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Why Bad Beats Matter To Some

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  • Why Bad Beats Matter To Some

    Disclaimer: This is my opinion based on my personal poker experiences. Your mileage may vary.

    People who become nearly obsessed with bad beats generally are the same ones who focus on the results of a hand and not their decisions and the decision making process. Once I learned that poker was a game of decisions and people played with cards and not a game of cards played by people I began to lose my concern over bad beats. In poker your objective should ALWAYS be how to influence your opponent(s) to make poor decisions. Whenever you succeed in doing such your have just made a +EV move (see Sklansky's Fundamental Theorem of Poker). Make more +EV moves then -EV ones and you are on your way to becoming a winning poker player.

    So if poker is about influencing others into poor decisions, others poor decisions are a very good thing for us. Some of the poor decisions are going to result in bad beats, so we should accept receiving bad beats as a sign that we are doing something right in our game. So remember, we receive a bad beat because someone else made a poor decision and we want poor decisions when they are being made by our opponents.

    At the end of significant hands, whether we won or lost we should review our decision making process. Did we range our opponent properly? Did we maximize a win or minimize a loss? If not we should learn something from the hand either about our self or an opponent. If we played properly we should be satisfied no matter the result.

    A harder lesson and one I still struggle with is being accustomed to variance. I have bad periods that have lasted for only few days up to one stretch that lasted for 8 months (including a couple of 2 week breaks from the game). I've heard of players with bad streaks lasting over a year. In these gloomy times it becomes much harder to keep your focus on making good decisions. You may want to play easily dominated hands because everyone else wins against your with them. Keep yourself on track. Play more ABC poker and avoid higher variance (speculative) plays.

    Randomness is ugly. If it were uniformly distributed it would no longer be random. It comes in clumps, bunches, and various other non-uniform ways. We tend to notice it more when it runs against us but it also runs in our favor as well. If we accept it when it smiles on us we should also accept the frowns.

  • #2
    + infinity Great post Joe. umbup:

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    • #3
      Love the post, Joe. The light bulb went on for me during a bad stretch, I couldn't seem to win no matter what hand I held. I decided to review my hand histories to look for leaks, find mistakes, etc. I did find lots of mistakes, but finally realized that a lot of bad beats means you're consistently getting your money in with the best of it. After that point, I found that the bad beats didn't bother me nearly as much. I think that was a giant step in becoming a better player. umbup:umbup:umbup:
      Bracelet Winner


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      • #4
        Maybe a mod could sticky this in the bad beat forum. + umbup:

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        • #5
          +1 Joe

          Everybody when they first play poker think it is a card game. It really isn't though. It is more like a decision making game fought on the random battleground of the card table. The terrain is unpredictable and ever changing and logic will always be your guide you through it.

          When it comes to bad variance, it can be really tough to not let it get to you. In fact, it has probably brought many men to the verge of tears the first time or two they have encountered it. It will defy all logic and reason as it will go against everything the odds tell you should happen (in the long term). You may ask yourself, "Has the sky turned green? What is happening here?".... well that or " It's rigged!!!!@#@U#(Y$%*!" (Of course none of us PSO'ers would think that, but a lot of naive people do haha!)

          Experience is the most important learning tool in my opinion. Experiencing some seriously bad variance a few times will teach you a lot. It will show you why bankroll management is important. It is why you can't expect to have that 40bb/100 stat forever. No your really not that pro lol, just rollen on the high end of variance for a bit.

          It is important to realize that everyone experiences bad variance from time to time, even the pros. It is worth noting though, that the higher your edge of your opponents, the less severe bad variance will be in general. If you graph your win rate, it will go up and down with variance. The higher your winrate, the higher the graph will be above the zero line. So, when variance takes you down, it won't dip as far below zero, and will for less amount of time. Of course if your a losing player, bad (even regular) variance will throw you into the negative profits quicker, and your losses will be greater for longer periods of time. Losing players will experience more severe swings of bad variance.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by RockerguyAA View Post
            Losing players will experience more severe swings of bad variance.
            Loved the post until that final sentence

            No they won't. It's equal for all of us. But they'll sure be making more regular trips to the cookie jar

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Darkman61 View Post
              Loved the post until that final sentence

              No they won't. It's equal for all of us. But they'll sure be making more regular trips to the cookie jar
              Well, your right I guess. What I meant is, the winning player with a high edge and the losing player with a negative edge will experience the same variance swing differently. Technically it will cost them both the same amount of potential profits, but it will look very different. At the end of the bad variance swing, the winning player will look at his stats and see he is down 5.5 buyins. The losing player, after having the exact same bad variance swing, will look at his stats and see that he is down 12 buy-ins. It is because during the bad swing, the winning player is theoretically still profiting from his skill edge and the losing player is still losing because of his negative skill edge.

              Do you agree?
              Last edited by RockerguyAA; Sat Sep 17, 2011, 05:51 PM.

