Author Topic: Supplementing Income with Poker?  (Read 28816 times)

JGB

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Re: Supplementing Income with Poker?
« Reply #50 on: April 28, 2015, 08:28:19 AM »
It seems a someone that was commenting on this post last year, JGB, may be the person who was interviewed by him? Anyways just thought I'd add this, sorry for the offish topic post.
I've helped Mad Fientist debug some of his tools, and we talked briefly about working together to do further development efforts down the line (once we're both fully post-FIRE), but that's the extent of my interaction with him. I'm not to the point of FIRE just yet.

The podcast you're talking about was from another training site focused on mid-stakes and high-stakes poker, with info on how to beat people who know what they are doing. Grinderschool.com (my site) is focused on micro-stakes and low-stakes poker, with info on how to beat recreational players and others who have significant leaks in their game (as well as a recent shift toward overall Game-Theory-Optimal play).

Jeremy E.

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Re: Supplementing Income with Poker?
« Reply #51 on: April 28, 2015, 11:24:24 AM »
I didn't think there would be multiple people that poke around the FIRE blogs and also got a startup fund playing poker and then made poker training sites, but I was wrong, I guess it's not such a small world after all.

DoubleDown

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Re: Supplementing Income with Poker?
« Reply #52 on: April 28, 2015, 01:34:01 PM »
Re: Poker as "gambling." Some people understandably and reflexively equate playing poker with "gambling," but they should understand that poker and other games where you can gain a small statistical advantage over opponents will very reliably (with mathematical certainty) provide positive returns, as promised by the Law of Large Numbers.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Law_of_large_numbers.

In that sense, one is not "gambling" at all if they have a statistical advantage through their skill. In the short run there may be ups and downs, but in the long run they will reach their expected value. This is the very premise of how casinos earn billions of dollars every year, by exploiting small statistical advantages over the masses of players and lots of time. So, for those of you worried that skilled poker players are gambling away their futures, it's likely misplaced concern (unless they are unskilled, then it is very legitimate cause for concern). And for what it's worth, I'm not a poker player at all.

Iron Mike Sharpe

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Re: Supplementing Income with Poker?
« Reply #53 on: April 28, 2015, 02:43:45 PM »
Yup.

It's like if I offered you a proposition to flip a quarter for $100.  If it is heads, I win $100 from you.  If it is tails, I will pay you $100.  Only thing is this quarter comes up tails 55% of the time.

Let's say I somehow win first 10 flips in a row and then ask you if you want to keep flipping.  Hopefully, your answer is to keep flipping indefinitely. 

arebelspy

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Re: Supplementing Income with Poker?
« Reply #54 on: April 28, 2015, 02:49:48 PM »
Yup.

It's like if I offered you a proposition to flip a quarter for $100.  If it is heads, I win $100 from you.  If it is tails, I will pay you $100.  Only thing is this quarter comes up tails 55% of the time.

Let's say I somehow win first 10 flips in a row and then ask you if you want to keep flipping.  Hopefully, your answer is to keep flipping indefinitely.

I'd question the coin, the odds of a 45% occurance happening 10x in a row is 0.034%  (not 3%.. 1/33rd of 1%, i.e. ~3 times in 1000).  ;)

But yeah, with an EV of $10/flip, flipping indefinitely is the way to go. There will be swings, but as long as you have an edge, and can consistently have one without tilting or anything like that, the law of large numbers will play out.
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zurich78

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Re: Supplementing Income with Poker?
« Reply #55 on: April 29, 2015, 12:45:15 PM »
Re: Poker as "gambling." Some people understandably and reflexively equate playing poker with "gambling," but they should understand that poker and other games where you can gain a small statistical advantage over opponents will very reliably (with mathematical certainty) provide positive returns, as promised by the Law of Large Numbers.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Law_of_large_numbers.

In that sense, one is not "gambling" at all if they have a statistical advantage through their skill. In the short run there may be ups and downs, but in the long run they will reach their expected value. This is the very premise of how casinos earn billions of dollars every year, by exploiting small statistical advantages over the masses of players and lots of time. So, for those of you worried that skilled poker players are gambling away their futures, it's likely misplaced concern (unless they are unskilled, then it is very legitimate cause for concern). And for what it's worth, I'm not a poker player at all.

Misplaced concern?  Almost every single professional poker player has gone broke at least once in their careers.

Here's the problem with the math argument.  It works fine in a theoretical model over millions of hands.  It also works fine if you're not a human being.  The math argument says that if you have a 3% chance of winning a hand, the proper play is to make a bet that is any amount less than 3% of the pot as long as you have at least a 3% chance of winning. 

So, if someone makes a bet that is 2% of the pot size and your hand has a 3% chance or better of winning, you HAVE to call to play by the math.

If the pot is a $5,000,000 pot, to play by the math, you'd have to put up $100,000 even though you have a 97% chance of losing!

Unless you have money to throw away, you're never going to make that call, and you shouldn't.  Well, unless you're playing math theory, then you definitely should. 

Let's say if you sell all of your assets, you had $500,000.  And I offered you a one-time opportunity to make $5.5M.  You have a 90% chance of losing everything you have but mathematically, you should still make that call.  But no reasonable human would.

frugalnacho

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Re: Supplementing Income with Poker?
« Reply #56 on: April 29, 2015, 12:54:43 PM »
Re: Poker as "gambling." Some people understandably and reflexively equate playing poker with "gambling," but they should understand that poker and other games where you can gain a small statistical advantage over opponents will very reliably (with mathematical certainty) provide positive returns, as promised by the Law of Large Numbers.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Law_of_large_numbers.

In that sense, one is not "gambling" at all if they have a statistical advantage through their skill. In the short run there may be ups and downs, but in the long run they will reach their expected value. This is the very premise of how casinos earn billions of dollars every year, by exploiting small statistical advantages over the masses of players and lots of time. So, for those of you worried that skilled poker players are gambling away their futures, it's likely misplaced concern (unless they are unskilled, then it is very legitimate cause for concern). And for what it's worth, I'm not a poker player at all.

Misplaced concern?  Almost every single professional poker player has gone broke at least once in their careers.

Here's the problem with the math argument.  It works fine in a theoretical model over millions of hands.  It also works fine if you're not a human being.  The math argument says that if you have a 3% chance of winning a hand, the proper play is to make a bet that is any amount less than 3% of the pot as long as you have at least a 3% chance of winning. 

So, if someone makes a bet that is 2% of the pot size and your hand has a 3% chance or better of winning, you HAVE to call to play by the math.

If the pot is a $5,000,000 pot, to play by the math, you'd have to put up $100,000 even though you have a 97% chance of losing!

Unless you have money to throw away, you're never going to make that call, and you shouldn't.  Well, unless you're playing math theory, then you definitely should. 

Let's say if you sell all of your assets, you had $500,000.  And I offered you a one-time opportunity to make $5.5M.  You have a 90% chance of losing everything you have but mathematically, you should still make that call.  But no reasonable human would.

This is why you need a large enough bank roll to cover the bets.  The same reason you don't retire when you only have 10X your spending accumulated.  You might end up ok, but what if the market crashes hard the first year of FIRE? Then your retirement is ruined because you only have 10X your expenses, and that just dropped to 5x because of the market crash.  To use that as an example that retirement is impossible because you could potentially lose half your stache is absurd.

I need to restate it because it's critical to long term success in poker.  You must have enough money in your bank roll to ride out the bad beats, and streaks of bad cards, just like you need enough money in retirement accounts to ride out bad markets.  Placing a significant fraction of your stache or bankroll on a single bet is a bad move even if you have +EV.  It's +EV, but you can't afford to take that bet in the first place.

dsmexpat

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Re: Supplementing Income with Poker?
« Reply #57 on: April 29, 2015, 12:58:40 PM »
Re: Poker as "gambling." Some people understandably and reflexively equate playing poker with "gambling," but they should understand that poker and other games where you can gain a small statistical advantage over opponents will very reliably (with mathematical certainty) provide positive returns, as promised by the Law of Large Numbers.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Law_of_large_numbers.

In that sense, one is not "gambling" at all if they have a statistical advantage through their skill. In the short run there may be ups and downs, but in the long run they will reach their expected value. This is the very premise of how casinos earn billions of dollars every year, by exploiting small statistical advantages over the masses of players and lots of time. So, for those of you worried that skilled poker players are gambling away their futures, it's likely misplaced concern (unless they are unskilled, then it is very legitimate cause for concern). And for what it's worth, I'm not a poker player at all.

Misplaced concern?  Almost every single professional poker player has gone broke at least once in their careers.

Here's the problem with the math argument.  It works fine in a theoretical model over millions of hands.  It also works fine if you're not a human being.  The math argument says that if you have a 3% chance of winning a hand, the proper play is to make a bet that is any amount less than 3% of the pot as long as you have at least a 3% chance of winning. 

So, if someone makes a bet that is 2% of the pot size and your hand has a 3% chance or better of winning, you HAVE to call to play by the math.

If the pot is a $5,000,000 pot, to play by the math, you'd have to put up $100,000 even though you have a 97% chance of losing!

Unless you have money to throw away, you're never going to make that call, and you shouldn't.  Well, unless you're playing math theory, then you definitely should. 

Let's say if you sell all of your assets, you had $500,000.  And I offered you a one-time opportunity to make $5.5M.  You have a 90% chance of losing everything you have but mathematically, you should still make that call.  But no reasonable human would.
You're saying this as if this is some amazing new idea that poker players aren't aware of which disproves everything when really it's about as basic and easily solvable as anything in poker gets. If you practice bankroll management you will never be in a situation in which any decision represents a threat to your bankroll.

You shouldn't talk about poker with people who know more about poker than you which in this case means literally everyone.  MOD NOTE: Forum rule #1.
« Last Edit: April 29, 2015, 01:30:25 PM by arebelspy »

DoubleDown

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Re: Supplementing Income with Poker?
« Reply #58 on: April 29, 2015, 02:31:39 PM »
Re: Poker as "gambling." Some people understandably and reflexively equate playing poker with "gambling," but they should understand that poker and other games where you can gain a small statistical advantage over opponents will very reliably (with mathematical certainty) provide positive returns, as promised by the Law of Large Numbers.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Law_of_large_numbers.

