08-01-06 [poker] - 1

"Reverse Martingale" (betting more when ahead) obviously does not work in terms of EV, but it does mean that you are usually either UP a LOT or DOWN a LITTLE. In terms of real life, that's a pretty good system. If you're gambling small, maximizing your EV or hourly rate really doesn't do much for you. However, maximizing the chance of a big win while minimizing the risk of a big loss is pretty cool.

A lot of bad semi-pro poker players use a sort of Reverse Martingale system with their bankrolls. They play 100NL until they have $1000 or so, then move up to 200NL, they keep moving up as they win until they get to the top levels. Usually they play the top level for a while with a $100k bankroll until they go bust. Part of the reason why Martingale is not a good idea in poker is that the higher stakes are more difficult. If they were all the same difficulty, this system would not be bad, but by taking your good lucky winnings and playing at the much harder top level, you're playing very -EV.

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old rants