Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Bug's Poker Tip #18

Whenever you take the best of it, you've already won.

Here's something that often blows a beginning poker player's mind: You win or lose at poker at the moment you check, call, bet, fold, or raise, not when the hand actually plays out. To illustrate this, let's imagine that your buddy offers a prop bet on the outcome of an upcoming pro football game. The Vegas line is +7 points, but he's so confident in his team, that he gives you 10 points. You take the bet.... so you've instantly won. The actual outcome of the game doesn't actually matter. You made a +EV bet, so you have already won. Let's say that again for clarity: RDM, baby, RDM. The results don't matter. You've gotten your money in good, so you've "won" in the long run. Poker decisions are exactly the same. Every time you call with a small pair, but don't have the correct implied odds to do so, you lose. It doesn't actually matter if the flop gives you quads, you've made a -EV play, so you lose. Every time you open raise from MP with QJo, get three bet by a tight player in LP, and then cold call his raise, you lose. It doesn't matter if you hit the nuts on an A-K-T rainbow flop, you've already lost. Poker is a game of the long run, of making +EV plays over and over, of passing up -EV situations, and ignoring the results of any specific hand.  When you take the best of it in a poker bet, you instantly win. And when you take the worst of it, you instantly lose. How the hand actually turns out is irrelevant. The sooner you fully accept this fundamental concept of gambling, the sooner you will make money at the game.

All-in for now...
-Bug

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