the truth about poker players

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the truth about poker players

Post  jrw615 on Fri Jun 05, 2009 2:46 pm

http://www.gametheory.net/News/Items/082.html

This article discusses how poker players usually play randomly and not use too much strategy. This makes sense in accordance with game theory because it can be an attempt to "randomize" their decisions. Since it is extremely difficult to guess how an opponent would play a hand, many decisions are simply made at the last moment. To take poker to the next level, one must know how opponents are influenced by your behavior and your pattern of making these last minute decisions.

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Re: the truth about poker players

Post  Andrew Kessler on Fri Jun 05, 2009 6:28 pm

It's important to keep in mind though that playing randomly without a strategy isn't exactly what you want to do; probably what's more desirable is playing randomly with a strategy, but making it seem like you don't have one to your opponents. That way when your opponents try to take advantage of that fact that your playing completely randomly (which you're actually not), you can manipulate them in return, based on their expectations. This is a pretty good representation of incomplete information... you're making all of your decisions based only on common data.

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Re: the truth about poker players

Post  Matt Dolph on Fri Jun 05, 2009 7:43 pm

Another very important strategy in poker is starting false information cascades. If you were to bet very heavily on two hands both of which you had a strong hand and won then the next time when you begin betting heavily again people may be lead to believe that you have a strong hand again though you are actually bluffing.

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Re: the truth about poker players

Post  btaylor on Fri Jun 05, 2009 8:26 pm

What actual poker players do is different than random playing. In poker, in order to be a good player, you need to always play counter-intuitive to what your perceived "table image" is. Playing randomly would not benefit this strategy, as you would not be able to predict what other players have because you know they can't predict what you have. For example, in order to gain the most degree of prediction about your opponents, you want to play one way (tight or loose) until your opponents catch on, then as soon as they think they understand, switch gears to the opposite style. This allows you to predict your opponents hands a lot easier and keep them constantly guessing.
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Re: the truth about poker players

Post  Andrew Kessler on Fri Jun 05, 2009 8:28 pm

I think false information cascade idea makes more sense in the context of sequential betting rounds in a single hand, as opposed to from hand to hand. You can continue to falsely represent the quality of your cards within a single hand because your cards stay the same (although your hand value may change), but you and your opponents know that you have no control over the value of your cards from hand to hand. So bluffing within a single hand is more reasonable to scare off opponents than representing strong cards every single hand.

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Randomness Will Eventually Converge

Post  wizeguy on Fri Jun 05, 2009 11:38 pm

In tournaments, it may be the case that you do not play with players long enough to get a good understanding of how they play. But in cash games, where a core of 5-6 players out of a 10 player game will play with each other for hours. After so many hours and hands, the randomness will eventually converge. Players have an internal valuation system, a system in which they deem what types of hands merit raises, calls, or folds. Some players may raise with smaller suited connectors while other players may only raise with pairs or high cards. Once the basic information is attained, such as how the player values his hands, then the "randomness" that the player may seem to be utilizing will actually just become a pattern. Humans are creatures of habit and can never be truly random.

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Re: the truth about poker players

Post  Augustus Tsai on Sat Jun 06, 2009 12:43 am

I think rather than thinking that poker player play randomly; it is more so that they assign a probability to how they will play. We can model this as a normal form game, such that you either stay or fold. Given the cards, I am sure that the player already has in mind the probability that they should continue to stay or fold. For instance, a player might continue to stay if he has a pair 80% while he will stay 50% if he has a ace king off suit. This seems like a mixed nash equilibrium situation in that other players will now have to play a best response strategy whether to stay or fold based on your decision. This in turn hopefully gives other players a clue about what cards you are holding. And I also agree with the false information cascade. You might decide to bluff if your opponent stay for the first two rounds, and perhaps trying to mess with your opponent view at your probability for the mixed nash equilibrium.

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