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View Full Version : I Need Help Dealing With Probability

Kellon
12-06-2004, 12:19 PM
While this question may be as or more appropriate in one of the other forums, I would appreciate any words of wisdom and experience this forum's experts in probability may have regarding its real-world application to poker.

After years of sporadic home-game play, I decided to start reading and improving my poker skills. I still only play a couple of times per week, mostly online, averaging maybe 200 hands per week. My problem is that as I have read and learned more about the various odds for and against me, I have become more passive after the flop. I'm getting much better at assessing the various odds (pot, implied, expected, etc.) but more and more I'm beginning to think "Whoa," even if the theory says "Go!"

My understanding at this point (maybe wrong) is that probability and odds are "assessed" over the long run. But I don't play 2000+ hands per week like some people do, which would seem to provide more opportunity for probability to take effect. I seem to be at a point where I don't call or raise as often as I should when the odds are heavily against me, even though the pot odds and other circumstances would suggest that it is correct to do so. It's true, is it not, that "over the long run" could mean that I lose a 10:1 shot 100 times before winning even once, and then lose it another 80 times?

How I can learn to deal with this? It certainly seems to be holding me back at this point. I realize that to some extent this may a matter of "gambler mentality," and that my basic personality may be such that I don't have a natural inclination to accept the risk, but I would like to deal with it in some reasoned fashion if you can give me some ideas.

Thanks.

Kellon

dansalmo
12-06-2004, 12:43 PM
[ QUOTE ]
I don't play 2000+ hands per week like some people do, which would seem to provide more opportunity for probability to take effect.

[/ QUOTE ]

Probability takes affect at every instant. As long as you are not taking disproportionate risk according to your bank roll size, you should take any action in which have a known advantage.

[ QUOTE ]
I seem to be at a point where I don't call or raise as often as I should when the odds are heavily against me, even though the pot odds and other circumstances would suggest that it is correct to do so.

[/ QUOTE ]

You should never raise on a draw based on pot odds, but it can be profitable to raise a draw if the odds you get from the additional calls are better than the odds againts you.

[ QUOTE ]
It's true, is it not, that "over the long run" could mean that I lose a 10:1 shot 100 times before winning even once, and then lose it another 80 times?

[/ QUOTE ]

This is possible but very unlikely. You have about a 63% chance of making your 10:1 shot in 11 tries. Over 100 tries, you almost certain to make it.

Sephus
12-06-2004, 12:43 PM
if worrying about losing is causing you to make incorrect plays when you know another play is better, move down in stakes and force yourself to make the play you think is right. winning there will give you confidence for when you move up, and help you build a poker bankroll that you are comfortable playing within.

Kellon
12-07-2004, 12:07 PM
Sorry for the bump, but I wanted to thank dansalmo and Sephus for their helpful replies.