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Hack 38. Know When to Walk Away

Hack 38. Know When to Walk Away

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realizethatyouaredowntoveryfewchipsandwouldhave

todoubleupseveraltimestogetbackinthegame.

Realistically,youdoubtthatyouhavemuchofachance.

That'sdepressing,andanydecisionyoumakewhenyouare

sadisdifficult.

Onemistakeandyouareout.Thereislittlemarginfor

error,anditishardtopullthetriggerinsuchahigh-stakes

situation.

Applyingsomebasicstatisticalprinciplestothedecisionmight

helpmakeyoufeelbetter.Atleastyou'llhavesome

nonemotionalguidelinestofollow.Whenyoulose(andyoustill

probablywill;you'reshort-stacked,afterall),nowyoucan

blameme,orthefates,andnotyourself.



RecognizingaShort-StackedSituation

Intournamentsettings,atsomepointyouoftenwillhaveso

fewchipsthatyouwillrunoutsoon.Unlessyoubetandwin

soon,youwillbeblindedoutthecostofthemandatorybetswill

bleedyoudry.

Howfewchipsmustyouhavetobeshort-stacked?Evenifwe

defineshort-stackedashavingsomemultipleofthebigblind

(thelargeroftwoforcedbetsthatyoumustmakeonarotating

basis),howmanyofthosebigblindsyouneedisamatterof

style,andthereisnosinglecorrectnumber.Herearesome

differentperspectivesonhowmanychipsyoumusthavein

frontofyoutoconsideryourselfshort-stacked.



Twelvetimesthebigblindorless

Thoughyoucouldplayquiteawhilelongerwithoutrunningout



ofchips,youwillwanttobetonanydecenthand.Youhopeto

winsomeblindshere.Themoreblindsyouwin,thelongeryou

canwaitforkillerhands.Ifyouareraised,atleastconsider

respondingwithanall-in.

Playerswhostarttothinkofthemselvesasshort-stackedinthis

positionwishtogoall-innowonagoodhand,ratherthanbeing

forcedtogoall-inonamediocrehandlateron.Another

advantageofstartingtotakerisksisthatanannouncementof

"all-in"willstillpullsomeweighthere.Youwillhaveenough

chipstomakesomeonethinktwicebeforetheycallyou.Later

on,yourmiserablelittlestackwon'tbeenoughtopushanyone

around.



Chooseyouropponentwisely,ifyoucan,whenyougoall-inandwanta

foldinresponse.Yourraiseofall-inagainstanothersmallstackwillbe

muchmorepowerfulthanthesametacticagainstamonsterstack.By

thesametoken,ifyouwantacall,don'thesitatetogoall-inagainst

playerswithtonsofchips.Theywillbemorethanhappytodoubleyou

up.



Eighttimesthebigblindorless

Inanyposition,whetheryouareonthebutton,inthebigblind,

orthefirsttobet,considerannouncingall-inwithanytop-10

hand.Youstillhaveenoughchipsheretoscareoffsome

players,especiallythosewithsimilarlysizedstacks.

Youarestartingtogetlowenough,though,thatyoureallywant

tobecalled.Ifyoucanplaysomelowpairscheaply,tryit,but

bailoutifyoudon'tgetthreeofakindintheflop.Youneedto

keepasmanybigblindsasyoucantocoastonuntilyouget

thatall-inopportunity.



Herearethe10handsthatarethemostlikelytodoubleyou

up:

ApairofAces,Kings,Queens,Jacks,or10s

Ace-King,Ace-Queen,Ace-Jack,orKing-Queenofthesame

suit

Ace-Kingofdifferentsuits



Fourtimesthebigblindorless

Atthispoint,youneedtogoall-in,evenonhandsthathavea

morethan50percentchanceoflosing.Purposefullymakinga

badwagerseemscounterintuitive,butyouarefightingagainst

theever-shrinkingbaseamountyouhopetodoubleup.Ifyou

waitandwaituntilyouhaveclosetoasurething,whatever

stackremainswillhavetobedoubledafewextratimestoget

youback.

Aformofpotodds[Hack#37]kicksinatthispoint.Ifyoupass

upa25percentchanceofwinningwhilewaitingfora50

percentchance,youmightbeabletowinonlyhalfasmuch

when(andif)youevergettoplaythebetterhand.Definitely

goall-inonanypair,anAceandanythingelse,anyfacecard

andagoodkicker,orsuitedconnectors.



