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Slight edges really a leak?

RonC Posts: 22Subscriber
edited July 2016 in NLHE Strategy Discussion
It's late and I'm tilting. Sorry if this seems basic.

Is a flip really worth it? I think that I have been putting money in with a slight edge in theory but when up against a made hand... brick out and loose a buy in... rinse and repeat.. It seems the grind is only effective against weak players... and seem to be most effective monetarily in a trapping or bluffing situation. I'm really starting to believe that 60/40 ... 54 /46 edges are just a waste of time... and very costly to my bankroll. Same seems to apply when the pot is big enough to call when you have the correct pot odds. Major risk... with only really long term upside after hundreds of like hands.

Aggression, bum hunting and extracting with the nuts... in the short term... seem to pay better than long term favorable odds spread over year. Is it really worth it?

What am I missing here? Any suggestions?



  • stayinschool Posts: 2,969Subscriber
    I mean it depends. Like if I am up against a big fish and think I could get it in as a flip or a 55/45 favorite I might not xo that edge because I have such a skill edge there are ways to find a bigger edge somewhere else in the hand. However, Generally getting the money in as a 60/40 favorite is a pretty good result. Ex, Made hand vs FD.

    Say we get in the money and we are 100BB deep. Pot is now 200BB, we win 60% of the time, we own 120BB of the pot. That is a 20BB profit. Even if you are crushing a game 20BB of profit is 2 hours of work and is something that can not be given up.

    So yes sometimes we can find a bigger edge then just getting it in as marginal favorite but usually these situations are profitable enough we just want to go with them.
  • PBJTIME Posts: 338Subscriber
    You question shouldn't be an either/or question. Do all of the above. Aggression, bum hunt, extract with the nuts, AND take those 55/45 edges. So long as you're adequately rolled, adding these all together yields a maximum win rate. Don't forget that winning a huge pot helps your table image. Also, if you're playing with a lot of the same players day in and day out, taking coin flip opportunities makes you look more loose and less nitty.
  • MikeG Posts: 989Subscriber
    In a cash game (ie. not a tournament) where you are properly rolled, you should always be taking these small edges (and 60/40 is not a flip -- that's a pretty crushing edge.
    If you truly have 60/40 or 54/46 edges, then you are making money every single time. Sure, it's possible to runbad, but it doesn't matter to you.
    Major risk... with only really long term upside after hundreds of like hands.
    This is is the crux of the problem. It certainly might be true that one's EV might only be realized after hundreds of hands (more likely many thousands of hands), but that's why we play poker. If everyone realized their EV immediately, then there would be no fish. The reason bad players keep playing is that sometimes they win 40/60s or 46/54s and so they enjoy the rush. But, if you want to play seriously, you have to build the roll and the patience to not be worried when you drop 5-10 buyins and just keep plugging away knowing that you're making money every single time somebody gets it in with you as a 40/60 favorite, whether you happen to win that particular hand or not.
  • MastaC707 Posts: 95Subscriber
    Its only an issue if you are improperly rolled, or more importantly the loss of the flip cause you to tilt losing more money, or by taking you off your A game. Mental game work should help.

    by 1RonC
  • DrSpace Posts: 716Subscriber
    There are a lot of spots vs weak players where one can take lower variance lines with comparable EV -- this is something you can work on. Getting money in with a small edge is still profitable but you can fold if you want to as well you simply lost a little money. Just be certain that folks don't figure out you fold to pressure.

    The longer and higher stakes you play I think you will find you will be happy to take any and all profitable spots and learn to live with the pain like the rest of us.
  • BananaStandBananaStand Posts: 1,455Troll
    Unless the OP plays for a living and has poker as his sole source of income, then I don't think being 'properly rolled' is the issue here. If you have a job then your bankroll is infinite. For most people single paycheck is enough of a session-roll at the $5 or $10 blind levels.

