Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Not an easy question

What turns you on about poker? The Pretender, a poker and bridge player who blogs here, asks that question.

Here is what he says:

So what gets you off when playing poker? Do you like to steal a lot of pots? Do you like to make big bluffs? Do you like tricking people into bluffing you? Do you like taking down a big starting hand with a bad starting hand? Do you like playing down the middle because you're one of those sticklers for rules and high card points (bridge pun)? Do you like to make the hero call? Or do you like to make the hero fold?

I believe that knowing what maximizes your enjoyment of the game and then choosing the right game situation for that will lead to more fun and more profits. If you want to steal pots, you should look for a table of nits. If you like to take down big starting hands, you should play deep stacked. Phil Hellmuth, for example, likes to get people to bluff into him and likes making the hero fold (masochist). But he'll frequently play online in a limit holdem game that just doesn't work out numbers-wise for that type of play.

What is it about poker that turns you on? Maybe it's something simple such as you love the intellectual challenge. But really, what does that mean? Maybe you like playing tricky and enjoy fooling the villain. Or maybe it's something else. What about you?


  1. Hi MOJO! B-12 shots...yes, I think they do some good. I've never had one but I've never had a B-12 deficiency. I do take a multivitamin daily and there's some B-12 in that.

    If you Google B-12 you'll find a gaggle of information. The problem is sorting it all out...

  2. His question is interesting but seem prone to failure. What he is proposing is preconceived notions. That can be deadly at the tables. Our tendencies always lurk to create exploitable situations. Playing a particular style is limiting and discloses too much information. It is the reason implied odds are +EV.

    That my take on it anyway.

  3. I wonder if playing both bridge and poker lead to the view. The bidding is a conversation that discloses information. It structures action -- reaction. That over simplifies but might lead to structuring one's poker play -EV. The thought is very incomplete but would be interesting for a guy familiar with both to have a nice article about.

  4. Reraising turns me on. Specifically turning the tables and making opponents make tough decisions.

  5. 'Rolled up aces over kings. Check-raising stupid tourists and taking huge pots off of them. Playing all-night high-limit Hold'em at the Taj, "where the sand turns to gold." Stacks and towers of checks I can't even see over.'

    That's what turns me on. All of it. Every single example you gave is what I enjoy doing. I like pummeling my opponent into the ground. Live? I love pummeling my Ed Hardy shirt-wearing opponent into the ground in particular.

    I'm ruthless.

  6. I like crubs.

    Particularly, whistling for them when I need them and laughing at others for not having a whistle when they need it.

    Word verification: spite

  7. I'm simply just too dumb not to play, I guess.


  8. It's just a beautiful game: Luck, several kinds of skill, and guts are required. Very few contrived rules. And winning: I feel good when I win, and I feel bad when I lose. I feel bad a lot, lately!

  9. I like the tingle I get in my nether-regions right before I fire up a table. ;-)

  10. MOJO,

    Thanks for revisiting the question here. When I posed it, I was excluding the professionals. Obviously if you're grinding, the only thing that should matter is the bottom line. I'm not sure that's the case for most players, even the ones who are long run winning players.

  11. I like playing a solid TAG style even when my opponents know that I play TAG and then taking them to value town over and over anyway when they play bad starting hands trying to bust me.