In that sense, one is not "gambling" at all if they have a statistical advantage through their skill. In the short run there may be ups and downs, but in the long run they will reach their expected value. This is the very premise of how casinos earn billions of dollars every year, by exploiting small statistical advantages over the masses of players and lots of time. So, for those of you worried that skilled poker players are gambling away their futures, it's likely misplaced concern (unless they are unskilled, then it is very legitimate cause for concern). And for what it's worth, I'm not a poker player at all.

Misplaced concern?  Almost every single professional poker player has gone broke at least once in their careers.

Here's the problem with the math argument.  It works fine in a theoretical model over millions of hands.  It also works fine if you're not a human being.  The math argument says that if you have a 3% chance of winning a hand, the proper play is to make a bet that is any amount less than 3% of the pot as long as you have at least a 3% chance of winning. 

So, if someone makes a bet that is 2% of the pot size and your hand has a 3% chance or better of winning, you HAVE to call to play by the math.

If the pot is a $5,000,000 pot, to play by the math, you'd have to put up $100,000 even though you have a 97% chance of losing!

Unless you have money to throw away, you're never going to make that call, and you shouldn't.  Well, unless you're playing math theory, then you definitely should. 

Let's say if you sell all of your assets, you had $500,000.  And I offered you a one-time opportunity to make $5.5M.  You have a 90% chance of losing everything you have but mathematically, you should still make that call.  But no reasonable human would.

This is why you need a large enough bank roll to cover the bets.

+1

For the doubters: Math also provides a reliable way to determine the exact bankroll amount (or capital) required to succeed with X% probability. For example, you can determine exactly how much is needed to assure you will never go bankrupt with 99.99% probability, or whatever level of certainty is desired.

Again, this is how casinos make money and do not go bankrupt based on some random guy's "lucky streak." They have a gigantic amount of capital to ride out anyone's winning streak, and they put betting limits in place to ensure that no one (or small number) of very large bets will break them.

If you replace the words "advantage player" with "casino" you'll see that this strategy is in fact a profitable one. Casinos have made money for decades taking advantage of the known odds in their favor. It's no different for a skilled player, and if you stick to the claim that an advantage player is destined to lose or go bankrupt, then you really have to say all casinos are destined to go bankrupt when someone gets lucky against them (that is, not because they just went out of business for lack of clientele or other business reasons). That is clearly a false argument, as casinos are turning billions of dollars in profits by exploiting the relatively small statistical odds in their favor.

dividendman

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Re: Supplementing Income with Poker?
« Reply #59 on: April 29, 2015, 03:22:15 PM »
Also the fact that a lot of professional poker players have gone bankrupt only *proves* the point of bankroll management. When you're playing $1M cash games having $30M isn't enough.

There are a lot of poker pros who haven't gone bankrupt as well.

JGB

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Re: Supplementing Income with Poker?
« Reply #60 on: April 30, 2015, 06:50:44 AM »
As others have noted, bankroll management is important and by playing within the realm of what you can mathematically risk without risking your bankroll, you essentially lower the chance of bad results at games you beat to nearly zero. But there is another important side note: many (possibly most) of the famous poker pros who have gone bankrupt did so through non-poker gambling. It's a story that is repeated over and over: guy makes good, reliable money playing poker and then he loses all of it and more playing high stakes roulette.

To someone approaching poker from a non-gambling perspective, that scenario has absolutely no relevance. Many poker players (myself included) detest table games where you are gambling against the house.

Ccube19

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Re: Supplementing Income with Poker?
« Reply #61 on: April 30, 2015, 07:23:49 AM »
I've also thought about suplementing income with poker in retirement, something that could happen as soon as January. Plan is to have 700k plus invested so I figure 15-20k for a poker bank roll isn't too risky.

Best case scenario is I can get in 10,000 hands between now and January, any thoughts on the data I should capture as I play, other then the obvious money and time?  Also any conservative adjustments I cam make to adjust my win rate to at least get an idea if it's positive since 10,000 hands isn't a great sample?

Thanks

zurich78

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Re: Supplementing Income with Poker?
« Reply #62 on: April 30, 2015, 08:53:47 AM »
Re: Poker as "gambling." Some people understandably and reflexively equate playing poker with "gambling," but they should understand that poker and other games where you can gain a small statistical advantage over opponents will very reliably (with mathematical certainty) provide positive returns, as promised by the Law of Large Numbers.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Law_of_large_numbers.

In that sense, one is not "gambling" at all if they have a statistical advantage through their skill. In the short run there may be ups and downs, but in the long run they will reach their expected value. This is the very premise of how casinos earn billions of dollars every year, by exploiting small statistical advantages over the masses of players and lots of time. So, for those of you worried that skilled poker players are gambling away their futures, it's likely misplaced concern (unless they are unskilled, then it is very legitimate cause for concern). And for what it's worth, I'm not a poker player at all.

Misplaced concern?  Almost every single professional poker player has gone broke at least once in their careers.

Here's the problem with the math argument.  It works fine in a theoretical model over millions of hands.  It also works fine if you're not a human being.  The math argument says that if you have a 3% chance of winning a hand, the proper play is to make a bet that is any amount less than 3% of the pot as long as you have at least a 3% chance of winning. 

So, if someone makes a bet that is 2% of the pot size and your hand has a 3% chance or better of winning, you HAVE to call to play by the math.

If the pot is a $5,000,000 pot, to play by the math, you'd have to put up $100,000 even though you have a 97% chance of losing!

Unless you have money to throw away, you're never going to make that call, and you shouldn't.  Well, unless you're playing math theory, then you definitely should. 

Let's say if you sell all of your assets, you had $500,000.  And I offered you a one-time opportunity to make $5.5M.  You have a 90% chance of losing everything you have but mathematically, you should still make that call.  But no reasonable human would.

This is why you need a large enough bank roll to cover the bets.  The same reason you don't retire when you only have 10X your spending accumulated.  You might end up ok, but what if the market crashes hard the first year of FIRE? Then your retirement is ruined because you only have 10X your expenses, and that just dropped to 5x because of the market crash.  To use that as an example that retirement is impossible because you could potentially lose half your stache is absurd.

I need to restate it because it's critical to long term success in poker.  You must have enough money in your bank roll to ride out the bad beats, and streaks of bad cards, just like you need enough money in retirement accounts to ride out bad markets.  Placing a significant fraction of your stache or bankroll on a single bet is a bad move even if you have +EV.  It's +EV, but you can't afford to take that bet in the first place.

Yep, agreed.  That's why in my original reply, I said that it's not a horrible idea if you have a) money you're willing to potentially lose and b) the discipline to walk away if that money should go depleted.

The math argument, as you pointed out, only works well in theory because poker/math theory discounts the factor of personal finance.  There are even scenarios in poker where it makes more sense to fold a favored hand such as AA pre-flop than to play it.

dsmexpat

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Re: Supplementing Income with Poker?
« Reply #63 on: April 30, 2015, 08:59:08 AM »
You build your own bankroll management into the maths underlying poker. They're not two unrelated considerations. There are things you can do with a large bankroll that you cannot with a small but that doesn't change whether or not you can play poker safely, it changes how you can play.

zurich78

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Re: Supplementing Income with Poker?
« Reply #64 on: April 30, 2015, 09:04:37 AM »
You build your own bankroll management into the maths underlying poker. They're not two unrelated considerations. There are things you can do with a large bankroll that you cannot with a small but that doesn't change whether or not you can play poker safely, it changes how you can play.

Though I will say -- if you're playing poker based on the math, you should be making the same plays regardless of chip stack size since poker theory only applies on a hand to hand basis.

But I agree with what you said.  I'd much rather buy in with more chips coming in to the table.  Gives me more opportunities to bluff at pots, play various hands, etc which to me, is what makes the game fun. 

zurich78

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Re: Supplementing Income with Poker?
« Reply #65 on: April 30, 2015, 09:16:49 AM »
Re: Poker as "gambling." Some people understandably and reflexively equate playing poker with "gambling," but they should understand that poker and other games where you can gain a small statistical advantage over opponents will very reliably (with mathematical certainty) provide positive returns, as promised by the Law of Large Numbers.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Law_of_large_numbers.

In that sense, one is not "gambling" at all if they have a statistical advantage through their skill. In the short run there may be ups and downs, but in the long run they will reach their expected value. This is the very premise of how casinos earn billions of dollars every year, by exploiting small statistical advantages over the masses of players and lots of time. So, for those of you worried that skilled poker players are gambling away their futures, it's likely misplaced concern (unless they are unskilled, then it is very legitimate cause for concern). And for what it's worth, I'm not a poker player at all.

Misplaced concern?  Almost every single professional poker player has gone broke at least once in their careers.

Here's the problem with the math argument.  It works fine in a theoretical model over millions of hands.  It also works fine if you're not a human being.  The math argument says that if you have a 3% chance of winning a hand, the proper play is to make a bet that is any amount less than 3% of the pot as long as you have at least a 3% chance of winning. 

So, if someone makes a bet that is 2% of the pot size and your hand has a 3% chance or better of winning, you HAVE to call to play by the math.

If the pot is a $5,000,000 pot, to play by the math, you'd have to put up $100,000 even though you have a 97% chance of losing!

Unless you have money to throw away, you're never going to make that call, and you shouldn't.  Well, unless you're playing math theory, then you definitely should. 

Let's say if you sell all of your assets, you had $500,000.  And I offered you a one-time opportunity to make $5.5M.  You have a 90% chance of losing everything you have but mathematically, you should still make that call.  But no reasonable human would.
You're saying this as if this is some amazing new idea that poker players aren't aware of which disproves everything when really it's about as basic and easily solvable as anything in poker gets. If you practice bankroll management you will never be in a situation in which any decision represents a threat to your bankroll.