    If your a recreational, or semi-recreational player, then I would say that you can avoid some of the thinner edges. 60/40 is obviously a spot to go broke. But 52/48 is probably a spot you can pass up.

    1) Margin of error. You can't see your opponents cards, so you're always calculating your equity against a range of hands. You can be wrong about that range. So whatever equity edge you've calculated could be off by a few percentage points. I don't see anything wrong with rounding these spots off as "break even" and just avoiding the variance.

    2) Session bankroll - If you're a recreational player, you probably don't have 20-40 buy-ins just sitting around. If you do, that's a problem in itself, but one for another thread. Most recreational players I see are playing with 1-3 buy-ins per session and then "it's time to go home". There's nothing wrong with that. If you're in a good game, but going broke means you have to leave, then you might wanna stay longer and look for better spots to put your money in.

    3) Opportunity cost - this is a consideration in games where buy ins are capped, and the effective stacks are significantly over the cap. If you're in a $500 cap game playing $1,200 effective with a fish, you should be getting the best of him pretty often. If you went broke in a coin flip and had to start over with a $500 stack against his $2,400, then your winnings in future hands will be impaired significantly.

    4) Satisfaction - If you're a recreational player, then there really has to be some aspect of fun in the game. For some people a race between AK and JJ is enough of a rush/thrill and having the best equity is merely a bonus. For others, they prefer to manipulate pots, exploit tendencies, and play a game that's more competitive.

    5) Tilt - if you lose, are you going to chase the loss by loosening up and making bad decisions in an effort to "get even"?

    6) Honesty - If you win, are you going to leave the session pounding your chest thinking that you're an expert poker player because your got a villain to pay you off with AK vs JJ pre-flop? Did you really win because you played the hand well? Conversely, as the OP is doing, you could blame yourself when you lose, and use the loss to justify passing on +EV decisions?

    by 1RonC
  • JKH Posts: 835Subscriber
    Main factors are:
    1 what are the pot odds like or better stated how much equity are u giving up if u fold....if their is 1k in pot and its 1k to call And race, folding is a big leak
    2 Can you afford it - bankroll- session bankroll whatever u want to call it
    3 are u gonna tilt off more cash if u lose and can u play well with a losing image if u lose
    4 Are you significantly better than your opponent if yes then don't take the line ( in my experience most people have less of an edge on their competition than they think)
    5 is your opponent a rec player who will lock up their chips / go home if they win
    6 can u put pressure on your opponent with some fold equity

    In general my opinion is that taking lines that make us decide if we are going to have to call off and flip is weak but putting pressure on our opponents and making them decide to fold or call off is pretty strong and when the ladder is done with deeper stacks over 300bb people will fold a lot of strong hands.
  • MikeG Posts: 989Subscriber
    I don't think being 'properly rolled' is the issue here.
    Disagree. I have never seen someone who understands the game AND is rolled for the game want to pass up 60/40 spots in a cash game. There is nobody anywhere who is good enough to be passing up edges that are that big. The only reason to do so is not being rolled for the game, imo.
  • BananaStandBananaStand Posts: 1,455Troll
    edited July 2016
    I think we all agree that 60/40 is too good to pass up. But there are lots of thinner spots where other factors besides bankroll, come into play.

    For example....it's a 2/5 game with $500 stacks. For simplicity, let's assume there is no small blind, and there is no rake.

    You raise to $55 with JJ, it folds to the BB who shoves. 445 for you to call. You give villain a range of TT+,AQs+,AKo. Against that range you have 45%.

    So to call, you'd need 445/1000 = 44.5%. You have enough equity to call here, profitably. But it's very thin. You're flipping for your whole stack in order to generate an average profit of $5, or 1BB.

    Who here would push that edge and chase that $5 of +EV? Who wouldn't? Is it really a bankroll consideration?
  • PBJTIME Posts: 338Subscriber
    edited July 2016
    Why would being a pro or a rec player make a difference in the way you'd should optimally play?

