Friday, February 3, 2012

Annette: Bløff Eller Ikke?

I ate lunch on the University mall with Mr. Multi today. The conversation drifted between the usual gripes about work, a smattering of politics, and, of course, poker. During one of the poker threads, MM commented about my frequent contention that the primary reason one bets should either be for Value or as a Bluff. MM asked that, if this were in fact true, how would I classify Annette Obrestad’s betting in her famous “no look” tournament. 

For those of you unaware, Annette Obrestad is a Norwegian poker player who lays claim to being the youngest person ever to win a World Series of Poker Europe (WSOPE) bracelet. She's perhaps even better known, however, for winning a $4 entry 180-person online tournament  in July 2007. She won this MTT quite handily-- and she did it without ever looking at her own cards (actually, she claimed she peeked once during the tournament when she was faced with a difficult all-in calling decision). She did this no-look demo to show "just how important it is to play position and to pay attention to the players at the table." Click HERE if you want to be truly amazed at how unimportant your own cards actually are when placed in the hands of a professional (it's Part 1 of a 4-Part video).

Anyway, MM's question was an interesting one: why did Annette bet when she did in the hand? Was it for Value, as a Bluff, or something else altogether? To answer this, let's take a moment to review what the definitions of Value and Bluff bets are:
  • Value Bet: A bet in which you want an opponent holding a worse hand than yours to call.
  • Bluff Bet: A bet in which you want an opponent holding a better hand than yours to fold.
To select either of these bet types, you have to know a) what your opponent’s range is; and b) what your own cards are. Annette's hand reading skills are amazing at the former, but how the hell do you know the latter if you can't actually look at your own cards? Well, you can't.

Therefore, I don't think we can say that any of Annette's bets were for Value. In other words, how could she assume her hand was better than her opponent's hand if she couldn't see her own cards? Well, she can't.

On the other hand, however, I do think that Annette could safely assume that her own hands were relatively weak in most cases. Why? Because most of the time in poker we're dealt crappy, unplayable hands. Something like 80% of the time, in fact, you should be folding. Ergo, if Annette assumed her own hands were always lousy, then they essentially didn't matter. I.e., she just had to read her opponents' hand ranges, and then determine if she could move the player off the pot with sufficient bets and barrelling. Therefore, by definition, every single bet she made was technically a bluff, because every single hand her opponent held (from her point of view) was better than hers.

Kinda makes sense, doesn't it?  A little logic applied and the answer appears. Too bad MM and I can't analyze (and solve) our work gripes this easily. Or politics for that matter...

All-in for now...

1 comment:

  1. My thought for the day is that if Annette can play this way with positive EV than she ought to start a poker School for the blind,deaf and dumb.