You shouldn't talk about poker with people who know more about poker than you which in this case means literally everyone.  MOD NOTE: Forum rule #1.

Hey, relax.  We're in agreement.  If you go back, you'll see that I said that as long as you're playing with money that you are willing to lose, then I think it's fine.  Poker is one of the few ways you can be social and make a profit!

And what makes you think I don't know anything about poker?  I've been playing it for over 15 years.  I'm well aware of how to calculate hand strength against a flop, pot odds, etc.

And my point from the beginning was I'm a big fan of playing poker with a fixed bankroll that you're willing to lose.  My post you quoted was in response to someone else who pulled out math theory which, if you follow it, always pays off in the end.  But as I've stated, math theory doesn't apply because we don't play poker in a vacuum as there are other variables that need to be factored in such as personal finance that math theory doesn't consider.

dsmexpat

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Re: Supplementing Income with Poker?
« Reply #66 on: April 30, 2015, 09:46:22 AM »
Those variables are part of the maths that you do which means if you factor them in then it will always pay off in the end. You're assuming that the maths being done isn't accounting for bankroll management and therefore that the maths doesn't work because of bankroll management. It's like assuming that physicists refuse to work outside of frictionless vacuums and therefore they can't make ballistics calculations on earth. The maths any halfway competent poker player does accounts for bankroll management and it works.

Hell, take a super basic like the 20 buyin rule, don't sit down unless you have 20 buyins. If you drop below 20 buyins for a table with a $100 buyin then you have to go sit at a table with a lower buyin where you now have more than 20. If you keep losing there then you drop down again. That rule alone means that you can literally never, ever go bankrupt, even if you never win a hand. All you can do is approach bankruptcy, Xeno style, as you find smaller and smaller buyin tables forever.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2015, 09:50:11 AM by dsmexpat »

DoubleDown

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Re: Supplementing Income with Poker?
« Reply #67 on: April 30, 2015, 11:37:44 AM »
My post you quoted was in response to someone else who pulled out math theory which, if you follow it, always pays off in the end.  But as I've stated, math theory doesn't apply because we don't play poker in a vacuum as there are other variables that need to be factored in such as personal finance that math theory doesn't consider.

I'm beating a dead horse here, but I disagree (I'm the person who pulled out the math theory). You are correct that if you don't follow the strategy, then the strategy will not work. To wit: If you get drunk, get lazy, lose control of your betting or playing discipline because you're behind (or ahead), or any other way to not follow the mathematical strategy, then the strategy won't work. But that's an indictment of the player, not the strategy. It is possible to be a disciplined player and then the mathematical advantage will play out every time, with mathematical certainty.

To use the investing analogy others have drawn: If someone gets scared in a market dip and sells all their index funds, that does not mean index investing is a sham since people don't operate in a vacuum; this means the person blew it by letting their emotions overwhelm good sense. The strategy is sound, but it has to be followed to work. You're throwing the baby out with the bath water in saying "we don't operate in a vacuum."

That said, I'll repeat that your point is well taken if a player cannot be disciplined. In the same vein, an investor who cannot stomach inevitable market dips better not have a heavy stock allocation, or they're likely to panic and ditch the strategy at precisely the wrong time.

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Re: Supplementing Income with Poker?
« Reply #68 on: April 30, 2015, 12:19:36 PM »
I see how it's mathematically inevitable, over a long enough period of time, that an advantage player with a sufficiently large bankroll (like the "house" in a casino) will win often enough to provide a reliable income.

The math clearly works in a closed system, where the players you've got are all that there ever will be, and nobody will ever join or leave, and nobody will ever improve. But it doesn't seem to me that the poker-playing community at large is all that closed. People start playing, or retire, all the time. Also, people's skill levels change as they get more experience and learn more about the game. Not everyone progresses equally.

What I don't see is exactly how a person determines that *they* are the advantage player at a given table or series of tables, unless it's a group of people they've consistently and soundly defeated in the past. A winning track record is a good and convincing description of past performance, but nobody controls who sits down at the table *next* time. Best case scenario, it's a complete beginner who has no clue. Worst case scenario, it's a bigger shark than me, with an equally sufficient bankroll, and if that happens often enough I'm dinner.

How does a person determine whether a given loss is the result of ordinary chance, or a result of an encounter with a superior player?

I've got a hefty ego, so it seems to me that, if I were to play poker, I would repeatedly think that I'm the advantage player in situations when I'm actually not. This happened to a guy I met, who ended up losing $150k in retirement savings and his house, plus ending up about $75k in debt. He started out with a very nice winning record in online poker, and he was a very skilled and disciplined player, but there were bigger sharks. Admittedly he wasn't wise in terms of managing his losses. But it makes me wonder, how can a person believe they're that good, if they really aren't? Are they just out of their league?

If there are five people at a poker table, only one of them is the advantage player. Of the other four, are they *all* there with the intention of most likely losing? Or are 80% of them confused about who the advantage player is?

Maybe those of you who play poker as a form of income can enlighten me on this. Would you actually sit down and play with a table full of finalists from a recent ESPN televised poker tournament? I mean, besides for fun just to say you'd done it.

dsmexpat

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Re: Supplementing Income with Poker?
« Reply #69 on: April 30, 2015, 12:39:08 PM »
You have $20. You sit at a table with a $1 buyin with people who don't give a fuck and are just gambling with pennies for fun and you choose not to gamble. Congratulations, you are now a profitable player who can beat people who are deliberately playing suboptimally. You learn what you can from that experience and you slowly grind up to $40. You now sit at the $2 table (remembering to drop back down to the $1 if you ever hit $39) and you repeat. You learn more about the maths that underlies the decision making, you read about the game theory and you practice a lot. You evaluate your decision making on hands you lost, and hands you won, and you invite fellow players for feedback.

At this point you either improve as a player, get $80 and move up to the $4 buyin table or you've hit your limit and stay at the $2 buyin table. If you improve the process repeats.

If you're an idiot you start right at the top and go "it can't be that hard, I'll pick it up as I go" on a table you can't even afford. If you're not an idiot you find out where your limits are and work out what it is you're playing for. If you're playing for the challenge and love of the game you could quite easily justify taking the winnings at the lower table and losing them having a shot at a higher table you've never beaten because you know that's what you need to do (along with a lot of study) to really improve your game and develop as a player. If you're playing for easy money you find out where the cutoff for you is, where you can maximise the money people donate to you, and you relax at that level confident in the knowledge that the people who view you as a donor are busy eating the bigger fish at the next table.

Sure it's possible that Elky might sit down at your pennystakes table and ruin your day but it's pretty unlikely. People generally stay within a range that they can sustainably afford because the people who cannot sustainably afford it aren't there anymore. So no, you don't think "I play solid poker, I can take anyone". You think "I play better poker than the people who typically play at this level so I can take their money" or you think "I play about as well as these people but I need to play with them to develop".

The guy you met was a gambler who couldn't control his losses. He had no business playing poker. He was not a very skilled and very disciplined player, very disciplined players don't lose their houses and very skilled players don't play with people they know are better with them for money they can't afford to lose. Table selection is a skill. Hell, there are even tools in online poker which will tell you which tables have the fish on them based upon the statistical records of the players.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2015, 12:42:58 PM by dsmexpat »

Iron Mike Sharpe

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Re: Supplementing Income with Poker?
« Reply #70 on: April 30, 2015, 12:41:22 PM »
You can have more than one player at a table that has an edge.  I've moved to tables where I've seen two really bad players at even though there were several decent to good players in the game already.  Because I knew the bad players were the type to gamble it up and rebuy several times. 

How do you determine if you have an edge in a particular game?  You pay attention.  You watch how every hand plays out.  You watch the cards on the board, you pay attention to how much people bet / raise.  You pay attention to when players call.  Hopefully you get to see a few hands that go all the way to a showdown at the end so you can actually see what cards they were holding.  You get as much information as you can and you assemble the pieces to the puzzle.

I get a general feel for the game I'm in.  If it doesn't seem like a game in which I have +EV, I will leave or at least ask for a table change. 

I only play casino poker (as opposed to online) and I only play at the 1/2, 1/3 or 2/5 limits.  At these limits, you are going to have bad players in just about every game.  Heck, even winning players at these limits have holes in their games that can be exploited.  You just need to pay attention to the playing styles of everyone in the game and know good strategies on how to exploit them. 

Analyzing play is a huge skill in this game.  You can play really well and lose a lot of money in a night.  You can play really poorly and win a lot of money.  Or the exact opposite of those.  It's definitely a skill that takes time to develop - having the awareness to know if you actually played well or not.

dsmexpat

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Re: Supplementing Income with Poker?
« Reply #71 on: April 30, 2015, 12:49:00 PM »
The amazing thing about poker is that the guy you met who lost his house, retirement and life savings probably thought he was a good poker player, in spite of those things. That confusion is part of the reason it keeps the gamblers coming back, it doesn't simply give you the statistical outcome of your decisions, it gives you a long term approximation of them which causes short term variance which protects the ego.

Imagine if someone said that they were a very successful stock picker, they knew which companies would go up and which would go down and they had an excellent understanding of diversification. Then they told you they cashed out their retirement at a 10% penalty, mortgaged and remortgaged their house and borrowed a shitton of money to buy Radioshack shares. You would most likely identify a disconnect between their self image and claims of their knowledge and investment strategy and what they actually proceeded to do. That guy was the poker equivalent of the Radioshack investor who still believes that they have a working understanding of diversification and still believes they can pick stocks.

frugalnacho

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Re: Supplementing Income with Poker?
« Reply #72 on: April 30, 2015, 01:12:33 PM »

zurich78

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Re: Supplementing Income with Poker?
« Reply #73 on: April 30, 2015, 07:33:39 PM »
Those variables are part of the maths that you do which means if you factor them in then it will always pay off in the end. You're assuming that the maths being done isn't accounting for bankroll management and therefore that the maths doesn't work because of bankroll management. It's like assuming that physicists refuse to work outside of frictionless vacuums and therefore they can't make ballistics calculations on earth. The maths any halfway competent poker player does accounts for bankroll management and it works.

