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More Players in the pot against your AA is a good thing.

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More Players in the pot against your AA is a good thing.

Old 05-30-05, 07:22 PM
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More Players in the pot against your AA is a good thing.

so people are always complaining about not being able to protect their hands, or how lots of people in the pot makes it impossible to win etc. i came accross some text in The Psychology of Poker today that i thought was worthy of a post.

from pp 170-172

The increased size of your winning pots will more than compensate you for your unexpected losses. That's the good news. Sometimes your carefully selected hands will hold up, and you will win so much more than usual that yoru total profits will be much greater than in a normal game.

Most players either do not know or ignore that fact. I am sick of hearing people whine: "In that game I can't protect my hand." And countless bad beat stories begin: "I had pocket aces, and this jerk called my raise with garbage." That complaint and the stories are based on frustration, not economics. From a purely economic point of view, the more people who draw against your great hands, the more money you will make over the long term.

Take the best holdem hand, pocket aces. They will win more than 80 percent of the pots with only two plaeyrs, but only about 30 percent of the pots with ten players. If nine players call all the way, somebody is going to beat you most of the time. The more people against your aces, the more often you will lose.

That's frustrating, but the profits on your infrequent victories will average being more than three times as much as you would win heads up. Let's say you played showdown (there are no additional bets) 100 times for 1$ per hand.

With only one opponent the aces would win $80 on the 80 winning hands and lose $20 on the 20 losing hands. The net profit for 100 hands would be $60.

$80 won on 80 winning hands
-20 lost on 20 losing hands
$60 net profit

With nine opponents the aces would win about 30 times for a total of $270 ($9 per hand times 30 hands). They would lose about 70 times for a total of $70 ($1 per hand times 70 hands). The net profit for 100 hands would be $200.

$270 won on 30 winning hands at $9 per hand
-70 lost on 70 losing hands at $1 per hand
$200 net profit

That $200 is more than triple the $60 the aces would win in 100 two-handed pots, and a return of 200 percent on the #100 wagered. It is absolutely impossible to get much more than a 100 percent return on your investment in a heads up pot using this model. The people who complain about loose calls and their inability to protect their hands don't know what they are talking about. They are expressing their frustration about being drawn out on because it hurts now, and the long term return on investment is just an abstraction to them.

If you play in an LPG, you just have to accept that you often can't protect yoru hand, but you will get paid well for your frustration. They are going to call you and draw out on you, no matter what you do.
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Old 05-30-05, 07:50 PM
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This is all supposition and I'd like it if possible if the good players can shoot me down

I am a n00b at this thing (and far from being a good player), so feel free to point it out if I have it wrong.

Read one book where the writer was saying that he prefers tables of 7 - 8 players. From that I can gather, less than that decreases the size of the pot, more than that (ie 10) means that there is a better chance of someone at the table holding better cards than you do the majority of the time you do decide to bet.

Now yes, in a 10 player table, AA *will* almost always win, and in that situation, you probably do want as large a pool of opponents as you can get. BUT, countering that, AA will only come up 1 in 220 hands, which means that you'll (on average) be BB 22 times and SB 22 times before you see that AA.

So, the question becomes: is it better to have a relatively small pool of players whereby you can take advantage of having the best hand more times (but with a smaller pot), or a large pool of players where you're less likely to have a good hand (but have a larger pot).

(As I said - feel free to take this argument apart. I'd like to know if it is correct or not)
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Old 05-30-05, 08:34 PM
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johnny, this was using AA as the most extreme example of a good hand with lots of opponents. you get many other hands every 220 hands that you can apply this to.

as far as if you would rather play at tables with more or less players, that is personal preference. There are different optimal strategies for different amounts of opponents. (IE if you used your 10 player table strategy in a 2 person game, you would get destroyed quickly).
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Old 05-30-05, 11:07 PM
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Table size is a matter of style and preference. I prefer short-handed tables where you can make some moves. Full tables are so much about sitting back and waiting.

As for the idea of wanting lots of players vs. AA, it's a no-brainer. A lot of people don't get it because a lot of people are stupid. Players think that the goal in poker is to win LOTS of pots. They're mistaken.
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Old 05-31-05, 12:01 AM
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I'd rather play AA against no more than 4 opponents. I know that the more players the merrier mathematically, but everyone seems to forget the psychological component of getting dealt AA for the first time in the weekend and losing it to a guy who cold-called with T4o and nailed his two pair.
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Old 06-02-05, 05:28 AM
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Lost tonight with AA to AK. Straight came fraggin' fraggin'.
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