08-26-06 [poker] - 1

I really think most top players don't understand poker and why they win. They've somehow learned good practices and then come up with reasons for them. Barry G keeps talking about how you should bet so people will fold and you can win the pot. In particular, you should bet enough to make them fold their draws. Of course that's very wrong. If you could bet a large amount that gave them bad odds, but small enough that they called anyway, that would be more profitable.

Similarly, I'd guess most players think they're winners because they're better than average. No, not really. Your profit comes almost entirely from very bad players. You win because you extract well from them. Grinding out a small edge against average/decent players doesn't even beat the rake.

I don't question myself so much about gambling it up in marginal spots any more. It's possible that I'm making some -EV moves in those spots. However, overall my game is more +EV than ever. How can that be? Well, it could just be variance, or it could be that making a little -EV move once in a while is actually +EV, because it gets you action, or makes people stop bluffing you when they see you make a call with ace high. The truth is all those little factors are very hard to count, so making a little -EV move once in a while is not really something to worry much about.

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