Hell, take a super basic like the 20 buyin rule, don't sit down unless you have 20 buyins. If you drop below 20 buyins for a table with a $100 buyin then you have to go sit at a table with a lower buyin where you now have more than 20. If you keep losing there then you drop down again. That rule alone means that you can literally never, ever go bankrupt, even if you never win a hand. All you can do is approach bankruptcy, Xeno style, as you find smaller and smaller buyin tables forever.

Of course I am assuming that if you play by math theory that bankroll isn't factored in.  You can't factor it in because the mathematical model doesn't actually factor bankroll in.  The math model requires that you MUST call if you have pot odds to do so regardless of your bankroll.  (Basically, if the chance of you winning is greater than or equal to the price to play relative to the entire pot, then the model requires you to play).  I'm no statistician, but I'm quite certain an EV calculation for a poker hand does not factor in bankroll in anyway.

A person can't have it both ways.  A person can't say that they're going to come out on top because they play the math, and then, not actually play the math.

There's a human element.  There's a finite floor the math model doesn't account for.  The math model allows for a loss of a million hands in a row but requires that you keep playing because over time, you'll win a million and one hands (so to speak).

zurich78

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Re: Supplementing Income with Poker?
« Reply #74 on: April 30, 2015, 07:55:20 PM »
My post you quoted was in response to someone else who pulled out math theory which, if you follow it, always pays off in the end.  But as I've stated, math theory doesn't apply because we don't play poker in a vacuum as there are other variables that need to be factored in such as personal finance that math theory doesn't consider.

I'm beating a dead horse here, but I disagree (I'm the person who pulled out the math theory). You are correct that if you don't follow the strategy, then the strategy will not work. To wit: If you get drunk, get lazy, lose control of your betting or playing discipline because you're behind (or ahead), or any other way to not follow the mathematical strategy, then the strategy won't work. But that's an indictment of the player, not the strategy. It is possible to be a disciplined player and then the mathematical advantage will play out every time, with mathematical certainty.

To use the investing analogy others have drawn: If someone gets scared in a market dip and sells all their index funds, that does not mean index investing is a sham since people don't operate in a vacuum; this means the person blew it by letting their emotions overwhelm good sense. The strategy is sound, but it has to be followed to work. You're throwing the baby out with the bath water in saying "we don't operate in a vacuum."

That said, I'll repeat that your point is well taken if a player cannot be disciplined. In the same vein, an investor who cannot stomach inevitable market dips better not have a heavy stock allocation, or they're likely to panic and ditch the strategy at precisely the wrong time.

I guess my point was that the mathematical advantage only plays out over long periods of time.  How many times do you have to flip a fair coin to get to 50% heads and 50% tails?  Sometimes twice.  Sometimes a trillion.  Sometimes more.  But the model requires that you keep flipping that coin and you keep going and going and going because eventually whether it is two times or a trillion times, or even more than that, you will get to 50%.  In reality though, sometimes you can't keep going because the math model requires infinite iterations to guarantee success.

And I never said playing poker is a sham (and if it is, then consider me guilty as charged).  I was simply saying that people should keep in mind that the only way to guarantee success in poker is playing the math, and the only way to play the math is with an infinite bankroll because the math assumes corrections over infinite iterations.  The math model could mean you lose every hand for 100 years but then win every hand after that for another 100 years.  Unfortunately, again, finite quantity, you probably won't live for 100 years and you might run out of time or money before the correction kicks in to get your model to play out.

So use some fun money and if you make money doing it, awesome, and if not, oh well, that's ok too.

frugalnacho

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Re: Supplementing Income with Poker?
« Reply #75 on: April 30, 2015, 09:35:26 PM »
Those variables are part of the maths that you do which means if you factor them in then it will always pay off in the end. You're assuming that the maths being done isn't accounting for bankroll management and therefore that the maths doesn't work because of bankroll management. It's like assuming that physicists refuse to work outside of frictionless vacuums and therefore they can't make ballistics calculations on earth. The maths any halfway competent poker player does accounts for bankroll management and it works.

Hell, take a super basic like the 20 buyin rule, don't sit down unless you have 20 buyins. If you drop below 20 buyins for a table with a $100 buyin then you have to go sit at a table with a lower buyin where you now have more than 20. If you keep losing there then you drop down again. That rule alone means that you can literally never, ever go bankrupt, even if you never win a hand. All you can do is approach bankruptcy, Xeno style, as you find smaller and smaller buyin tables forever.

Of course I am assuming that if you play by math theory that bankroll isn't factored in. You can't factor it in because the mathematical model doesn't actually factor bankroll in.  The math model requires that you MUST call if you have pot odds to do so regardless of your bankroll. (Basically, if the chance of you winning is greater than or equal to the price to play relative to the entire pot, then the model requires you to play).  I'm no statistician, but I'm quite certain an EV calculation for a poker hand does not factor in bankroll in anyway.

A person can't have it both ways.  A person can't say that they're going to come out on top because they play the math, and then, not actually play the math.

There's a human element.  There's a finite floor the math model doesn't account for.  The math model allows for a loss of a million hands in a row but requires that you keep playing because over time, you'll win a million and one hands (so to speak).

You factor your bankroll in by not putting yourself in situations that would require a large portion of your bank roll to be at stake.  If you offered me a bet that gave me the edge by 1%, I would take that bet, all day everyday.  Unless it required a significant fraction of my bank roll. If I only had enough to place 5 bets with you, I probably wouldn't take that bet because what are the odds I survive with only a slight edge?  My advantage would have to increase significantly to compensate for the fact that there is a real probability of going bust.  Or I would lower the amount of the bet until it was small enough relative to my bank roll that I could ride out a reasonable streak of bad luck.

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Re: Supplementing Income with Poker?
« Reply #76 on: April 30, 2015, 10:35:10 PM »
Look up the kelly criterion for more info on bet size.

It's actually mathematically figured out the optimal amount to maximize returns and minimize risk, based on your edge (it's edge over odds).

Fortune's Formula is a fascinating book on it.
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dsmexpat

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Re: Supplementing Income with Poker?
« Reply #77 on: May 01, 2015, 08:09:48 AM »
Those variables are part of the maths that you do which means if you factor them in then it will always pay off in the end. You're assuming that the maths being done isn't accounting for bankroll management and therefore that the maths doesn't work because of bankroll management. It's like assuming that physicists refuse to work outside of frictionless vacuums and therefore they can't make ballistics calculations on earth. The maths any halfway competent poker player does accounts for bankroll management and it works.

Hell, take a super basic like the 20 buyin rule, don't sit down unless you have 20 buyins. If you drop below 20 buyins for a table with a $100 buyin then you have to go sit at a table with a lower buyin where you now have more than 20. If you keep losing there then you drop down again. That rule alone means that you can literally never, ever go bankrupt, even if you never win a hand. All you can do is approach bankruptcy, Xeno style, as you find smaller and smaller buyin tables forever.

Of course I am assuming that if you play by math theory that bankroll isn't factored in.  You can't factor it in because the mathematical model doesn't actually factor bankroll in.  The math model requires that you MUST call if you have pot odds to do so regardless of your bankroll.  (Basically, if the chance of you winning is greater than or equal to the price to play relative to the entire pot, then the model requires you to play).  I'm no statistician, but I'm quite certain an EV calculation for a poker hand does not factor in bankroll in anyway.

A person can't have it both ways.  A person can't say that they're going to come out on top because they play the math, and then, not actually play the math.

There's a human element.  There's a finite floor the math model doesn't account for.  The math model allows for a loss of a million hands in a row but requires that you keep playing because over time, you'll win a million and one hands (so to speak).
There is no pot that can exist at a table you are sitting at which can endanger your bankroll. If there is you are sitting at the wrong table and playing the wrong game.

zurich78

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Re: Supplementing Income with Poker?
« Reply #78 on: May 01, 2015, 09:01:41 AM »
Look up the kelly criterion for more info on bet size.

It's actually mathematically figured out the optimal amount to maximize returns and minimize risk, based on your edge (it's edge over odds).

Fortune's Formula is a fascinating book on it.

I'm familiar with the Kelly criterion though I can't say I've read the book.  What I will say, is that once again, strictly applying KC in real world poker isn't practical, realistic or probably even at all feasible.

For starters, you don't know the actual winning and losing odds of your hand since that number requires you to know a) what the other person(s) has and b) which cards are now "dead".  The probability of winning is entirely dependent on that variable --  if you hold, let's say, 34 offsuit.  Then you have about a 30% chance of winning pre-flop versus 32 offsuit, a 15% chance of winning against AA and something like an 18% chance of winning against KK.  In order to properly utilize KC, you have to know what your actual chance of winning is and you can't because you don't know what the other guy has.

Additionally, KC doesn't factor in blind size either.  Let's say you're short stacked and are now down to 4x the big blinds.  If you're holding AA, and a better raises the pot to 100% of your stack, the correct non-KC move there is to go all-in.  But if you strictly utilize KC, then you can't ever bet your entire chip stack pre-flop because it won't allow you to (it won't allow you to bet 100% of your chips for any situation that isn't a 100% guaranteed payout).  If I was short stacked to 4x BB and got raised all-in, KC would require me to fold!

What about human factors?  For instance, if I know a guy I'm playing scratches his nose almost every time he is bluffing (though not always), how can I apply that knowledge in to KC?  I guess I can't.  What if there's a cheater at the table?  (Unlikely but math theory does require that there not be in order to work).

Bottom line, I think incorporating elements of math theory in the game of poker is extremely helpful.  And I do believe that those who incorporate math theory in to their games are probably going to do better than those that do not (though, 'better' could mean losing less).  And I'm definitely not saying one shouldn't incorporate it either.  You should!  My whole point is that the justification of playing poker because aligning your play to 'the math' means you'll come out on top every time and thus poker is a reliable source of income is a fallacy.  You can't ever truly align your play to the math, most people could never afford to play enough hands to actually see the math play itself out in a favorable way, and there are far too many human variables that have to be factored in.