    Saying "if your a rec player, you can avoid some of the thinner edges" is terrible advice. Anyone who subscribes to this site is trying to improve their game. They should take all edges they can find to optimize win rate. The only reason not to would be bankroll issues.

    As far as BS $5 EV example, I would take it if I was 100% certain that those are the ranges. It's great for your image. Unfortunately, ranges are never going to be 100% accurate unless your opponent shows you his cards.
  • stayinschool Posts: 2,969Subscriber
    IDK, if you are a rec play you should really just do whatever you want. If you don't wana sweat the small edges, don't.
  • PBJTIME Posts: 338Subscriber
    edited July 2016
    Ok then why should a pro sweat the small edges?

    It's not an issue of rec vs pro. It's an issue of win rate vs risk tolerance.
  • stayinschool Posts: 2,969Subscriber
    PBJTIME said:
    Ok then why should a pro sweat the small edges?
    To make money, which is a pros goal. A rec probably also wants to make money but they are also just there to have fun. If they really don't live taking the small edges I think it is totally reasonable to give up some money for enjoyment
  • PBJTIME Posts: 338Subscriber
    I thought the "fun" for rec players was gambling and not nitting it up.
  • stayinschool Posts: 2,969Subscriber
    PBJTIME said:
    I thought the "fun" for rec players was gambling and not nitting it up.
    IDK everyone is different. I mean if I was a rec player I would definitely be on the gamble side
    by 1PBJTIME
  • BananaStandBananaStand Posts: 1,455Troll
    I've gotta run out the door right now so I'll elaborate later, but if you're a rec player, then having a bankroll set aside just for poker is a mistake. Having that much cash, liquid, is probably -EV.

    A more realistic approach for a recreational player means you are playing with bankrolls and limits for each session. I believe that requires a slightly different approach than "one long session" as the pros use.

    Let's say you're a winning player making X hourly. It's an hour before you plan to leave and you are in a thin spot for all of your money. If the +EV of that call is less than your average hourly rate, you should fold.

    A rec player is more likely to be in a "if I lose, I'm going home" kinda spot, whereas a professional player should have access to a larger bankroll and is more able to make playing a priority over the other stuff in his life.
  • Rocketman74Rocketman74 Posts: 451Subscriber
    edited July 2016
    Grinding small edges is what makes you a pro. Flipping in neutral EV or even slightly negative EV spots (especially with fish) is what makes you a pro. If you aren't willing to get in in with AK pre or P+FD type hands post, how the hell do you expect to get paid when you have the nuts or aces or kings preflop? If you play PLO all you have are small edges. What makes the game profitable is that you keep pounding these small edges over and over and over again.

    BTW: This is what works for me and IMHO is the correct way to look at things BUT it's not for everyone (sorry if I came off a little preachy.)
  • MikeG Posts: 989Subscriber
    I'm happy to take $5 EV per hand ... But you're creating an example (to make a point, I get it) where we're talking about half a percent of equity, where the OP's example is anywhere from +20% to +8%. He's not talking about $5.
    But, I'll go even further. In most instances, I'm happy to take a +$0 flip. It tends to be good for image, good for the table, good at adding more money to the table, etc.

    The only somewhat compelling reason outside of bankroll considerations is mental health game (although, I'd argue that they go together. If losing a 60/40 flip for your stack is enough to make you lose it, then you're probably playing too high). However, if we're passing up spots where we have +$50 in equity because our mental health game is so weak, maybe we need to do something to fix that. I'll tell you this, though: Nobody is good enough to pass up spots that are that big.
  • ACK Posts: 428Subscriber
    Playing under-rolled is a leak.

    You should be able to lose ten 55%ers in a row and be happy.

    Casinos love the 51%.
  • ACK Posts: 428Subscriber
    edited July 2016
    Also, PLO is exactly this. Small edges add up.
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