Monday, September 25, 2006


This is, I believe, the sixth time this has happened:

Texas Hold'em $1-$2 (real money), hand #1,048,687,004 [PokerRoom.com]
Table Chicago, 25 Sep 2006 09:49 AM

Seat 6: LordGeznikor [Q♣,A♣] ($35 in chips)
Seat 8: [Villian] ($97.80 in chips)

[SB] posts blind ($0.50), [BB] posts blind ($1).

[UTG] folds, [EP1] folds, [EP2] folds, [MP1] folds, LordGeznikor bets $2, [LP1] folds, [Villian] bets $3, [Button] folds, [SB] folds, [BB] folds, LordGeznikor calls $1.

FLOP [board cards 10♣,3♠,K♠ ]
LordGeznikor checks, [Villian] bets $1, LordGeznikor calls $1.

TURN [board cards 10♣,3♠,K♠,J♣ ]
LordGeznikor checks, [Villian] bets $2, LordGeznikor bets $4, [Villian] bets $4, LordGeznikor bets $4, [Villian] calls $2.
[That's worded funny, but it's capped headsup.]

RIVER [board cards 10♣,3♠,K♠,J♣,K♣ ]
LordGeznikor bets $2, [Villian] bets $4, LordGeznikor calls $2.

[Villian] shows [ J♠,J ]
LordGeznikor shows [ Q♣,A♣ ]
LordGeznikor wins $32.50.

Pot: $33.50, (including rake: $1)
LordGeznikor, bets $16, collects $32.50, net $16.50
[Villian], loses $16

Looking at this hand history, I made a couple of mistakes. The obvious one is on the river: I didn't see the royal; I just figured that Villian's likely full house beat my flush. So I didn't reraise. But I wonder if I played correctly pre-flop and on the flop. Preflop, it's arguable to cap or not to cap, but I think on balance "not" is the correct decision. But on the flop, I think my check-call was probably the worst of all my options.

At first glance, I missed the flop. On a second look, though, I flopped a gutshot, backdoor nut clubs, and an overcard. If I'm not currently best (which seems likely), I have the equivalent of six or seven outs, depending on how live we consider my Ace. That, combined with fold equity, puts betting or check-raising into play.

If I'm beat, it would seem that betting costs me less money. If I'm badly beat, the bet sequence would likeliest go bet-raise-call, bet-fold (assuming a poor turn card for me) for two small bets lost. If I'm simply behind (as I actually am), the sequence would probably go bet-call, bet-call, check-check, for three small bets lost. On the other hand, if I check-raise, then if I'm badly beat the sequence would probably go check-bet-raise-raise-call, check-bet-fold, for three small bets lost. If I'm simply behind, I pick up a bit due to fold equity if he puts me on a King, which he probably should. The sequence then would probably be check-bet-raise-call, bet-fold, which wins me two bets. All of this, of course, assumes a blank on the turn. As it happened, though, the turn was anything but a blank, which actually makes this assessment hard to write.

That assessment leads me to believe that I should have check-raised the flop. If I'm ahead all along (which can only legitimately mean AJ), check-raising wins me an extra small bet, which adds to my assessment. If I'm badly beaten, check-raising costs me an extra bet, but it has the possibility of winning some pots for me when I'm not as far behind (to QQ, JJ, or a lesser pair he decided to get frisky with), and if I'm ahead anyway it wins me an extra bet. I conclude that check-raising is the superior play.

(If it isn't obvious, I'm working through problems like this as I write them. This makes you witness to my thought process, and the brighter souls among you might even see a point where my thought process seriously slips some gears: eg, that I might be considering the wrong thing(s). If so, educate me.)

And About That PokerRoom Place . . .

I'm on PokerRoom right now chasing a 40% (to $200) initial deposit bonus that's fairly easy to work off; I've had a fake-money account here forever but I've never deposited. (There are a couple of other sites like that, too.) In any case, this gives me a lot more of an insight into the strengths and weaknesses of the software than I remember from playing around with it in fake-money mode however long ago that was.

If you turn the avatars off, the overall look of the table is fairly clean; you don't have much chance of being misled by spurious graphics. The four-color deck, too, is fairly easy to read (and fairly difficult to misread), although there's another deck setting I didn't play with (the four-color deck they refer to as the "large" deck). The lobby screen is adequate, although for many of the more specialized functions they take you out of the client and into a Web page. Although I can see an argument for doing things this way, on balance I prefer those functions to be within the client.