It's a game.  Have fun with it.

dsmexpat

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Re: Supplementing Income with Poker?
« Reply #79 on: May 01, 2015, 09:08:30 AM »
That's a completely different argument to the one you were making. You were arguing that the existence of variance makes it inevitable that everyone goes bust, even if they have a mathematical edge. That was disproved by one of the most basic concepts of poker, bankroll management, whereby you prevent yourself from ever risking a statistically significant portion of your bankroll on any given hand and adjust your stakes according to your bankroll. Which is pretty much poker 101, nobody trying to play poker well is ignoring bankroll management, it's really at the foundation and it's incredible to me that you would attempt to talk about poker without knowing about it, let alone accusing those who clearly do know about poker of not accounting for it.

You're now arguing that even if you make bets limited in size to account for variance you can't win at poker because you can never really know if your play is mathematically optimal. And you can't know but you can make very good guesses and the people whose guesses, informed by an awful lot of information and analysis, typically prove true win at poker. If we're going to start dismissing things because of a lack of absolute knowledge about the state of things then particle physics would like a word with engineering.

A good poker player will make an informed guess and because he's a good poker player he'll be right often enough to justify the bets he places on those guesses.

zurich78

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Re: Supplementing Income with Poker?
« Reply #80 on: May 01, 2015, 09:11:55 AM »
Those variables are part of the maths that you do which means if you factor them in then it will always pay off in the end. You're assuming that the maths being done isn't accounting for bankroll management and therefore that the maths doesn't work because of bankroll management. It's like assuming that physicists refuse to work outside of frictionless vacuums and therefore they can't make ballistics calculations on earth. The maths any halfway competent poker player does accounts for bankroll management and it works.

Hell, take a super basic like the 20 buyin rule, don't sit down unless you have 20 buyins. If you drop below 20 buyins for a table with a $100 buyin then you have to go sit at a table with a lower buyin where you now have more than 20. If you keep losing there then you drop down again. That rule alone means that you can literally never, ever go bankrupt, even if you never win a hand. All you can do is approach bankruptcy, Xeno style, as you find smaller and smaller buyin tables forever.

Of course I am assuming that if you play by math theory that bankroll isn't factored in.  You can't factor it in because the mathematical model doesn't actually factor bankroll in.  The math model requires that you MUST call if you have pot odds to do so regardless of your bankroll.  (Basically, if the chance of you winning is greater than or equal to the price to play relative to the entire pot, then the model requires you to play).  I'm no statistician, but I'm quite certain an EV calculation for a poker hand does not factor in bankroll in anyway.

A person can't have it both ways.  A person can't say that they're going to come out on top because they play the math, and then, not actually play the math.

There's a human element.  There's a finite floor the math model doesn't account for.  The math model allows for a loss of a million hands in a row but requires that you keep playing because over time, you'll win a million and one hands (so to speak).
There is no pot that can exist at a table you are sitting at which can endanger your bankroll. If there is you are sitting at the wrong table and playing the wrong game.

Sure there is.  In theory, there are table limits approaching zero.

In reality, there aren't.  What's the smallest actual table limit in the world?  Let's say for the sake of argument it is $0.01/$0.02.  Using your 20 BB rule, you buy in for 40 cents.  You limp and fold to a raiser.  Now there is no table you can possibly sit at.

shotgunwilly

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Re: Supplementing Income with Poker?
« Reply #81 on: May 01, 2015, 09:16:40 AM »
There is no pot that can exist at a table you are sitting at which can endanger your bankroll. If there is you are sitting at the wrong table and playing the wrong game.

Sure there is.  In theory, there are table limits approaching zero.

In reality, there aren't.  What's the smallest actual table limit in the world?  Let's say for the sake of argument it is $0.01/$0.02.  Using your 20 BB rule, you buy in for 40 cents.  You limp and fold to a raiser.  Now there is no table you can possibly sit at.

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zurich78

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Re: Supplementing Income with Poker?
« Reply #82 on: May 01, 2015, 09:17:18 AM »
That's a completely different argument to the one you were making. You were arguing that the existence of variance makes it inevitable that everyone goes bust, even if they have a mathematical edge. That was disproved by one of the most basic concepts of poker, bankroll management, whereby you prevent yourself from ever risking a statistically significant portion of your bankroll on any given hand and adjust your stakes according to your bankroll. Which is pretty much poker 101, nobody trying to play poker well is ignoring bankroll management, it's really at the foundation and it's incredible to me that you would attempt to talk about poker without knowing about it, let alone accusing those who clearly do know about poker of not accounting for it.

You're now arguing that even if you make bets limited in size to account for variance you can't win at poker because you can never really know if your play is mathematically optimal. And you can't know but you can make very good guesses and the people whose guesses, informed by an awful lot of information and analysis, typically prove true win at poker. If we're going to start dismissing things because of a lack of absolute knowledge about the state of things then particle physics would like a word with engineering.

A good poker player will make an informed guess and because he's a good poker player he'll be right often enough to justify the bets he places on those guesses.

My argument hasn't changed.  My argument has always been that you can't really say you're playing based on math theory, when you can't play based on math theory.  You can certainly incorporate it in to your game, but you can't play strictly to it. Which is why, IMO, statements such as "it plays out every time" don't really apply (I can't remember if it was you or someone else who said that).  It only applies when you play STRICTLY to the math theory and you do so over a substantial (and probably unrealistic for most especially in live play) number of iterations.

It's a game.  Sometimes, you're going to call down a bet with only ace high because you had a hunch.  And sometimes you'll be right, and sometimes you'll be wrong.  And the best poker players are the ones who incorporate the math, and have really, really good hunches.

dsmexpat

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Re: Supplementing Income with Poker?
« Reply #83 on: May 01, 2015, 09:21:15 AM »
Those variables are part of the maths that you do which means if you factor them in then it will always pay off in the end. You're assuming that the maths being done isn't accounting for bankroll management and therefore that the maths doesn't work because of bankroll management. It's like assuming that physicists refuse to work outside of frictionless vacuums and therefore they can't make ballistics calculations on earth. The maths any halfway competent poker player does accounts for bankroll management and it works.

Hell, take a super basic like the 20 buyin rule, don't sit down unless you have 20 buyins. If you drop below 20 buyins for a table with a $100 buyin then you have to go sit at a table with a lower buyin where you now have more than 20. If you keep losing there then you drop down again. That rule alone means that you can literally never, ever go bankrupt, even if you never win a hand. All you can do is approach bankruptcy, Xeno style, as you find smaller and smaller buyin tables forever.

Of course I am assuming that if you play by math theory that bankroll isn't factored in.  You can't factor it in because the mathematical model doesn't actually factor bankroll in.  The math model requires that you MUST call if you have pot odds to do so regardless of your bankroll.  (Basically, if the chance of you winning is greater than or equal to the price to play relative to the entire pot, then the model requires you to play).  I'm no statistician, but I'm quite certain an EV calculation for a poker hand does not factor in bankroll in anyway.

A person can't have it both ways.  A person can't say that they're going to come out on top because they play the math, and then, not actually play the math.

There's a human element.  There's a finite floor the math model doesn't account for.  The math model allows for a loss of a million hands in a row but requires that you keep playing because over time, you'll win a million and one hands (so to speak).
There is no pot that can exist at a table you are sitting at which can endanger your bankroll. If there is you are sitting at the wrong table and playing the wrong game.

Sure there is.  In theory, there are table limits approaching zero.

In reality, there aren't.  What's the smallest actual table limit in the world?  Let's say for the sake of argument it is $0.01/$0.02.  Using your 20 BB rule, you buy in for 40 cents.  You limp and fold to a raiser.  Now there is no table you can possibly sit at.
Firstly the 20 buyin rule doesn't mean you put all your money at a table and you can only sit at tables when you have 20 big blinds. It means you have enough to lose your initial buyin 20x over.

Secondly if you can't find a table so small that you can afford 20 buyins then you know you're not in a position to play with your bankroll and that's totally fine. You just don't play. You still don't go bankrupt. Sometimes in life there is no table you can possibly sit at and what separates good poker players from gamblers is that they don't decide to sit down and play anyway.

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Re: Supplementing Income with Poker?
« Reply #84 on: May 01, 2015, 09:21:40 AM »
Those variables are part of the maths that you do which means if you factor them in then it will always pay off in the end. You're assuming that the maths being done isn't accounting for bankroll management and therefore that the maths doesn't work because of bankroll management. It's like assuming that physicists refuse to work outside of frictionless vacuums and therefore they can't make ballistics calculations on earth. The maths any halfway competent poker player does accounts for bankroll management and it works.

Hell, take a super basic like the 20 buyin rule, don't sit down unless you have 20 buyins. If you drop below 20 buyins for a table with a $100 buyin then you have to go sit at a table with a lower buyin where you now have more than 20. If you keep losing there then you drop down again. That rule alone means that you can literally never, ever go bankrupt, even if you never win a hand. All you can do is approach bankruptcy, Xeno style, as you find smaller and smaller buyin tables forever.

Of course I am assuming that if you play by math theory that bankroll isn't factored in.  You can't factor it in because the mathematical model doesn't actually factor bankroll in.  The math model requires that you MUST call if you have pot odds to do so regardless of your bankroll.  (Basically, if the chance of you winning is greater than or equal to the price to play relative to the entire pot, then the model requires you to play).  I'm no statistician, but I'm quite certain an EV calculation for a poker hand does not factor in bankroll in anyway.

A person can't have it both ways.  A person can't say that they're going to come out on top because they play the math, and then, not actually play the math.

There's a human element.  There's a finite floor the math model doesn't account for.  The math model allows for a loss of a million hands in a row but requires that you keep playing because over time, you'll win a million and one hands (so to speak).
There is no pot that can exist at a table you are sitting at which can endanger your bankroll. If there is you are sitting at the wrong table and playing the wrong game.

