt-prone or under-rolled for the game you are playing. If it's the former, you should be working on that, if it's the latter, you should move down if your shot doesn't work out.

  3. #3
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    What has happened to you has happened to us all.

    We end up getting too much of our bankroll on the table and continue to play with it and risk "bad luck" wiping out a good session.

    If you put $50 on a NL table "they" say you should have a $1000 bankroll to do this (not to say your bankroll was $1000 to put that $50 on, but just for arguements sake) which is representing 5% of your bankroll.

    Putting 5% of your bankroll on the table should let you have some bad luck on certain hands and still be able to build your bankroll, after all the bad luck can't happen every session.

    Once you have built your stack to $650, you have a $1600 bankroll and are sitting with over 40% of your bankroll at the table.

    A hand like AQ with a flop like AAJ, AJ can take over 40% of your bankroll in one hand. Not a good situation to be in.

    My personal solution to this has been the "80% of max buy in rule". If I buy into a table for $500, I leave or buy into another table when I hit a $400 profit.

    Last week I grinded away twice to take about $880 off 2 $500 max buy in tables. When I entered the 3rd I got into a situation where I raised AA - called by KQ suited and got all-in on a flop of K43, yes the Q came on the river and I lost about $600. (my $500 buy in and about $100 profit at that table)

    I finished the day up about $380.

    As I looked back, I would have made this play for all my chips if I would have stayed on the original table and would have ended up a $500 loser for the day.

    Was AA vs KQ a bad luck hand, yes it was, but instead of having a losing day because of 1 bad hand. I ended up winning $380 (a nice swing of $880)

    I can't aviod the bad luck hands but I can take profit off the table and manipulate my bankroll numbers to make the "bad luck" hands have a lessor effect on my bankroll.

  4. #4
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    i agree with you jo (though you havent told me anything about dealing with luck).

    in case theres any confusion, i bought in at the NL game for $50 cause i didnt hit the ATM before being seated. i loss $200 for the day cause i had a bus to catch. (could of been more... could of gone home with a profit).

    ....i guess the bottom line is, we all play to maximize profit when we play utilising skill (raises, check-raise, cold call, etc.) but how does one maximize luck?

  5. #5
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    i agree with you jo (though you havent told me anything about dealing with luck).

    in case theres any confusion, i bought in at the NL game for $50 cause i didnt hit the ATM before being seated. i loss $200 for the day cause i had a bus to catch. (could of been more... could of gone home with a profit).

    ....i guess the bottom line is, we all play to maximize profit when we play utilising skill (raises, check-raise, cold call, etc.) but how does one maximize luck?
    [/b]
    You don't have to maximize luck. Play well, and in the long run, your luck will break even (you will have had as many lucky runs as unlucky ones) and you will be ahead. I think it's only a problem if you're underbankrolled for the games you're playing, and can be broken by an unlucky streak.

  6. #6
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    i get the point your making jo, and absolutely, i agree that skill compensates for fluctuations in luck over the long run --the certainty of math is central to metaphysics and professional poker.

    but for discussion sake, lets assume $100K bank roll for someone playing $1/2 - $2-5 NL, and $5/10 - $10/20 limit.

    what im trying to ascertain are strategies for dealing with luck, specificially --aside from math. how do you (anyone that is) factor "luck" into decision making? is it just wild ass guesses? are there "signs" you rely on to indicate a lucky streak, or a lucky streak is about to come to an end? that last point is really the central question of my inquiry, and which im hoping for some enlightenment.

    of course, i do accept the possibility that i may be the rare "superstitious" prop here.

  7. #7
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    i get the point your making jo, and absolutely, i agree that skill compensates for fluctuations in luck over the long run --the certainty of math is central to metaphysics and professional poker.

    but for discussion sake, lets assume $100K bank roll for someone playing $1/2 - $2-5 NL, and $5/10 - $10/20 limit.

    what im trying to ascertain are strategies for dealing with luck, specificially --aside from math. how do you (anyone that is) factor "luck" into decision making? is it just wild ass guesses? are there "signs" you rely on to indicate a lucky streak, or a lucky streak is about to come to an end? that last point is really the central question of my inquiry, and which im hoping for some enlightenment.

    of course, i do accept the possibility that i may be the rare "superstitious" prop here.
    [/b]
    I personally think that you can only talk about lucky streaks and unlucky streaks in the past tense. There is no way for me to say something to the effect of "I am on a lucky streak right now," because doing that requires believing that cards dealt on previous hands can tell you something about cards dealt on current and future hands. My understanding of probability tells me that's not the way the world works. Could be different for others, though.

  8. #8
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    Isn't "luck" just a mathamatical term.

    We consider the guy who wins the lottery "lucky" cause he beat 40 million to 1 odds.

    And don't we consider the 1 in 7 million that are struck and killed by lightning "unlucky"

    If luck is a mathamatical term, isn't it our "job" as poker players to work it in to are mathamatical calculations so it has the least amount of negative effect on our bankroll.

    Personally I think luck is just the randomness of the universe and some of the mathamatical calculations used are just over are head and we as humans will never understand.

  9. #9
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    Isn't "luck" just a mathamatical term.

    We consider the guy who wins the lottery "lucky" cause he beat 40 million to 1 odds.

    And don't we consider the 1 in 7 million that are struck and killed by lightning "unlucky"

    If luck is a mathamatical term, isn't it our "job" as poker players to work it in to are mathamatical calculations so it has the least amount of negative effect on our bankroll.

    Personally I think luck is just the randomness of the universe and some of the mathamatical calculations used are just over are head and we as humans will never understand.
    [/b]
    Luck is not at all a mathematical term, and has no place in any of the calculations that you're talking about that I am aware of.

  10. #10
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    I think when I lose all-in with my pocket Aces to pocket Kings, the other guy is lucky.

    WHY ???

    Because he was a 4:1 underdog

    How else do we determine who is lucky and who is unlucky in AA vs KK.


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