My single biggest beef with PokerRoom is this, and the problem is so severe that until it's fixed, PokerRoom has zero chance of becoming my "regular" poker site. The software takes up way, way too many system resources. I'm not quite geeky enough to say that it takes up X% of processor time and Y MB of RAM, but I can tell you that, unlike every other poker site I've played with recently, the software slows my whole damned system down. Even typing this blog entry whilst two-tabling, on occasion I've been typing as far as four or five words ahead of where the computer had to catch up with me, and typing a blog entry is hardly processor-intensive.

I've had this problem with other sites that I can't name (but only because I can't remember) if I keep animations on while the cards are being dealt. But only PokerRoom slows the system down, so much, during the entire poker process. And I can't find where to turn off animations at PokerRoom, so I can't even test if it's the animations that are doing it.

If it weren't for that big caveat, I'd give PokerRoom at least a 7 out of 10, but that one major problem knocks my ultimate number down to a 3. If I don't have a bonus to work off, at this point, you'll find me at Party or Stars.

  Friday, September 22, 2006

Other Things I Do Sometimes: Star Trek

I admit it: I'm a Trekker. I immensely enjoyed The Next Generation, I liked Deep Space Nine, Voyager had its moments, and there were even some episodes of Enterprise that I liked. When I started looking back on the episodes of the original series, I found that some of those were excellent, as well.

One thing that Star Trek fans have in common, is that we come up with our own stories. Usually all that means is, when we find ourselves with fellow fans, we tell each other, "It would be a really cool episode if …"

I've done that too, but in this post I think more grandly: I'm creating my own Star Trek series. My caveat is that I wouldn't put the current crop of folks in charge of the series; I agree with what seems to be general Net sentiment that the current folks are the ones that have driven Star Trek to the point where even its fans have said, "Maybe it's time to take a break."

I have two series ideas, which I've had for some time. When someone encouraged me to "send it in" to Paramount, I scoffed: As if Paramount is really going to listen to some yo-yo from Michigan as to what their next series should be. Nonetheless, I think both of these, particularly the first, are actually good ideas, and so I decided to write them up for three reasons. First, if I ever do "send them in" to Paramount, writing them up would be a first step. Second, it puts my ideas "out there" so that maybe I don't have to even send them in; maybe someone will bring them to Paramount's attention for me. And third, it gives me priority (in the sense they mean in science and, presumably, copyright law) in case these ideas are ever used: This article is dated.

I've turned comments on for this entry so you can tell me how brilliant I am, ermm, I mean, so that fellow Trekkers can critique my ideas.

The Worlds of Star Trek

The concept here is very simple, and so this will probably be the shorter of the two write-ups.

The idea is this: An anthology series, with no continuing cast, set all over the Star Trek universe, and mostly fan-written.

The setting (or lack of a setting) would let the series tell stories that could never be told in the context of a "standard" series. You could put a Federation ship in a hopeless situation and actually see them lose. You could do an episode on a Klingon ship, showing how the Klingons would handle the sort of "subspace anomaly" that the Enterprise is always running into. Handled correctly, you could do an episode where the Federation are the bad guys.

You could also fill in some of the blanks in the history of the Star Trek universe. Actual history from the 1960s to the 2000s has progressed quite differently from how it was presented in the original Star Trek. You could explain why. Why did Worf's son age from infancy to nearly twenty, in less than ten years? Whatever happened to the clone of Kahless, who was to become the figurehead emperor of the Klingons? How does the Federation come to patrol Time as well as Space, as several episodes allude happens sometime in Star Trek's future? Whatever happened to the mobster planet that Kirk went to, or any of the other zillion planets where the coming of the Enterprise (or Voyager, or Defiant, or whatever) was world-changing? There are enough of these minor mysteries in Star Trek's history to keep a series going for years, even without any episodes along the lines of my above paragraph.

The lack of a continuing cast would also make it very difficult to tell the type of stories that the fans have always hated. I refer to it as "a very special X episode," where X is one of the characters who has a difficult decision to make, or learns to cope with something, or finds out she's stronger than she thinks. That's the sort of crap that makes me uninterested in literary fiction, and I don't want to see it in my science fiction, either. If I wanted that crap, I'd watch the Lifetime channel.