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              • #8
                Randomness is indeed an unfortunate phenomenon, if it were evenly distributed then we could vary our decision making to interpret the randomness , to take account of it.

                In essence, what you say is that bad beats, that suck outs happen to everyone, that it is just the roll of the dice, that it is that word that we should not mention "luck". I watched all of Moneymaker's vidoes, Ainsworth's, and all the other pros. For some obscure reason they do not have five limpers when they raise AK. Is it position, is it timing, or is it just luck that they get the big hands, in late position, with only one caller, or at a push two? What really separates the guys who make the right plays, at the right place, and at the right time? Is it skill or is it just luck?

                I have had long conversations with people here on the site, with people that have FPP'd to the PCA and do you know the big factor? Luck, some people are lucky and others get crushed!!

                So you can preach until you are blue in the face Joe, about not being results orientated, that it all evens out over time (time is infinite you know), but the glaring and obvious fact is, that I can play like Moneymaker, I can take the risks, I can make the unbelievable plays, I can do everything he and the other pros say I should do; it just happens that when I do as I am told, play as I am told, that somehow, someway, it does not work out as they say it should. It is like having your caddy giving you all the info to get to the 18th green in the US Open, and yet somehow you end up on the 1st green instead!

                And I will give you another analogy: Rory Mc Ilrox has a golf course in his back garden, he has the greens set up for the Open, the US Open, the PGA etc etc. He practises relentlessly to get get down in two from off the green for whatever competition he is playing. His success is not just luck, it is skill, hard work and diligence, just like Tiger Woods.

                And that is where poker diverges from other "sports", it is not about just making the right decision, the right play, the overriding factor is luck, it is that the coin falls tails, not heads. You can make all the right decisions and the right plays and you can still lose. in other sports we have players who dominate, Davis, Hendry in snooker, Norman, Woods, in golf, Man U in football, Germany, Brazil, Italy in soccer( and I only use that word grudgingly), NZ, Australia in rugby, Tyrone, Kerry in Gaelic football, Schumacher/ Vettel in Formula 1, Federer, Nadal in tennis.

                These people dominate their sport not by luck or variance but skill. How many players have won the WSOP Main Event in the last 20 years? Is it 20? Why is it 20? Because the overriding factor is luck, and the reason you cannot be results orientated in poker is because the skill element is dominated by luck: it is that simple.

                Sorry to tell the truth folks but that is the way it is, you can make every right decision in poker and still get beat and that is what we all must accept.

                TC

                And I will say it is a good post Joe, a very good post, and I accept all you say. I just want to add that luck is a huge factor in poker and that the skill element has a less significant impact on the result than in other sports/games..)

                TC
                Last edited by topthecat; Sat Sep 17, 2011, 07:00 PM.

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                • #9
                  Great post Joe ... very true. umbup:umbup:umbup:

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                  • #10
                    Excellent post Joe!! It is a "Must" way of thinking when playing poker.

                    In TC's post, I completly believe he is pointing out the absolute nuts of the trueism of playing poker.

                    It is random, and very much out of a poker players control. Cards will fall as they fall.

                    I say this with complete understanding Joe, of what you posted.

                    This is the very thin version of the reply I could post, just too damn tired at the moment.

                    Enjoy


                    Dale
                    3 Time Bracelet Winner

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                    • #11
                      To quote an original PSO member:

                      There is no luck in poker, only variance.
                      -- Dr. Tim Lavalli, aka The Poker Shrink aka zeroth

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by RockerguyAA View Post
                        Well, your right I guess. What I meant is, the winning player with a high edge and the losing player with a negative edge will experience the same variance swing differently. Technically it will cost them both the same amount of potential profits, but it will look very different. At the end of the bad variance swing, the winning player will look at his stats and see he is down 5.5 buyins. The losing player, after having the exact same bad variance swing, will look at his stats and see that he is down 12 buy-ins. It is because during the bad swing, the winning player is theoretically still profiting from his skill edge and the losing player is still losing because of his negative skill edge.

                        Do you agree?
                        To a degree, yes. But that's only if you compare their graphs with the baseline set at zero for both players. If you were to draw the line where you would expect each player to be during a sequence of say 1,000 games, the deviation from "the norm" would probably be very similar for both players.

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                        • #13
                          but you are forgetting that the bad player will make more -EV plays overall....

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by TrumpinJoe View Post
                            To quote an original PSO member:

                            There is no luck in poker, only variance.
                            -- Dr. Tim Lavalli, aka The Poker Shrink aka zeroth

                            I think this is a pOtato/potAto thing.

                            Dale
                            Last edited by dale442; Sat Sep 17, 2011, 07:54 PM.
                            3 Time Bracelet Winner

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                            • #15
                              i love youre post joe and i agree with top 100%umbup:
                              4 Time Bracelet Winner

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