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Hack 36. Know When to Hold 'Em

Hack 36. Know When to Hold 'Em

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Oneparticularlycrucialdecisionpointistheroundofbetting

rightaftertheflop.Therearetwomorecardstocomethat

mightormightnotimproveyourhand.Ifyoudon'talready

havethenuts(thebestpossiblehand),itwouldbenicetoknow

whatthechancesarethatyouwillimproveyourhandonthe

nexttwocards.Theruleoffourallowsyoutoeasilyandfairly

accuratelyestimatethosechances.



HowItWorks

Theruleoffourworkslikethis.Countthenumberofcards

(withoutmovingyourlips)thatcouldcomeoffofthedeckthat

wouldhelpyourhand.Multiplythatnumberbyfour.That

productwillbethepercentchancethatyouwillgetoneormore

ofthosecards.



Example1

YouhaveaJackofDiamondsandaThreeofDiamonds.Theflop

comesKingofClubs,SixofDiamonds,andTenofDiamonds.

Youhavefourcardstowardaflush,andthereareninecards

thatwouldgiveyouthatflush.Othercardscouldhelpyou,

certainly(aJackwouldgiveyouapairofJacks,forexample),

butnotinawaythatwouldmakeyoufeelgoodaboutyour

chancesofwinning.

So,ninecardswillhelpyou.Theruleoffourestimatesthatyou

havea36percentchanceofmakingthatflushoneitherthe

turnortheriver(9x4=36).So,youhaveaboutaoneoutof

threechance.Ifyoucankeepplayingwithoutriskingtoomuch

ofyourstack,youshouldprobablystayinthehand.



Example2



YouhaveanAceofDiamondsandaTwoofClubs.Theflop

bringstheKingofHearts,theFourofSpades,andtheSevenof

Diamonds.Youcouldcountsixcardsthatwouldhelpyou:any

ofthethreeAcesoranyofthethreeTwos.Apairoftwoswould

likelyjustmeantroubleifyoubetuntiltheend,solet'ssay

therearethreecards,theAces,thatyouhopetosee.Youhave

justa12percentchance(3x4=12).Fold'em.



WhyItWorks

Themathinvolvedhereroundsoffsomeimportantvaluesto

maketherulesimple.Thethinkinggoeslikethis.Thereare

about50cardsleftinthedeck.(Moreprecisely,thereare47

cardsthatyouhaven'tseen).Whendrawinganyonecard,your

chancesofdrawingthecardyouwant[Hack#3]isthatnumber

dividedby50.



Iknow,it'sreally1outof47.ButItoldyousomethingshavebeen

simplifiedtomakeforthesimplemnemonic"theruleoffour."



Whateverthatprobabilityis,thethinkinggoes,itshouldbe

doubledbecauseyouaredrawingtwice.



Thisalsoisn'tquiteright,becauseontheriverthepoolofcardstodraw

fromisslightlysmaller,soyourchancesareslightlybetter.



Forthefirstexample,theruleoffourestimatesa36percent

chanceofmakingthatflush.Theactualprobabilityis35



percent.Infact,theestimatedandactualpercentchanceusing

theruleoffourtendstodifferbyacouplepercentagepointsin

eitherdirection.



OtherPlacesItWorks

Noticethatthismethodalsoworkswithjustonecardlefttogo,

butinthatcase,therulewouldbecalledtheruleoftwo.Add

upthecardsyouwantandmultiplybytwotogetafairly

accurateestimateofyourchanceswithjusttheriverremaining.

Thisestimatewillbeoffbyabouttwopercentagepointsinmost

cases,sostatisticallysavvypokerplayerscallthistheruleof

twoplustwo.



WhereItDoesn'tWork

Theruleoffourwillbeoffbyquiteabitasthenumberofcards

thatwillhelpyouincreases.Itisfairlyaccuratewith12outs

(cardsthatwillhelp),wheretheactualchanceofdrawingone

ofthosecardsis45percentandtheruleoffourestimateis48

percent,buttherulestartstooverestimatequiteabitwhen

youhavemorethan12cardsthatcanhelpyourhand.

Toprovethistoyourselfwithoutdoingthecalculations,imagine

thatthereare25cards(outof47)thatcouldhelpyou.That'sa

greatspottobein(andrightnowIcan'tthinkofascenario

thatwouldproducesomanyouts),buttheruleoffoursays

thatyouhavea100percentchanceofdrawingoneofthose

cards.Youknowthat'snotright.Afterall,thereare22cards

youcoulddrawthatdon'thelpyouatall.Therealchanceis79

percent.Ofcourse,makingamiscalculationinthissituationis

unlikelytohurtyou.Undereitherestimate,you'dbenutsto

fold.







Hack37.KnowWhentoFold'Em



InTexasHold'Em,theconceptofpotoddsprovidesa

powerfultoolfordecidingwhethertocallorfold.

IfyouwatchanypokeronTV,youquicklypickupaboatloadof

jargon.You'llhearaboutbigslickandbulletsandall-inandtilt.

You'llalsoheardiscussionsaboutpotodds,asin,"Hemightcall

here,notbecausehethinkshehasthebesthand,butbecause

ofthepotodds."

Whenthepotoddsareright,youshouldcallahandevenwhen

theoddsarethatyouwilllose.So,whatarepotoddsandwhy

wouldIeverputmoremoneyintoapotthatIamlikelytolose?



PotOdds

Potoddsaredeterminedbycomparingthechancethatyouwill

winthepottotheamountofchipsyouwouldwinifyoudidwin

thepot.Forexample,ifyouestimatethatthereisa50percent

chancethatyouwillwinapot,butthepotisbigenoughthat

winningitwouldwinyoumorethandoublethecostofcalling

thebetinfrontofyou,thenyoushouldcall.

Toseehowpotoddsworksinpractice,hereisascenariowith

fourplayers:Thelma,Louise,Mike,andVince.Asshownin

Table4-3,Thelmaisinthebestshapebeforetheflop.



Thetablesthatfollowshowthedecisionseachplayermakesbasedon

thepotoddsateachpointinaround.Readthefollowingtablesleftto

right,followingeachcolumnallthewaydown,toseewhatThelma

thinksanddoes,thenwhatLouisethinksanddoes,andsoon.



TablePlayers'startinghands



Player

Cards



Thelma



Louise



AceClubs,Ace

Hearts



Opening

50

bet



Mike



Vince



2Clubs,4

Clubs



4Hearts,5

Spades



KingDiamonds,10

Diamonds



50



50



50



Thencomestheflop:AceSpades,3Diamonds,6Diamonds.

Table4-4showstherevisedanalysisoftheplayers'positions.

Aftertheflop,threeofthemarehopingtoimprovetheirhands,

whileoneofthem,Thelma,wouldbesatisfiedwithno

improvementofherhand,thinkingshehasthebestonenow.

Thelmaisdrivingthebetting,andtheotherthreeplayersare

decidingwhethertocall.

TableAnalysisaftertheflop



Player



Thelma Louise



Neededcards







Chanceofgettingcard







Currentpot

Costtocallas

percentageofpot

Action



200



Bet50



Anyof

four5s

16

percent

250

20

percent

Fold



Mike



Vince



Anyoffour2sor Anyofnine

four7s

diamonds

32percent



36percent



250



300



20percent



17percent



Call50



Call50



Table4-4showstheuseofpotoddsaftertheflop.Thelmahas

apairofacestostartandhitsthethirdaceontheflop.

Consequently,shebeginseachroundbybetting.Theother

playerswhohaveyettohitanythingmustdecidewhetherto



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