Saturday, December 7, 2013

Inside the Villain's Head: Part 0: The Process Re-Thought

I got a little ahead of myself back in Part 1 of this Inside Villain's Head series. That is, I jumped right into initial villain stereotyping without really explaining the overall process of categorizing a villain, and how this typecasting fits into the process of hand and line reading. Sorry about that... uh, but the truth is I was sort of figuring out the overall big picture myself in real time (which as any long-time reader of this blog knows isn't anything new).

Anyway, I was trying to reduce the big picture of hand reading into some kind of series of digestible lumps, but the fact of the matter is I was getting a bit stuck. I had lots of pieces of the hand reading puzzle gathered, but I was unsure how to organize it, or, frankly, where I was going with it all. Said another way, I was floundering.

Enter Mr. Multi.

Long story short, I corralled MM the other day in my office, closed the door, and then tried to explain where the heck I was going with this concept of typecasting villains, and how this all fit into my overall picture of how one puts a villain on a) a hand range; b) a line; and c) their read on our range and line, if applicable.

During this discussion, I was essentially thinking aloud, drawing all manner of boxes and lines and stuff on my white board, talking a mile a minute, pointing here and there, connecting boxes to each other with arrows and dashed lines, numbering some, moving others, and so on...

About halfway through this wild scribbling and gesticulating, Mr. Multi shut me up with the wave of his hand. He basically pushed me aside and drew a simple little diagram on my white board, explaining that what I was trying to explain could be illustrated on an asymptote diagram. He went on to say that stereotyping gets you a long way up the proverbial hand reading ladder. Refining that stereotype with hard VPIP and PFR stats gets you further up a ladder, and then adding in other hand reading tools and methods (such as combinatorics, bet sizing analysis, positional analysis, secondary stats, tells, etc.) each continue to get you closer and closer to the perfect read. You will never actually get to a perfect read, but you're going to get damn close as you add information.

In a word: A-ha!

Mr. Multi then went on to surmise that stereotyping a villain might get you fully halfway up the read curve, and then each successive step would get you another 50% of the way to a perfect read.  It's basically Zeno's Paradox, writ poker style.

Like I said: A-ha!  The more I thought about this, the more it made sense. I'm not entirely convinced that the stereotyping gets you 50% toward the perfect read, but I do think that you're basically at 50% by the time you've charted an opponent on a PATL (Passive-Aggressive-Tight-Loose) graph, and figured out what level of thought he or she is playing at. Then, with each successive additional piece of information you gather and apply to the puzzle, you move up another ~50% closer to the perfect read. Here is all this rambling reduced to graphical format:

This is certainly not the full picture, and I'm sure I'm missing some key steps, but this little graph has helped tremendously in my organizing how to explain the hand reading process. A lot more of this to come as I continue gesticulating and waving my hands. (And of course as Mr. Multi continues to set me straight (or on an asymptote curve, as the case may be).)

All-in for now...
PS. Uhg. Heading off in a few hours to the airport for a 10-day, around-the-globe biz trip from hell. Blog posts may be in short supply as jet lag affects said gesticulating. Auf wiedersehen, hasta luego, et aloha. Translation: ugh.

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