Sure there is.  In theory, there are table limits approaching zero.

In reality, there aren't.  What's the smallest actual table limit in the world?  Let's say for the sake of argument it is $0.01/$0.02.  Using your 20 BB rule, you buy in for 40 cents.  You limp and fold to a raiser.  Now there is no table you can possibly sit at.

You keep saying this and I think you have a fundamental misunderstanding of bankroll management.  If I have a million dollar bankroll, and i'm sitting at a $0.01/0.02 table with only 10 cents left, I don't make my calculations based on 10 cents, I make them based on $1M.  If I get AA, I am going all in, even though i'm risking 100% of what I have on the table.   Even though i'm risking 100% of what is on the table, I am only risking a tiny fraction of my overall bankroll.  I could be in that situation thousands of times and lose and still not end up bankrupt. 

If you are eve in a situation where a single bet is staking a large percentage of your overall bankroll, then you are playing at too high of stakes in the first place.  Your bankroll can't support those stakes, so you shouldn't ever be in that game to begin with.

Psychstache

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Re: Supplementing Income with Poker?
« Reply #85 on: May 01, 2015, 09:55:09 AM »
Those variables are part of the maths that you do which means if you factor them in then it will always pay off in the end. You're assuming that the maths being done isn't accounting for bankroll management and therefore that the maths doesn't work because of bankroll management. It's like assuming that physicists refuse to work outside of frictionless vacuums and therefore they can't make ballistics calculations on earth. The maths any halfway competent poker player does accounts for bankroll management and it works.

Hell, take a super basic like the 20 buyin rule, don't sit down unless you have 20 buyins. If you drop below 20 buyins for a table with a $100 buyin then you have to go sit at a table with a lower buyin where you now have more than 20. If you keep losing there then you drop down again. That rule alone means that you can literally never, ever go bankrupt, even if you never win a hand. All you can do is approach bankruptcy, Xeno style, as you find smaller and smaller buyin tables forever.

Of course I am assuming that if you play by math theory that bankroll isn't factored in.  You can't factor it in because the mathematical model doesn't actually factor bankroll in.  The math model requires that you MUST call if you have pot odds to do so regardless of your bankroll.  (Basically, if the chance of you winning is greater than or equal to the price to play relative to the entire pot, then the model requires you to play).  I'm no statistician, but I'm quite certain an EV calculation for a poker hand does not factor in bankroll in anyway.

A person can't have it both ways.  A person can't say that they're going to come out on top because they play the math, and then, not actually play the math.

There's a human element.  There's a finite floor the math model doesn't account for.  The math model allows for a loss of a million hands in a row but requires that you keep playing because over time, you'll win a million and one hands (so to speak).
There is no pot that can exist at a table you are sitting at which can endanger your bankroll. If there is you are sitting at the wrong table and playing the wrong game.

Sure there is.  In theory, there are table limits approaching zero.

In reality, there aren't.  What's the smallest actual table limit in the world?  Let's say for the sake of argument it is $0.01/$0.02.  Using your 20 BB rule, you buy in for 40 cents.  You limp and fold to a raiser.  Now there is no table you can possibly sit at.

You keep saying this and I think you have a fundamental misunderstanding of bankroll management.  If I have a million dollar bankroll, and i'm sitting at a $0.01/0.02 table with only 10 cents left, I don't make my calculations based on 10 cents, I make them based on $1M.  If I get AA, I am going all in, even though i'm risking 100% of what I have on the table.   Even though i'm risking 100% of what is on the table, I am only risking a tiny fraction of my overall bankroll.  I could be in that situation thousands of times and lose and still not end up bankrupt. 

If you are eve in a situation where a single bet is staking a large percentage of your overall bankroll, then you are playing at too high of stakes in the first place.  Your bankroll can't support those stakes, so you shouldn't ever be in that game to begin with.

I agree with FrugalNacho, you only seem to be considering buy-in and not bankroll.

To give a practical example, a few posts back someone mentioned playing poker and starting with a bankroll of 15-20k. Let's say 20k for easy math.

Given that bankroll, he should probably sit down at a $1-$2 NL. He can buy in for 100 Big Blinds, or $200. Let's say he get's into your scenario where he has a small edge and the appropriate pot odds to call, but it puts him all in. You make the mathematically correct play, but lose anyways. You have two options at this point.

1. Take a break and leave the table.
2. Buy back in for 200, bringing your current bankroll down to 19,600.

Assuming you can play correctly and play well all the time (fairly big assumptions) and managing your bankroll correctly, you would have to be the unluckiest person of all time to lose it all.

zurich78

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Re: Supplementing Income with Poker?
« Reply #86 on: May 01, 2015, 02:04:12 PM »
Those variables are part of the maths that you do which means if you factor them in then it will always pay off in the end. You're assuming that the maths being done isn't accounting for bankroll management and therefore that the maths doesn't work because of bankroll management. It's like assuming that physicists refuse to work outside of frictionless vacuums and therefore they can't make ballistics calculations on earth. The maths any halfway competent poker player does accounts for bankroll management and it works.

Hell, take a super basic like the 20 buyin rule, don't sit down unless you have 20 buyins. If you drop below 20 buyins for a table with a $100 buyin then you have to go sit at a table with a lower buyin where you now have more than 20. If you keep losing there then you drop down again. That rule alone means that you can literally never, ever go bankrupt, even if you never win a hand. All you can do is approach bankruptcy, Xeno style, as you find smaller and smaller buyin tables forever.

Of course I am assuming that if you play by math theory that bankroll isn't factored in.  You can't factor it in because the mathematical model doesn't actually factor bankroll in.  The math model requires that you MUST call if you have pot odds to do so regardless of your bankroll.  (Basically, if the chance of you winning is greater than or equal to the price to play relative to the entire pot, then the model requires you to play).  I'm no statistician, but I'm quite certain an EV calculation for a poker hand does not factor in bankroll in anyway.

A person can't have it both ways.  A person can't say that they're going to come out on top because they play the math, and then, not actually play the math.

There's a human element.  There's a finite floor the math model doesn't account for.  The math model allows for a loss of a million hands in a row but requires that you keep playing because over time, you'll win a million and one hands (so to speak).
There is no pot that can exist at a table you are sitting at which can endanger your bankroll. If there is you are sitting at the wrong table and playing the wrong game.

Sure there is.  In theory, there are table limits approaching zero.

In reality, there aren't.  What's the smallest actual table limit in the world?  Let's say for the sake of argument it is $0.01/$0.02.  Using your 20 BB rule, you buy in for 40 cents.  You limp and fold to a raiser.  Now there is no table you can possibly sit at.

You keep saying this and I think you have a fundamental misunderstanding of bankroll management.  If I have a million dollar bankroll, and i'm sitting at a $0.01/0.02 table with only 10 cents left, I don't make my calculations based on 10 cents, I make them based on $1M.  If I get AA, I am going all in, even though i'm risking 100% of what I have on the table.   Even though i'm risking 100% of what is on the table, I am only risking a tiny fraction of my overall bankroll.  I could be in that situation thousands of times and lose and still not end up bankrupt. 

If you are eve in a situation where a single bet is staking a large percentage of your overall bankroll, then you are playing at too high of stakes in the first place.  Your bankroll can't support those stakes, so you shouldn't ever be in that game to begin with.

I agree with FrugalNacho, you only seem to be considering buy-in and not bankroll.

To give a practical example, a few posts back someone mentioned playing poker and starting with a bankroll of 15-20k. Let's say 20k for easy math.

Given that bankroll, he should probably sit down at a $1-$2 NL. He can buy in for 100 Big Blinds, or $200. Let's say he get's into your scenario where he has a small edge and the appropriate pot odds to call, but it puts him all in. You make the mathematically correct play, but lose anyways. You have two options at this point.

1. Take a break and leave the table.
2. Buy back in for 200, bringing your current bankroll down to 19,600.

Assuming you can play correctly and play well all the time (fairly big assumptions) and managing your bankroll correctly, you would have to be the unluckiest person of all time to lose it all.

Ahhh, I was considering bankroll to be the chip stack you're buying in for.  I can see where you guys are coming from but using that method means playing some very, very unconventional poker (which I'll happily concede MIGHT be the point of using the mathematical model).

You have a bankroll of $20,000.  You buy in for $200 at a $1/$2 NLHE table.  You look down at your hand and you have 72 offsuit and one player goes all-in for your $200 and shows you his pocket aces.  (72 off wins 12% of the time against AA).

You're seriously going to call that?  Relative to your bankroll, that is an insta-call using Kelly Criterion or nearly any model factoring in total bankroll (vs current chip stack).

frugalnacho

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Re: Supplementing Income with Poker?
« Reply #87 on: May 01, 2015, 02:13:43 PM »
Ahhh, I was considering bankroll to be the chip stack you're buying in for.  I can see where you guys are coming from but using that method means playing some very, very unconventional poker (which I'll happily concede MIGHT be the point of using the mathematical model).

You have a bankroll of $20,000.  You buy in for $200 at a $1/$2 NLHE table.  You look down at your hand and you have 72 offsuit and one player goes all-in for your $200 and shows you his pocket aces.  (72 off wins 12% of the time against AA).

You're seriously going to call that?  Relative to your bankroll, that is an insta-call using Kelly Criterion or nearly any model factoring in total bankroll (vs current chip stack).

Uh...Your $20,000 bankroll only determines the limit of the table you are going to sit at.  You wouldn't sit at a table where you could potentially lose a significant chunk of that.  So sitting with $200 at a $1/2 NL table is fine. You could bust several times and barely dent that bank roll. Now that you've determined you have a sufficient bank roll to play at that table the calls you make going forward have nothing to do with your bank roll and everything to do with EV.  If you have 72 off then you have a -EV from calling AA.   I would go a step further and say you have -EV calling almost no matter what.  You shouldn't be playing 72 off or suited unless you got blinded in.  If it's raised you should be out (because you most likely have a -EV situation at that point since 72 is so shitty).

dsmexpat

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Re: Supplementing Income with Poker?
« Reply #88 on: May 01, 2015, 02:16:10 PM »
I don't think you know the rules of poker based upon any of these posts.