Agoodruleofthumbwhenyou'revery,veryshort-stacked(i.e.,your

totalchipsarefewerthanfourtimesthebigblind)istobetitallas

soonasyougetahandthataddsupto18orbetter.Kingscountas13,

Queens12,Jacks11,andtherestaretheirfacevalue.Acescountas

14,butyouarealreadygoingall-inwithanAce-anything,sothat

doesn'tmatter.Eighteen-pointhandsinclude10-8,Jack-7,Queen-6,

andKing-5.



StatisticalDecisionMaking

Thestatisticalquestionthatdetermineswhenyoushouldmake

yourmovewhetheritisannouncingall-inor,atleast,makinga

decisiontobepotcommitted(somanychipsinthepotthatyou

willgoall-inifpushed)is,"AmIlikelytogetabetterhand

beforeIrunoutofchips?"

I'mgoingtogroup50decent,playablestartingTexasHold'Em

pokerhands,handsthatgiveyouachancetowinagainsta

smallnumberofopponents.I'llbeusingthreegroupings,

showninTables4-6,4-7,and4-8.Whiledifferentpokerexperts

mightquibbleabitaboutwhetheragivenhandisgoodorjust

okay,mostwouldagreethatthesehandsareallatleast

playableandshouldbeconsideredwhenshort-stacked.



Bytheway,thesehandsarenotnecessarilyinorderofqualitywithin

eachgrouping.



TableTengreatstartinghands



Pairs



Different

suits



Samesuit



Ace-AceKing-KingQueenQueenJack-Jack10-10



Ace-KingAce-QueenAce-Jack

King-Queen



Ace-King



TableFifteengoodstartinghands



Pairs



Samesuit



Differentsuits



9-98- Ace-TenKing-JackKing-10Queen-JackQueen87-7 10Jack-10Jack-910-99-8



Ace-QueenAceJackKing-Queen



TableTwenty-fiveokaystartinghands



Pairs



Samesuit



Differentsuits



Ace-10King-JackQueen6-65- Ace-9Ace-8Ace-7Ace-6Ace-5Ace-4Ace-3AceJackKing-10Queen-10Jack5

2King-9Queen-910-89-78-78-67-66-55-4

10



Whenyouareshort-stackedandtheblindsandantesare

comingdue,youknowyouhaveacertainnumberofhandsleft

beforeyouhavetomakeamove.Table4-9showsthe

probabilitythatyouwillbedealtagreat,good,orokayhand

overthenextcertainnumberofdeals.

TableChanceofgettingaplayablehand



Handquality Nexthand In5deals In10deals In15deals In20deals

Great

Good

Okay

Okayorbetter



4percent

7percent

11percent

22percent



20percent

29percent

46percent

72percent



36percent

50percent

70percent

92percent



49percent

65percent

84percent

98percent



59percent

75percent

91percent

99percent



IcalculatedtheprobabilitiesforTable4-9byfirstfiguringthe

probabilitiesforanyspecificpair(youarejustaslikelytogetapairof

Acesasapairof2s):.0045.Ithenfiguredtheprobabilitiesforgetting

anytwospecificdifferentcardsthatarethesamesuit(.003),andthe

chancesofgettinganytwospecificdifferentcardsthatarenotthe

samesuit(.009).Then,foreachcategorygreat,good,orokayI

multipliedtheappropriateprobabilitybythenumberofpairs,unpaired

suitedhands,andsoon,inthatcategory.Ithencalculatedthechance

ofoneofthesehandsnothittingacrossthegivennumberof

opportunitiesandsubtractedthatvaluefrom1togetthevaluesfor

eachcellinthetable.



HereishowtouseTable4-9.Imagineyouareshort-stacked

andhavejustbeendealtagoodhand.Ifyouthinkyoureally

havetogoall-insometimeduringthenextfivehands,thereis

onlya20percentchancethatyouwillbedealtabetterhand.

Youshouldprobablystakeeverythingonthisgoodhand.

Ifyoucanhangonfor20moredeals,thereisagreaterthan50

percentchancethatyouwillgetagangbusterhand,soifyou

wanttobeconservative,youcanlaythesecardsdownfornow.

Morecommonly,short-stackedplayersconsidergoingall-inwith

ahandthatisnotevenatop-50handsomethinglikeKing-8

unsuited,forexample.UsingtheprobabilitiesinTable4-9,you

mightsafelylayitdownandhopeforabetterhandinthenext

fivehands.Thereisa72percentchanceyouwillgetit.

Finally,imaginethatyouhavejustafewhandsleftbecausethe

blindsareshrinkingyourstackdowntonothing.Youlookdown

andseeadecenthand,anokayhand,suchas8-7inthesame

suit.Table4-9allowsyoutoanswerthebigquestion:isitlikely

thatyourverynexthandwillbebetterthanthisone?Thereis

aboutan11percentchanceofgettingagoodorgreathand

next.So,no,itisunlikelyyouwillimprove.Stakeyourfuture

onthishand.



