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Lou Krieger

Implied Odds and Reverse Implied Odds—Go Figure, PART 3 OF 3

by Lou Krieger [Read Part 1 and Part 2]
Implied odds and reverse implied odds are both proverbial slippery slopes, particularly when considering all those marginal holdings—the kind that make up the majority of hands you encounter. With a marginal hand, you generally want to go to a showdown relatively inexpensively—and so do your opponents. With your big hands and a sufficient number of weak bluffing hands to balance your betting line, you want to play big pots. That’s generally the plan for most nolimit players. When you have one of those all-too familiar, good-but-not-great hands—the kinds of hands that have only a scant chance of improving—and your opponent either has a better hand already, or is drawing to complete a big hand, future betting rounds could cost you a lot of money. Now the implied odds favor your opponent, and what’s worse, you might never know it.

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Implied Odds and Reverse Implied Odds—Go Figure, PART 2 OF 3

by Lou Krieger
[Read Part 1]

Players often find trouble when they use implied odds to justify weak calls. Here’s why. Suppose you call a $10 bet on the turn in a $30 pot. Your immediate odds are 3-to-1 plus whatever implied odds you assign to the final betting round on the river. But unless your adversary is completely transparent or you have a terrific read on him, it’s all too easy to be overly optimistic—and therefore self-deceptive— about how much more money your opponent will be willing to invest in the pot if you make your hand. You might complete your hand on the river and try for a check raise only to have your opponent check behind you. You’ll probably win the showdown, but you would have won more if you wagered an amount your opponent would have called.

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Implied Odds and Reverse Implied Odds—Go Figure, PART 1 OF 3

by Lou Krieger

Even first-time players knows that poker is a game of odds, and while newbies might not be able to figure them, at least they realize that there’s a relationship between the chances of making a winning hand and how much money is in the pot.

 But they probably don’t know much about the twin concepts of implied odds and reverse implied odds—which sound complex and foreboding, but are really nothing more than opposite sides of a slightly more sophisticated way of thinking about risk and reward at the poker table.

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by Lou Krieger

Unlike many other forms of poker, Texas hold’em is a front-loaded game. You get to see five-sevenths, or seventy-one percent of your hand, on the flop, and that’s a real bargain compared to any other form of poker. The cost to see 70 percent of your hand is only one round of betting. But there’s another side to this too, and the flip side is that there are three remaining betting rounds but only two additional cards that can be used to complete your hand.

 Because seven-tenths of your hand is formed by the time you see the flop for the bargain price of only one round of betting, the remainder of the hand becomes quite expensive by comparison.

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Expected Value, Part 3

by Lou Krieger

This is the third and final installment in our series on expected value, or “EV” as players call it [read Part 1 and Part 2]. In this installment we’ll do a little arithmetic—nothing complex or off-putting; I promise—and by the end you should be able to incorporate the notion of EV into your poker game and make much better decisions at the table.

 Last time we used an example based on flipping a coin, which is a 50-50 proposition. It had neutral EV if you and your opponent were willing to pay the other $5 per coin flip, but turned into an enormously positive EV for you if your opponent would shell out $10 whenever you won the flip, but you only had to pay him $5 when you lost.

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Expected Value, PART 2

By Lou Krieger

This is the second part [read Part 1] in a series of three columns about expected value, commonly called “EV,” and how understanding this notion can dramatically affect your results at poker. Using EV at the Table. EV is generally used to understand and express the value of a particular play, such as betting or raising. A multitude of factors influence the EV of any given poker play, and they include: position, number of opponents, playing style, table image, pot odds, and more.

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Expected Value, Part 1

by Lou Krieger

In this short, three-part series, we’ll examine expected value, or EV. It’s one of poker’s foundations, and it’s difficult to imaging winning at poker without understanding this concept. Good players take it into account whenever they’re faced with a decision at the poker table.

 What is Expected Value? Even real poker mavens do not win all the time, which means even poker’s biggest names book losing sessions, just like you and me. If that sounds counterintuitive, consider playing a game or sport for money in which you had no chance to win. If you found yourself in a boxing ring with a top-ranked heavyweight, or were confronting a grandmaster over a chess board, how long would you continue to wager on the outcome of these matches?

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A Little Etiquette, Part 2

by Lou Krieger

 This is the second and final segment in our two-part series on poker etiquette. [Read Part 1]

 Discussing hands in play. Discussing your hand with others, even if you have released it and are no longer contesting that pot, may provide information that would give another player an unfair advantage. If you want to discuss a hand with a neighbor, wait until the hand is concluded.

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A Little Etiquette, Part 1

by Lou Krieger

Poker has its own little rituals and unwritten rules that smooth the game, speed it up, and eliminate confusion. It’s all part of “poker etiquette,” and while this etiquette won’t do much for you if you’re invited to take tea with the queen, it will get you through a poker game without any disruptions. Understanding poker etiquette and procedures gives beginning players a lot of problems, simply because it’s all new and the game is played at a rapid pace.

 Act in turn. Each player is expected to act in turn as play proceeds clockwise around the table. If someone bets and you plan to discard your hand, wait until it is your turn to act before doing so. Acting out of turn gives your opponents a big advantage. Knowing you will fold makes it easier for an opponent to bluff, and is unfair to the rest of the players. In poker, as in most things, it’s considered polite to wait your turn.

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Can You Beat Aces?

by Lou Krieger

This is a continuation of sorts of my recent two-part series on stack sizes (read part 1 and part 2). This time we’ll develop hand values that relate to decisions you might make under conditions defined by a variety of effective stack sizes.

 When You’re Short Stacked. Suppose you’re in a tournament and have only ten big blinds remaining. You can’t sit around and wait for a big pocket pair or Big Slick, because you’re unlikely to be dealt that kind of hand in the few remaining opportunities at your disposal. The effective stack size—the most you can win or the most you can lose—is 10 big blinds. While it’s a lot to you (since it represents your entire equity in this tournament) it might not mean much at all to an opponent with 40 or 50 big blinds in front of him.

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