Your bankroll is the money you have not at the table to protect the money at the table from the impact of variance. The buyin is the money at the table. The most you can risk on any one bet is the buyin, not the bankroll. This isn't unconventional poker, this is standard, you're simply completely unfamiliar with the subject.

In your example of course you fold 72o against AA face up. You have your $200 to bet against his $200 and you know you're seriously behind. You make the decisions based upon the money at the table, not the bankroll. The bankroll is a completely unrelated factor to the money at the table, it's against the rules of poker to bring more money onto the table or to take money off the table during hands in progress. The bankroll is what protects you against variance when his 72o beats your AA allin. The bankroll is what allows you to sit down with $200 and play with that $200 but only the $200 in play are in play. The bankroll is not in play.

Even if they bet $20,000 on their 72o face up preflop and you had AA you wouldn't be able to call for more than your $200 buyin because that's all the money you would have in play. The bankroll isn't involved.
« Last Edit: May 01, 2015, 02:19:57 PM by dsmexpat »

dsmexpat

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Re: Supplementing Income with Poker?
« Reply #89 on: May 01, 2015, 02:29:25 PM »
I think I can see the confusion here.

Okay, if he goes allin for $200 and you have $200 at the table and a bankroll of $20,000 you don't actually win $20,000 when you call with $200. If you did win $20,000 when your 72o beat his AA and the cost to call was only $200 then you should absolutely do it but that's not in the game. The most you can win is the $ he put in that you matched at a 1:1 ratio (along with any other money other people put in). This means that if he puts in $200 the most you can win is his $200 (and again any other money others put in) so as your 72o is behind and there are no other considerations in terms of pot or implied odds (because it's a random allin preflop) you can safely fold.

Now if you could for whatever reason win all of someone's bankroll while only risking one buyin of your own then you should naturally call any 2 with any 2 as long as their bankroll was at least 10x larger than your buyin but that would be an incredibly silly game. That game would be incredibly rigged against one player and wouldn't be called poker.
« Last Edit: May 01, 2015, 02:31:13 PM by dsmexpat »

zurich78

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Re: Supplementing Income with Poker?
« Reply #90 on: May 01, 2015, 04:57:01 PM »
I think I can see the confusion here.

Okay, if he goes allin for $200 and you have $200 at the table and a bankroll of $20,000 you don't actually win $20,000 when you call with $200. If you did win $20,000 when your 72o beat his AA and the cost to call was only $200 then you should absolutely do it but that's not in the game. The most you can win is the $ he put in that you matched at a 1:1 ratio (along with any other money other people put in). This means that if he puts in $200 the most you can win is his $200 (and again any other money others put in) so as your 72o is behind and there are no other considerations in terms of pot or implied odds (because it's a random allin preflop) you can safely fold.

Now if you could for whatever reason win all of someone's bankroll while only risking one buyin of your own then you should naturally call any 2 with any 2 as long as their bankroll was at least 10x larger than your buyin but that would be an incredibly silly game. That game would be incredibly rigged against one player and wouldn't be called poker.

The confusion is, in part, because I'm having different conversations with different people.  arebelspy brought up the Kelly Criterion which tries to optimize betting size but it is relative to your stack, not your bankroll.  And then I'm trying to have a conversation with you about bankroll.  Phew!  Believe me, I'm completely aware of what a bankroll versus stack is.  If you really think otherwise, then that's what we'd call in the poker world ... a bad read.  (So let's hope you read better in live play than online!  Ha! =P)

My whole premise has been that math theory can only be utilized as a general guideline, not a strict, hard and fast rule because the dynamics of the game don't allow for it.  To break it down to its simplest form, you never actually know what true chance your hand has of holding up because you don't know what the other person(s) have nor which cards are dead.  You're guessing.  Or assessing as some might call it, trying to determine opponent hand strength through tells, betting patterns, etc.  Additionally, over time, you're going to encounter situations which occasionally require you to veer from the model (i.e. tournament play strategy vs cash game strategy).

Like I've said countless times.  Everyone should incorporate different elements of math theory in their game.  No one is dismissing math so your analogy of particle physics would be considered invalid.  The only thing being dismissed, by me, is the idea that a human poker player can actually play utilizing a poker strategy that is not only STRICTLY mathematical but also wins in the long run.  If you don't play in accordance with the math 100% of the time, you can't claim to play in accordance with the math nor can you possibly receive the benefits of a model that requires it be played 100% of the time (that is, the advantage that nets out over time).  There is no model that says it will pay out X amount with Y hunches included.

So great, you utilize a mathematical model.  You should.  Keep it up.  You'll improve as a poker player.  But don't be that guy that claims to have figured out how to guarantee profits from playing poker because while that guy is still a couple rungs above the guy whose got a winning roulette system, that guy is still a couple rungs about the guy whose got a winning roulette system.

dsmexpat

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Re: Supplementing Income with Poker?
« Reply #91 on: May 01, 2015, 07:57:17 PM »
I really believe that nobody with even a moderate understanding of poker could be as confused as you about the difference between a buyin and a bankroll and whether a bankroll is at risk in a hand of poker. There's only so many times you can make completely inaccurate claims about a subject before you don't get to claim to be an authority on the subject anymore.

Bankroll management is built to guarantee a sample size sufficient to limit the impact of variance. As long as you can find a game small enough for your bankroll you can literally never go bankrupt with good bankroll management, all you can have is a bankroll sufficient for a very low buyin. Now obviously in practice you might struggle to find really tiny games but pennystakes exist where one hour of minimum wage work will get you 20 or so buyins. The law of very large numbers can be meaningfully applied to poker and the impact of short term variance can, with good bankroll management, be dismissed.

Which brings us to "can you have a statistical edge?". The answer is very obviously yes. Some people have fun playing poker by going allin preflop blind on every hand for example. This is online pennystakes bullshit but it does happen. If you're playing heads up then you can play successfully against that by folding the bottom 80% of hands and calling the top 20%. It won't be a statistically perfect game but it will have an edge against someone who is playing 100% of hands allin preflop. Your play doesn't need to be perfect, it just needs to be statistically superior to their play. You can identify probabilities and patterns about their play, make educated guesses and profit from those.

So, if a statistical edge can exist, and it certainly can, and if variance can be dismissed, and it certainly can then is profit guaranteed. The answer is unequivocally yes. In a game where you have a statistical edge and a sufficient number of hands you will always come out ahead. If you can't practice bankroll management you will go bust at some point due to the law of very high numbers, even if you have a statistical edge. Likewise if you have bankroll management but suck at poker then you'll fail to make any money. Good poker players have both, that's why they're called good poker players.
« Last Edit: May 01, 2015, 08:10:29 PM by dsmexpat »

Marko34

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Re: Supplementing Income with Poker?
« Reply #92 on: May 01, 2015, 10:13:55 PM »
I see how it's mathematically inevitable, over a long enough period of time, that an advantage player with a sufficiently large bankroll (like the "house" in a casino) will win often enough to provide a reliable income.

The math clearly works in a closed system, where the players you've got are all that there ever will be, and nobody will ever join or leave, and nobody will ever improve. But it doesn't seem to me that the poker-playing community at large is all that closed. People start playing, or retire, all the time. Also, people's skill levels change as they get more experience and learn more about the game. Not everyone progresses equally.

What I don't see is exactly how a person determines that *they* are the advantage player at a given table or series of tables, unless it's a group of people they've consistently and soundly defeated in the past. A winning track record is a good and convincing description of past performance, but nobody controls who sits down at the table *next* time. Best case scenario, it's a complete beginner who has no clue. Worst case scenario, it's a bigger shark than me, with an equally sufficient bankroll, and if that happens often enough I'm dinner.

How does a person determine whether a given loss is the result of ordinary chance, or a result of an encounter with a superior player?

I've got a hefty ego, so it seems to me that, if I were to play poker, I would repeatedly think that I'm the advantage player in situations when I'm actually not. This happened to a guy I met, who ended up losing $150k in retirement savings and his house, plus ending up about $75k in debt. He started out with a very nice winning record in online poker, and he was a very skilled and disciplined player, but there were bigger sharks. Admittedly he wasn't wise in terms of managing his losses. But it makes me wonder, how can a person believe they're that good, if they really aren't? Are they just out of their league?

If there are five people at a poker table, only one of them is the advantage player. Of the other four, are they *all* there with the intention of most likely losing? Or are 80% of them confused about who the advantage player is?

Maybe those of you who play poker as a form of income can enlighten me on this. Would you actually sit down and play with a table full of finalists from a recent ESPN televised poker tournament? I mean, besides for fun just to say you'd done it.


Hey there, basically my short answer is this comes with years of experience.  It is very easy at times at the lower levels to within a first few orbits of play in a live poker game to have remarkably accurate reads on which player fits into which categories of player types.  Whether they are a solid recreational player, someone who plays for a living, someone who is just there to have fun, someone who has a gambling problem, someone who thinks they are good but they aren't, and so on.  I think the reason i am a successful live poker actually stems from my observation abilities being better than the standard person, which has helped me tremendously. 

You would also be surprised to learn that the mental game of poker, and ego itself are a HUGE part of the game.  Your emotional control, and spotting the leaks in the ego's and emotional control of other players is important.

I would say sitting at a decent 2-5 table anywhere in America based on MANY factors i would quickly realize who is good and who isn't in less than 20-30 minutes for sure.  How the bet, how they act during hands, the poker lingo they use, the way they pitch their cards, what they are wearing, how they act when they win or lose a hand, if they pay off a bet when it was clear they weren't good, or if they check on the end when its clear they should have value bet, if they do things they have "seen on tv" like checking in the dark and so on.  I mean I could rant endlessly on things that will tip you off to a skill level of a character, but just trust me, if you are a good player you can spot the other good players and more importantly the bad ones.