However, there is a type of story in this vein which the fans will want to see, and will probably be sending in a bunch of them: Young-Kirk and young-Picard stories. In fact, the series might even put actors on retainer for those two roles, because they'll probably be playing young Kirk, Picard, Spock, and others, at least once a year. And, to the extent that the cast is available, we might see episodes about existing characters in their proper timeframe. (I was disappointed with the concept of Wesley-Crusher-as-demigod, but now that it's been a few years, I'd like to know how he's getting on.)

Although the cast would be pretty cheap, special effects might actually be more expensive than a "typical" Trek series, because there would be so few "very special episodes" with low FX budgets. And, there's no way around it, the series would spend a lot on sets. Ways to cheat this have been suggested to me, but, for example, every class of Federation ship seems to have a wildly different bridge configuration, and even different ships in the same class are usually slightly different. And even an episode that didn't take place on a ship would need planetary sets, and it'd be harder to redress what you used for the last episode, with those.

It's considered settled that whatever airs is canonical, meaning it "really" happened within the Star Trek universe. Stories that appear in books, or magazines, or on audiotape, and even the 1970s Star Trek cartoon series, are not considered canonical: They "didn't happen." (If I could, I would pick and choose among those stories and add them to the canon, because some of those are (a) great stories and (b) don't conflict with existing canon. But that's neither here nor there.) A series which ranges widely in time and space within the Star Trek universe, will need to pay a lot of attention to canon. First, it will have to ensure that its episodes don't conflict with existing canon. Second, its own canon will have to be wedged into the appropriate spaces within the existing canon. Because of this, I recommend that Michael Okuda (who wrote this book and others along the same lines) be retained as "continuity producer" for the show, as "Defender of the Canon."

A side benefit of "The Worlds of Star Trek" is that a story might show so much promise that some time after it airs, Paramount decides to base a new series around it. You might thus look at the series as twenty-six pilot episodes a year for potential new series.

Along the same lines, there should be nothing preventing characters or settings from recurring; if Captain MacGillicuddy turns out to be an interesting character, and another script comes in that has him doing something else that's interesting, then by all means, make another episode with Captain MacGillicuddy. But I'd recommend against going to the same well too often; more than two or three Captain MacGillicuddy episodes a year would be too much.

If this actually were to happen, I'd like to be the "created by" in the credits, and I'd like to be on the writing staff with a made-up producer's title: Something like "contributing producer." I actually figure most of the writing staff's job is to read through submitted scripts and polish the good ones, but there's nothing that says they won't have good ideas, too.

Star Trek: Enterprise

Yes, I know the title is taken. But this is the name I gave my series when I first came up with the idea, before anyone had heard of Captain Archer. I'm sticking with the title, although if this were ever to air, obviously it'd need a new title.

Another fifty years have passed, beyond the "Next Generation" era that includes Deep Space Nine and Voyager. The chief new invention that we see in that time is what I call "Warp 13" technology, because in several "future" episodes of TNG and DS9, the future ships could move at Warp 13. (Warp 10 is set forth in TNG as the theoretical and unreachable maximum, being essentially infinite speed. So, obviously there's been an upgrade in technology that puts Warp 13 on the new scale.)

We recast all of the races we know as existing within one spiral arm of the galaxy, which is why the stars are so reachable even at "only" several times the speed of light. However, for the first time, Warp 13 technology makes the neighboring spiral arms reachable in a reasonable amount of time. We find that they're occupied by, respectively, the Snerg and the Blerg, which are two names I made up that can be improved on vastly. One of the races is technologically ahead of the races we're familiar with, and the other is tactically ahead. (By the latter, I mainly mean that their combat tactics are difficult for the Alpha Quadrant races to, well, combat; I imagine a whole bunch of little ships fighting the Alpha Quadrant's big ships, and being like a swarm of stinging insects, metaphorically.)

Against these threats, the races we're familiar with form a new Alliance, into which the Federation, the Klingons, the Romulans, the Cardassians, and so on, subsume themselves. In the pilot, Spock, now ancient, is on hand for the symbolic re-unification of Vulcan and Romulus, although on terms other than those he would have chosen. Of course, he dies in the pilot episode.

Part of the Federation's contribution to the new Alliance is its flagship, the new U.S.S. Enterprise. The new Enterprise, NCC-1701-H, looks very different from earlier Enterprises, in that it has two saucer sections, one above and one below the warp section. These detach for battle, in an attempt to increase the tactical usefulness of the ship(s). The saucer sections (NCC-1701-Hα and NCC-1701-Hβ) are capable of impulse power, but need the warp section for interstellar travel. (Sometime during the series, one of the saucers is destroyed in combat, and replaced by the NCC-1701-Hγ.) The main bridge is in the warp section, under the Captain's command, while the saucers are commanded by the first and second officers (both of Commander rank). The Captain maintains command of the overall "fleet."

