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jergul

/Mar/2012

The Poor Player Advantage

By: jergul @ 04:52 (EDT) / 232 / Comment ( 0 )
I have been reading (indeed), thinking (oh no), and may have uncovered a great poker irony: If an extremely skilled player knows I am an extremely poor player, then I can manipulate the crap out of him.

I am basing this on sort of understanding 3 things: 1. Equilibrium play (play between rational players making optimal decisions). 2. Exploitive play (play that would be sub-optimal vrs a rational player making optimal plays, but is optimal against suboptimal players). 3. Knowing about small ball (lots of small speculative bets that can cash in big time) and long ball (over the top betting).

For here is the thing. A skilled player will exploit poor players. But in order to do so, he needs to decide what exploitive strategy will work. If I am too loose and overbet, then he will destroy me. If I am too tight and in love with top pairs, then he will eventually crucify me.

Luckily it is the poor player's prerogative to do both. Often and pretty much at random. Which makes life difficult as the skilled player will have a difficult choice to make as he will nevery be sure which way I am playing poorly with a given hand (loose plays more hands of course, but poor players compensate by a timid balance that equalizes likelihood of too tight and too loose on any given hand).

Combine that with completely inept betting and the skilled player has a problem. His relative advantage rests with the ability to dominate and exploit the table he is at. A poor player can be a chaos generator that crimps that style.

Equilibrium play is a poor choice for skilled players as it grants all players at the table skill far exceeding what they have. But if exploitive play has a 50% chance of being the opposite exploitive variant the skilled player should be using, then equilibrium play is better.

So ironically, the poor player becomes a danger to the skilled player's tournament success as that players time is killed and the blinds grow. And here is the neat thing about being a danger. A skilled player will make plays he considers sub-optimal if elliminating a serious tournament success danger is possible. In this case, elliminating a idiot donk (me) may become important enough for him to make technically poor moves with the goal of making me go away. Which is fine and is an example of poker not being a 0-sum game locally. He gains extra value from killing me if he can as his ability to exploit others improves with me gone. I gain value from him trying to do so in a suboptimal way.

I don't have enough data to claim anything, but have noted that I tend to do better and enjoy myself more when I prattle away in chat and show regularly my horrible folds (I recently figured out how to highlight the cards). Enhancing my table image as the local village idiot may be helping me in ways I had not thought of before.

Besides, the active use of chat has helped me build up and learn an expressive list of Russian profanities. Another one of those intangible benefits of playing online poker.

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