Booze, Baseball, and another "B"

Saturday, November 19, 2005


Anyone see the World Series of Poker finale on Tuesday? I was going to blog about this earlier, but I forgot about it until just now.

The winner of the 2005 World Series of Poker, Joseph Hachem of Australia, won the WSOP with a 3-7.

3-7?! I guess that is why I am not the World Champ, because I don't play hands like a 3-7. Seriously.

That being said, I have been tearing apart the ESPN Poker rooms. Even in Omaha, I can't be beaten. I must say, it's a nice turn around from the last few months, where my poker play has been solid, but the beats kept coming (some good, most bad).

Bad beats are a tough one. They usually come from people who don't know what they're doing, which makes them extraordinarily tough opponents.

I know, I can hear you asking, "but, they don't know what they're doing, so they should be easier to beat, right?" The answer is NO.

Take this excerpt from a recent Phil Gordon article on ESPN, when many amateur players are dealt two suited pocket cards, they're inclined to play them. I would say this probably happens with about 50-60% of these hands. They think if they score the flush, they're set. So what're the odds of them winning?

On 41.6% of flops, a player will only receive one card of their suit. That means, the person who doesn't know what they're doing now has 3-to-the-flush, and they think that they're not in a terrible position. When they're playing against me, a large majority of them continue play, even in the face of healthy bets. The odds of them getting their "runner-runner" (in this case, two more cards of the same suit to complete their flush), is only 4.2%. That's right, it's lower than your credit card's APR, but higher than your savings account's interest rate. For many people who don't know what they're doing, they stay in the hand all the way through. For me the last few months, these people have about an extra 30% chance to make their flush, given to them by some gnarly bad luck on my part I guess.

What if they have 4-to-the-flush on the flop? They've got a 35% chance of finishing their flush by the river. Not very good odds, huh? If you were playing baseball, that would kick ass, but in poker that'll kick your ass.

Why am I saying this? I don't know. If these amateurs all learn how to play that'll make my games different, not necessarily more difficult, but certainly more interesting.

In my relentless pursuit of achieving Matt Damon-Rounders status (sitting around in my underwear all the time, drinking bourbon, and watching poker matches), this is the sort of stuff that goes through my head.


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