GettingYourMindRight

Wetalkedearlieraboutwhyitissoemotionallydifficulttoplay

whenshort-stacked.Herearesomepsychologicaltipstofight

thepainofbeingcaughtbetweenarockandahardplace:



Berealistic

Inblackjack,whenaplayerhitsher16againstthedealer's

7,sheknowssheislikelytobust.Shedoesitanyway

becausethedealerislikelytohavea10-carddown,andit

givesherthebestchancesinanalmostno-winsituation.

Shetakespleasureinknowingshedidallshecouldtogive

herselfthebestchancesofsurviving.Thesamethinking

applieshere:takepleasureinknowingyougaveyourself

thebestchancestocomebackandwin.



Enjoytheall-inexperience

Thereisnothingmoreexcitingthanhavingitallontheline.

Becauseyouhadnorealchoiceaboutgoingall-in,justrelax

andenjoyitthebestyoucan.Noplayerwillchideyou

aboutdoing"suchastupidthing,"becauseyoujustdidthe

smartestthingyoucould.



Takecontrol

Toavoidfeelingforcedtodosomethingyoudon'twantto

do,startyourcomebackattemptbeforeyouhaveto.Play

toavoidtheshort-stackedsituationbystartingtomake

yourmoveswhenyoustillhave10to12timesthebigblind

inchips.Youhavealotmorechoicesatthispointthanyou

willhavelateron,andsoyoucanplaywithmoresubtlety,

basingyourbetonposition,opponents,tells,andsoon.

Thesmalleryourstackgets,thelesspoweryouhaveto

controlyourowndestiny.







Hack39.LoseSlowlyatRoulette



Roulettehassomanyprettycolorsandshinyobjectsthat

kittensloveit.Plus,you'lllookprettycoolplayingit.But

inthelongrun,you'lllosemoney,andwithyourcat

allergyandall....

Likemostgamesinacasino,rouletteisagameofpurechance.

Noonehasanyskillwhenitcomestopredictingwhichofthe

37(European-style)or38(U.S.-style)partitionedsectionsthe

tinyballwillendupin.Thebestaplayercandoisknowthe

odds,managehismoney,andassumegoinginthathewilllose.

Ofcourse,hemightgetluckyandwinsomemoney,which

wouldbedandy,buttheLawofBigNumbers[Hack#2]must

beobeyed.Inthelongrun,heismostlikelytohavelessmoney

thanifhehadneverplayedatall.Infact,ifheplaysaninfinite

amountoftime,heisguaranteedtolosemoney.(Mostroulette

playersplayforaperiodoftimesomewhatlessthaninfinity,of

course.)Toextendyouramountofplayingtime,thereis

importantstatisticalinformationyoushouldknowaboutthis

gamewiththespinningwheel,theorbitingball,andtheblack

andredlayout.



BasicWagers

Figure4-1showsthebettinglayoutofatypicalroulettegame.

ThisisanAmerican-stylelayout,whichmeanstherearetwo

greennumbers,0and00,whichdonotpayoffanybetsonred

andblackoroddandeven.European-styleroulettewheelshave

onlyonegreennumber,0,whichcutsinhalfthehouse

advantagecomparedtoU.S.casinos.



Figure4-1.Typicalroulettebettinglayout



Playerscanbetinalargevarietyofways,whichisonereason

rouletteissopopularincasinos.Forexample,aplayercould

placeonechipoverasinglenumber,touchingtwonumbers,on

acolor,adjacenttoacolumnof12numbers,andsoon.Like

anyotherprobabilityquestion,thechanceofrandomlygetting

thedesiredoutcomeisafunctionofthenumberofdesired

outcomes(winning)dividedbythetotalnumberofoutcomes.

Thereare38spacesonthewheeland,becauseall38possible

outcomesareequallylikely,thecalculationsarefairly

straightforward.Table4-10showsthetypesofbetsplayerscan

make,theinformationnecessarytocalculatetheoddsof

winningforasinglespinofthewheelandaone-dollarbet,the

actualamountsthecasinopaysout,andthehouseadvantage.

TableStatisticsofrouletteforeach$1bet



Typeof

wager

Single

1

number



Numberof

winning

outcomes



Numberof

losing

outcomes

37



Casino

Odds

pays

37to1



$35



House

House

edge

edge

equation





5.26

percent



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Hack 38. Know When to Walk Away

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