Although the roles of characters on the new Enterprise are familiar to us, their racial makeup would look odd to us from the perspective of someone who has watched previous shows, being a mix of former enemies of the Federation. The Captain, for the first time on a Star Trek show, is nonhuman. (He might be Romulan or Cardassian, but I tend to favor an Andorian; it should be a Federation race.)

Although this is a "traditional" Trek show, its tone should be darker. During the first season the Alliance should be moving closer and closer to a war it is convinced it will lose. When hostilities begin in the first season's finale, it should be clear that the Alliance is seriously up against the wall. The Alliance should be on the defensive for much of the second and third seasons, although by the end of the third season they're able to at least fight to a draw. Only in the fifth season does the tide begin to turn in the Alliance's favor, and then in the seventh season we can explore the Alliance's role as conquerors.

Throughout, we have arc shows that fill in the above, and one-shot shows that are more like the Trek shows we've seen—"subspace anomalies" and the usual. In my mind they break about 50/50 most of the time. However, it is important that the one-shot shows not be seen as frivolous; we should never wonder, "Why are they wasting their time with this, with a war on?"

One part of the darker tone of my Star Trek: Enterprise is that the various races aboard the new Enterprise don't always work together well, and probably some don't even like each other. Thus, we are free to explore conflict between the characters on our Enterprise as we were never able to before now. From a production standpoint, these episodes might save on our FX budget, but from a fan's standpoint, these might also be the episodes that they like the least.

If this series were really to happen, I'd want "created by" credit, but I'd be less interested in being part of the writing staff—although I would still like to hang out in Star Trek-land, and maybe I'd want to join the writing staff after all.


Oddly, mere days after complaining that I can't beat $1/$2 to save my life, it's not only become my regular game, but I'm beating it about as hard as I was beating 50¢/$1. 2900 hands in at PokerStars, I'm beating $1/$2 for over 4 BB/c. At the time of my complaint, I was working off a bonus at Royal Vegas Poker (a Prima site), so I conclude that the game quality is a lot tougher at Prima. Other explanations are available, but that's the easiest conclusion to draw, so that's the one I draw. Occam's Razor.

I've played a little $2/$4 as well at Stars, and made money, but it's been much more of a struggle than $1/$2 is. I just loaded my $2/$4 sessions into PokerTracker, and it shows 500 hands and a 1.75 BB/c win rate. If both of these numbers were to hold up over the long term, it would mean that $1/$2 is actually more profitable for me, despite being half the stakes. But that wouldn't be the whole story; if I was beating $3/$6 or even $5/$10 at anywhere close to the same rate, it would be far more profitable for me to play there.

This all assumes that the numbers I have pulled out of PokerTracker have some measure of validity. Neither set of numbers even approaches statistical validity. (It sounds good when I say it that way, but all I mean is, "I need a lot more hands in to rely on those numbers." I dropped out of Statistics 221 in college before we learned how to figure statistical validity, and even if I hadn't, I probably wouldn't remember how this many years later anyway.)

This is mainly a quick update; I have a longer post I want to write but it's far off-topic, so I'll break it out into another post. And, in any case, I did want to do a quick update.

  Sunday, September 17, 2006

Moving Backward

Looking at some of the blogs I last read with any regularity, over a year ago, I'm struck with one thing:

Everyone's moved beyond me.

People that were at 50¢/$1 at the same time I was, three years ago or so, are now playing $10/$20, $15/$30, or higher, and beating those games. I topped out at $3/$6 as my regular game, with occasional—usually disastrous—forays higher. And now I can't even beat online $3/$6.

I'm mystified by much of this. I think I understand the game a lot better than I did a couple of years ago, when I was earning an adequate but not stellar living from the game. I think that I have to conclude that everyone else is improving faster than I have/did.

In some sense this is a rehash of the lament that drove me off the rails in the first place. Then, I thought, with some justification, that the natural progression was from (online) $3/$6 to (online) $15/$30, but I never got far enough ahead that making that step was wise. My frustration with that led me to do it anyway, with well-documented results. Heck, it's possible I was even +EV at $15/$30 (then), but the first downswing—which occurred almost immediately—busted me.

