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Checking My Gag Reflex

By: jergul @ 04:21 (EST) / 184 / Comment ( 0 )

I recently watched TheLangiolier's (Dave Roemer) live session on Commitment (link below).  The video increased my poker enjoyment considerably - simply because I enjoy playing more when faced with fewer decisions that make me want to throw up.

The video provides reasonably accessable guidelines for seeing the difference between becoming involved in a pot and becoming commited to it (Dave uses a nice egg and bacon metafor to illustrate the difference). Knowing the difference helps my decision-making greatly. If I am only involved in a pot, then it is much easier to fold under some circumstances. If I knowlingly become commited to a pot, then decision to call a potsized raise or reraise is also much easier. I am simply faced with fewer vomit inducing choices when I avoid commitment before I am very happy with my hand's long term value.

The video plays into other things like standard raise, smallhand smallpot / largehand largepot, and implicit pot odds by extension. I try to look at it like this: I find it nervewracking that most any raise I make is always called. The flop will not tell me much when that happens because I might have been called by anything. The reason I think this is happening is I am signalizing commitment by the way I play. So opponents could be calling me with 7-2s unsuited for all I know. They will usually fold after the flop, but if they know they will get my stack in when they hit, then calling my preflop raise gives them long term profit.

This sucks. In my mind the only way of avoiding this is to avoid signaling commitment too early or too often. My raises will be respected more often and I can be more willing to dump a good initial hand if the flop dictates (how happy am I facing a re-raise with a QQ with an A on the board after the flop?).

You know, I sometimes get the feeling good players talk with their chips, while I shout with mine. I should probably stop doing that. In the name of politeness if nothing else.


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