What you said about your friend is something that happens to tons of players.  Not for as much money in the games I play, but yes when bad players go on heaters, they often don't think logically and come to expect their run to continue.  And many times their run happened in the first place not because of solid disciplined play but because they ran above EV (expected value) and didnt realize it.  Then all of a sudden ego comes into play when you start leveling off or losing but instead of reevaluating your results and going over hands and studying and discussing strategy with friends and so on and dropping down in stakes if needed they blow through all their winnings instead.  These players don't have discipline or strong mental games, and probably aren't winners overall. 

The final thing you mentioned about bad players being confused is very true.  I've been playing for years in one area with people who are losers year after year but keep coming back.  Most of these guys are well off and its recreation to them.  They are playing for fun, and don't see a huge difference between poker and black jack, they never study, their games never improve.  They understand who some of the better players are, but they often times will talk about how the better players are luckier and so on, when they don't see that the better players just find better spots then they do.  As a winning player, it certainly boggles my mind that people can play as long term losers, but the HUGE majority of players in live poker rooms are losers.  I would estimate over a year span, the people who play more than once a week at their local casino, i would say 90% are losing money over time. 

This thread is very funny to me.  And poker is a much much deeper beast of a game then most people give it credit for.  You need to have quite the stomach for it, and I don't even play the biggest stakes, I mostly stick to 2-5NL.

Anyway, it's a great game, and a great source of income, but its like anything else, you have to be obsessed with it and put in the work.  I have a friend/coach who I talk to everyday about poker.  I have a subscription to a live poker site, Crushlivepoker.com that is specific to improve your live poker game and so on. 

April was my best month of the year so far! +9.5k.  This calendar year I'm up about 35k so far.  Its just like a normal job for me, i put in real job hours.  My hourly is about 63/hour. 

But again its not easy, the emotional roller-coaster can be brutal on the bad days.  I wouldn't recommend it unless you love it. 

zurich78

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Re: Supplementing Income with Poker?
« Reply #93 on: May 02, 2015, 08:12:57 AM »
I really believe that nobody with even a moderate understanding of poker could be as confused as you about the difference between a buyin and a bankroll and whether a bankroll is at risk in a hand of poker. There's only so many times you can make completely inaccurate claims about a subject before you don't get to claim to be an authority on the subject anymore.

Bankroll management is built to guarantee a sample size sufficient to limit the impact of variance. As long as you can find a game small enough for your bankroll you can literally never go bankrupt with good bankroll management, all you can have is a bankroll sufficient for a very low buyin. Now obviously in practice you might struggle to find really tiny games but pennystakes exist where one hour of minimum wage work will get you 20 or so buyins. The law of very large numbers can be meaningfully applied to poker and the impact of short term variance can, with good bankroll management, be dismissed.

Which brings us to "can you have a statistical edge?". The answer is very obviously yes. Some people have fun playing poker by going allin preflop blind on every hand for example. This is online pennystakes bullshit but it does happen. If you're playing heads up then you can play successfully against that by folding the bottom 80% of hands and calling the top 20%. It won't be a statistically perfect game but it will have an edge against someone who is playing 100% of hands allin preflop. Your play doesn't need to be perfect, it just needs to be statistically superior to their play. You can identify probabilities and patterns about their play, make educated guesses and profit from those.

So, if a statistical edge can exist, and it certainly can, and if variance can be dismissed, and it certainly can then is profit guaranteed. The answer is unequivocally yes. In a game where you have a statistical edge and a sufficient number of hands you will always come out ahead. If you can't practice bankroll management you will go bust at some point due to the law of very high numbers, even if you have a statistical edge. Likewise if you have bankroll management but suck at poker then you'll fail to make any money. Good poker players have both, that's why they're called good poker players.

I think we're just going to need to agree to disagree here.  You're right in that we're talking about two different aspects of poker.  The actual play and the factor of bankroll management.  To me, the distinction between those factors is somewhat irrelevant because my argument from post 1 in this thread has been the same.  No human being can play a game requiring human elements strictly to any mathematical model.  They can certainly get close if they are disciplined.  FWIW, blackjack is a game where I believe you can play 100% strictly to the math.

Bad players disregard the math entirely.  Good players factor it in to their play.  I'll repeat that I have no issue with relying on math to improve poker play.  The only issue that I have is the idea that someone can play strictly to it, 100% of the time and play enough iterations/hands in order to realize (and lay claim to realizing) the statistical edge of the model.

So no, I don't think the best poker players are the ones who are the most disciplined in terms of sticking to purely mathematical play since I don't think anyone can actually do that (for a variety of reasons already discussed).  I think the best players are having success in large part because they've incorporated a mathematical elements to their game, but also in large part because they just have really good instincts and hunches.  And by that I mean, the ability to read other players' hands and play, the ability to pick up on tells, the ability to hide tells, knowing when to fold (even if the math says to call), knowing when to call (even if the math says to fold), knowing how and when to bluff (which varies by opponent since some are calling stations and others aren't), etc.

So if you're the good player you claim to be, then I think you're misguided into thinking your success is a result of aligning to some mathematical model.   You're not playing nearly enough hands to be able to realize that edge and you're not playing 100% of your hands to that model which is required to realize that edge.  If you are having success, then there are other factors you should be crediting:  incorporating the math, having a great feel for the game, and a little bit o' luck.

Marko34

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Re: Supplementing Income with Poker?
« Reply #94 on: May 02, 2015, 08:43:45 AM »
I am a serious and "good" player and your last post makes complete sense to me Zurich! It is definitely not a pure math based game. That is just one of the many factors and variables that helps you make the best decisions.

DoubleDown

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Re: Supplementing Income with Poker?
« Reply #95 on: May 05, 2015, 12:55:27 PM »
I think we're just going to need to agree to disagree here.  You're right in that we're talking about two different aspects of poker.  The actual play and the factor of bankroll management.  To me, the distinction between those factors is somewhat irrelevant because my argument from post 1 in this thread has been the same.  No human being can play a game requiring human elements strictly to any mathematical model.  They can certainly get close if they are disciplined.  FWIW, blackjack is a game where I believe you can play 100% strictly to the math.

I don't think anyone here has argued that they are playing a strictly mathematical game. They have said they need to understand their opponents' behavior, and they use math to determine the needed bankroll, odds of winning various hands, etc. That is, they're basically saying what you are saying.

But still, you seem to be under a misguided perception that the math cannot accurately predict outcomes. For example, you said earlier that math doesn't matter on any one hand, because you don't know your opponent's cards. But that's precisely the point of the math: You don't need to know what their cards are, you just need to know the odds of YOUR cards winning against any unknown hands when the simulation has run 10,000,000 times. That's what determines your odds of winning that hand. And, if you have other information about your opponent or their playing style, that can be used as well (like their "tells" if any, your x-ray vision of his cards, whatever).

To bring it all back, I brought up the math argument long ago because there were some early naysayers who were comparing playing poker to "gambling," as though it's a venture destined to result in failure/bankruptcy/eviction/etc. Hopefully we've demonstrated by now that skilled cards players (poker, advantage systems in blackjack, etc.), are not "gambling", per the usual meaning of the term. That is, they are not playing a game where the odds, by design, are stacked against them.


DoubleDown

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Re: Supplementing Income with Poker?
« Reply #96 on: May 05, 2015, 01:11:39 PM »
Speaking of "tells", here's my story for fun...

I don't play poker, but I used to play blackjack quite a bit. One facet of the system I use is to tip the dealer when the odds are favorable, and not tip them when it's unfavorable. The idea is that hopefully in some subconscious way, the dealer will recognize that you are an advantage player and that when you bet big and win, they win big as well.

Of course, dealers are trained not to give tells, and they certainly are not allowed to give information to the player or they will lose their job plus possibly even get invited to talk to the Gaming Commission. Anyway, in all the years I played, I encountered only one time a dealer at a single-deck game around 2:00 am in Laughlin, NV where the strategy seemed to overtly work (beyond just regular ol' dealer gratitude and professional courtesies).

With this dealer, as I was tipping him heavily and asking the usual questions, he started giving me super-specific feedback. Like, you may know that the dealer will check his hole card when he has a ten or an ace showing to see if they have a blackjack. After checking his card, I'd ask him, "Should I hit this?" (not in a serious-sounding way, but in a light-hearted "whaddya think?" way). But he would answer yes/no outright, and he was right Every. Single. Time.

Lol, I made a lot of money with that dealer. Good times.

That's one example, by the way, of ditching the "strictly math" plays in favor of other (much more valuable) information.

dsmexpat

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Re: Supplementing Income with Poker?
« Reply #97 on: May 08, 2015, 11:08:08 AM »
Sports betting you're playing against the house. Poker you're playing against the sucker sitting next to you with the house taking a cut. Completely different. The people succeeding at poker here are talking about millions of hands, this is not short term positive variance.

Psychstache

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Re: Supplementing Income with Poker?
« Reply #98 on: May 08, 2015, 04:20:33 PM »
Sports betting you're playing against the house. Poker you're playing against the sucker sitting next to you with the house taking a cut. Completely different. The people succeeding at poker here are talking about millions of hands, this is not short term positive variance.

This is what most people seem to miss. You are not playing against the casino industrial complex. At low limit tables (1-2, 1-3, 2-5) you are playing against retired people looking to entertain themselves by wasting their SS check, townies who want to blow off steam by drinking and throwing money around, gamblers who just know that spade is coming, and psuedo-pro wannabes who tell the whole table that they just made an impossible lay down. None of these people have a built-in micro advantage like a casino and most can be beaten with some brainpower, study, and practice.

dsmexpat

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Re: Supplementing Income with Poker?
« Reply #99 on: May 08, 2015, 07:49:37 PM »
I played poker full time for about two years if that counts for anything. 8 hours a day, 5-6 days a week.