In another sense, this is overall frustration. I'm stuck, online, at 50¢/$1, and even $1/$2 is just out of my reach. At least, I more often feel out-played, at $1/$2: Those blind-vs-blind confrontations I talked about a couple of posts ago. And, despite my adoption of a plan to get my bankroll to where I want/need it to be, the weakest point of the plan is still how to get my game to where it needs to be. (The few hands PokerTracker has for $1/$2 since I got back—500 hands or so—actually show me as slightly positive in my $1/$2 play. But it doesn't seem that way.)

All this is doubly frustrating because I think I'm a huge favorite in the $3/$6 game at the "local" casino. Not that I'm guaranteed a win; I think even a long-term winning player probably wins only about 60% of his individual sessions. On the one hand, I should probably be spending more time there; on the other hand, I have at least two obstacles keeping me from doing so, one of which should be obvious. But that's not even the point; the point is, why should I be a favorite in one game, and feel as if I'm often outplayed in what is purportedly a smaller game?

Thoughts on the Online Game

The disconnect between online and live play is vast, for no readily discernible reason. The 50¢/$1 tables I've been playing are tougher than the $3/$6 tables I commonly play live. In fact, if I was at the casino and the game was like any of the tables I play online, I'd find a different table. A $3/$6 or $5/$10 game online is perhaps equivalent to a $10/$20 or $20/$40 game live, as far as skill levels. It seems to me that this disconnect is a Bad Thing, but I'm not able to really express why. It serves, in my mind, to further separate the online and live games into Two Different Things, which also seems to be bad. But, having said all of that, I'm not sure what to do about it. The obvious "solution," dropping all of the games below $2/$4 or $3/$6, would seem to annoy a lot of people, and the market is such that the microlimit players would always have somewhere to go. Ahh well, I'll think about this some other time.

  Saturday, September 16, 2006

Things Continue

Hrmm, "things continue." It seems like there's something pretty Zen in that headline.

Anyway, it's been a little while since I've updated, and the bonus-whoring plan seems to be going well. It's slowed down, some, since I've added poker bonus whoring back into the mix, because it takes forever to earn out the appropriate number of raked hands at the low stakes I play ($1/$2 in a pinch, but usually 50¢/$1). Still, my bankroll is increasing, and for the first time in a while when I write out my entire life savings, it includes a comma.

Cheater Cheater Cheater!

One of the casinos I attempted to play a bonus at, turned out to not want to give me the bonus after all. "Casino Euro" advertised some bonus, I read the terms and conditions, and I deposited. My bonus didn't appear, so I sent them an Email. They told me that the bonus wouldn't apply for players from the United States "per a manager's decision." I withdrew, and they didn't give me a hassle about the withdrawal, except that I'd lost $13.86 due to currency exchange (twice). If I'd truly misread the terms and conditions, I'd be upset but go on with my life, but instead I truly believe that they added the US to their no-bonus list after I deposited.

Most casino sites keep a list of countries that either don't get the bonus, or have much higher playthrough requirements, and that list usually includes Denmark and most of Eastern Europe. The US is never included because, while we do have our shares of bonus whores, there are far more people here with more money than sense who choose to really gamble online.

I recommend therefore staying away from Casino Euro, although its sister site Cherry Casino is fine for US players.

Blind Play

After mentioning my horrible blind play, PokerDogg found a blog which recently touched on the topic, saying in essence that if you choose to defend against a possible steal, usually three-bet preflop and bet any flop, but mix in a call preflop and then a check-raise on any flop. You can read his entry on the topic for his reasoning, but I find it sound. It won't fix all of my blind-play problems, but it's one piece of the puzzle.

I have to say as well that I'm really digging his blog overall. PokerDogg's mention of it is the first time it's been on my radar at all, but what I like about it is his repeated discussion of how much a "straight" job isn't for him. I'm not poetic enough to talk about "dying a little inside" every day I report to a straight job, but I sure know how he feels. He's kept a sustained winrate that's truly enviable, too.

In Iggyesque terms, does that count as blog pimpage?

  Saturday, September 09, 2006


I've started doing some bonus whoring, and thus far it's been reasonably successful. Not as successful as it should be, mathematically, but I've still cleared about $450 in the last three days. At someone's suggestion, I've done a good chunk of it at casino sites, playing straight-up "Basic Strategy" blackjack. They tend to have obscene play-through requirements—as high as twenty-five times the total of the deposit plus the bonus—but even so, perfect Basic blackjack play is +EV.

