Sunday, July 24, 2011

Red Eyes and E's and Other Changes

First things first: The RED is dead; long live the RED.

RED-M is now, probationally, RED-I. Mr. Multi suggested the change last week, and the more I think about it, the more I believe he's correct. I is for Implement is more descriptive of what a player is actually doing in that last step of the process than M is for Maximize. Ergo, we've now got red eyes... at least for now.

But we're jumping the gun a little. A few posts back I mused about the R is for Reads step and what goes into it from a high-level point of view. Today's topic is E is for Estimate.... or should that be E is for Evaluate? (Again, this whole process of breaking down a hand into logical "teachable" steps is still in the morphology stage in my muddled brain. I'm figuring the whole thing out about a half step ahead of you reading it here on the blog. Said another way [in my best Monty Python voice]: I'm making it up as I go along.)

Anyway, when we finish the R is for Reads step, we (presumably) have a decent read on "the situation" at the table. We know what our opponents' hand ranges are. And, even though I haven't yet covered this part, we also have read what our opponents' Evaluations, Decisions, and Implementations are, too. In other words, we know what cards the villain holds and what he wants to do with them.

So what next to do with this information? Answer: process it. If we know what our opponents hold in their hands, we can then estimate/evaluate how our own hand stacks up against theirs before deciding what to do. This comparison of our hand against their assumed range is called our hand strength equity. If our hand has a lot of equity, we probably want to play it for value. If it doesn't, we probably don't want to build a big pot.* Pokerstove, Flopzilla, TwoDimes, and a number of similar programs are available to help us determine our equity against assumed hand ranges.

In this E-step, we also want to evaluate what pot odds we're being offered, as well as the implied odds. We also can estimate how strong our other edges are that we can use to exploit the situation. For instance, we might have significant fold equity against one opponent that could factor into the the D is for Deciding step. Position and initiative also need to be evaluated in the E-step.

The E is for Evaluating is simply the intermediate step between Reads and Deciding. I tend to think of the RED-I method in two basic parts: the "RE" part, which are the steps of gathering data (theirs and ours), and the "D-I" part, which is application step. What's the overall situation, and then how do we maximize our expected value given this information?

All-in for now...
* This is just standard ABC "Big Hand=Big Pot; Little Hand=Little Pot" advice taught to all beginning poker players. In the RED-I method, we actually don't make this decision of how big we want the pot until, well, the D is for Deciding step. In the E is for Evaluating step, we're simply figuring out and estimating what edges, odds, and equities we have at our disposal to (eventually) exploit the opposition with.

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