I've come to exactly two conclusions about blackjack, since my entire casino blackjack play is less than $50 worth. First, blackjack is boring. I suppose playing hunches and the like could make it exciting, but since Basic Strategy is demonstrably the best way to play, that's the way I play. Second, I've come to believe based on my experience, that playing more than one hand at once against the dealer actually reduces one's EV. Initially I assumed it merely increased volume, and then I was told it also increases variance. But my experience the last couple of days leads me to believe that it reduces one's EV. The argument isn't this simple, but an example is that if you are dealt blackjack, you win one hand, where if the dealer is dealt blackjack, he wins three (or whatever) hands. I'm sure math exists on this topic, but I'm not privy to it; feel free to clue me in.

And Poker . . .

I've only just started working off some of the poker bonuses out there. Because I'm trying to accumulate rake to work off points at various sites, I've been playing a bit higher than normal of late, and determined one thing:

My blind play sucks.

No other part of the game makes me more likely to feel like I've been outplayed than headsup, blind-vs-blind or on a steal attempt (mine or the other guy's). Whenever I fold I'm sure I was bluffed off the best hand, and whenever I call down the other guy has something nice. If I tighten up in the blinds, the people to my right start stealing every go-round. If I loosen up, I lose even more money.

The thing is, I'm not really sure what to do about this. The literature doesn't seem to cover blind play well enough, at least not what I've read. Trying to learn from experience is costing me big. I'd appreciate some direction in this matter.

(Before someone asks how I got to this point in my poker "career" with such a large part of my game in shambles, I'll just answer that mostly I don't play in games where it comes up much. Since I went to Vegas I haven't played online, and live I've been playing $2/$4 to $4/$8 where enough people take every flop that steals, and their defense, isn't an issue.)

  Sunday, September 03, 2006

Identifying a Leak, Two Years Later

A conversation with PokerDogg led me to look at the PokerTracker stats I incorporated into a couple of posts. Afterward, I looked at this one, from March 2004. There weren't even 10,000 hands in the database at that time, but when I look at the data, one line jumps out at me:

Since my VP$IP% (percentage of the hands I voluntarily put money into the pot) at this time was only 19.13%, I must assume that a check from the big blind counts as a "call" by this reckoning, but still: I was limping in nearly twice as much as I was raising.

My game is different today. Even if my application of Miller is imperfect, I understand the concepts within it, where my game then was simply rockish, and even then imperfectly so. (I gave no thought, then, to the fact that I'm quite likely dominated, preflop, if someone raises in early position and I find myself with AT or KQ.)

Even if my game is different, though, am I still calling too much before the river? The short answer is yes, in this sense: I'm willing to play a suited connector or a small pair in early position in most of the games I'm in. When I play $3/$6 live, this is often defensible; hands aren't often raised preflop, and when they are, six people take the flop anyway. But even at 50¢/$1 online, most hands are raised preflop, and even if not, not often do I get the volume I need to draw to my hand. I draw the conclusion that I need to adjust my game more when I play online.

I'm beating 50¢/$1 online at a pretty good clip, but it's a different game than $3/$6 live. Generally speaking, the online game is tougher. That said, I often don't do well in tougher games live, at least without catching cards. Gil suggests my game is predictable, but the example he gives makes that a good thing. If it's predictable in the sense that I'm playing my hands face-up against good players, though, that's a bad thing.

In learning the game, I become convinced that one particular play is "right" for a given situation. This makes it difficult for me to vary my play for the sake of variance. I need to develop, for tougher games, a way to vary my play, to make me less predictable. My results in these games tends to make me think I'm being read too well, for I win small pots and lose big ones. I even know, in theory, how to vary my game without giving up much edge: If a decision is close, sometimes do one thing and sometimes the other. The preflop four-bet with AK I talked about a couple of weeks ago is one example; the decision to four-bet or not is a close one. But taking this theory and putting it into practice is another thing, and unfortunately to hone that skill I'll need to sit in more tough games.

The 75% Rule

A week or so ago, I worked a problem using some mathematic estimates and determined that, on the river, when you have to act before your opponent, you need to be 75% sure you're best to bet. I haven't got a lot of feedback to that concept—it is at the end of a very long post—but since I wrote it, I've begun to wonder if I might have something new here: I haven't seen anything like that before in the literature I've read. I'm going to pull that out of the main post and put it into a separate one (dated the same day) in order that I might put it into the "Archive Highlights" section of my sidebar, but mostly I'm interested in feedback. Do I really have something here?