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View Full Version : When opponent is getting "correct" odds to draw, why do you bet??

teddyFBI
08-15-2005, 04:58 AM
I've got a question I think must have a very simple answer, but I can't wrap my mind around it.

Imagine a very large pot between you and one remaining opponent in a limit hold'em game; let's say you're 100% sure he's on a flush draw (and you currently hold an overpair of aces), and because of the large pot size, he's getting the "correct" odds to call your turn bet.

Given that he's getting the "correct" odds to call, why is it that you want to bet anyway. One of Sklansky's theorums (i forget from which book) states that any time one opponent is "making" money, another one is "losing"...so given that he's getting the correct odds to call you're bet, why is it that it's still advantageous for you to bet (which it obviously is).

If this is a stupid question with an obvious answer, forgive me. It's 5am right now.

Luzion
08-15-2005, 05:17 AM
[ QUOTE ]
I've got a question I think must have a very simple answer, but I can't wrap my mind around it.

Imagine a very large pot between you and one remaining opponent in a limit hold'em game; let's say you're 100% sure he's on a flush draw (and you currently hold an overpair of aces), and because of the large pot size, he's getting the "correct" odds to call your turn bet.

Given that he's getting the "correct" odds to call, why is it that you want to bet anyway. One of Sklansky's theorums (i forget from which book) states that any time one opponent is "making" money, another one is "losing"...so given that he's getting the correct odds to call you're bet, why is it that it's still advantageous for you to bet (which it obviously is).

If this is a stupid question with an obvious answer, forgive me. It's 5am right now.

[/ QUOTE ]

Wha? Im honestly very surprised you would ask this question. Dont you play the NL1000 games?

Its really as simple as putting in as much money as possible when you hold the greatest edge. So you bet. And he calls because he also has "an edge" too; as in he has odds to call and is making money too.

You immediately benefit because you are so far ahead with top pair; any extra bets that go in is gravy. The guy chasing is very behind; however calling extra bets is justified because in the long run... winning the pot every now and then earns him a small profit... thus he calls. Both parties benefit.

08-15-2005, 06:54 AM
Well, look at it mathematically.

In this situation, you're about a 4-1 favorite. So your opponent would need pot odds of 4-1 to call, even if he knows he has no implied odds. If the pot is 400 dollars, and you bet 50 dollars into it, he's getting 8-1 odds, making a call correct. But also, if you bet the 50 and he calls, you've made your payoff on a win equal to 450, instead of 400. Since you'll win 80% of the time, then that works out to making \$50 80%, and losing \$50 20%, for an EV of +30. So you betting and your opponent calling means you are both making the right play.

itsmesteve
08-15-2005, 07:31 AM
Aside from what the previous posters have stated- you still have an edge and more equity in any money going into the pot- you also bet to prevent your opponenet from having infinite odds. Would you rather give him 10:1 to draw out, or let him do it for free?

AaronBrown
08-15-2005, 08:28 AM
You've got some excellent answers, I'll take a slightly different slant.

Skansky's theorem has to be taken in relation to what you get from straightforward play. You already own positive equity in the pot, whether you collect it plus a bonus or lose it depends on the river card, but you can't affect that.

The question is whether you can eke out additional equity. That can only come from a mistake by your opponent. Not necessarily a true mistake, he may be acting rationally from his point of view, but something he wouldn't do if he could see your cards.

You don't have much scope to do that here, unless he is a complete idiot. You could mutter, "Come on baby, one more heart and I make an Ace high flush!" and hope he folds even if he gets his flush. You could swear, "Another damn Jack high! I should switch to lowball!" and hope he bets even if he misses. Neither one is likely to work, nor are subtler ploys.

But never overlook the opportunity to induce a mistake. Even if it doesn't work, it can set up something for a later hand.

Dave G.
08-15-2005, 10:23 AM
[ QUOTE ]
Given that he's getting the "correct" odds to call, why is it that you want to bet anyway.

[/ QUOTE ]

You want to bet because it is +EV for you. You are gaining value on every additional bet that goes into the pot, because your hand will win the majority of the time (he will miss his flush the majority of the time). In other words, you have a pot equity edge.

The thing that's tricky about this is that, in this large pot, all his calls are also +EV. You are both playing perfectly if you bet and he calls. Note that him raising would reduce the EV of his play. Since calling maximises his EV, calling is correct for him.

The both of you are in a +EV situation heads up, even though you have the best of it. This is counter-intuitive at first. As Sklansky states, if someone is making money, someone else must be losing it. Well, the players who are losing money in this situation are all the other players that contributed to the pot and forfeited their share of it by folding.

All that dead money is how you can both be in a +EV situation. You gain additional profit by putting more money into the pot, and he gains profit by drawing to win it.

mosdef
08-15-2005, 10:42 AM
[ QUOTE ]
Well, the players who are losing money in this situation are all the other players that contributed to the pot and forfeited their share of it by folding.

[/ QUOTE ]

i don't think this is correct. what if the pot has been built up by only the two players involved? how does it make sense that they are now winning money from themselves, and thereby simultaneously winning and losing? it doesn't.

the fact is that the dead money leaves both players, at this stage of the hand, with +EV in the hand. if you bet, you move some of his +EV over to you, so he is losing some value even though he is still +EV to call. that's where the winner/loser breakdown comes in.

Matt R.
08-15-2005, 10:43 AM
[ QUOTE ]
One of Sklansky's theorums (i forget from which book) states that any time one opponent is "making" money, another one is "losing".

[/ QUOTE ]

In a theoretical (expectation) sense, which I think you're referring to here, both players in the pot can be making money due to the "dead" money already present -- i.e. the player that is behind doesn't have a negative expectation if he calls. So, in your hypothetical example, neither player is losing money by playing the way you describe -- it's just that the betting player is making *more* for each additional bet than the calling player.

I think your source of confusion is that there *must* be a winning player and a losing player in every pot -- there's not. There can be 2 players that have a positive expectation, it's just that the one that is more likely to win the hand at showdown is more positive.

OrangeKing
08-15-2005, 12:03 PM
Remember also that the player on the flush draw would rather that extra bet from each of you not go in the pot; he's losing money on that bet you're both putting in there. He just wants to stay in the hand because it's still profitable due to all the extra money already in the pot.

spaminator101
08-15-2005, 12:35 PM
he may have odds to call but hes not even money to call so your both making money at this point you bet because you expect to win and betting creates a better pot also you bet because betting reduces the odds that your opponent would be getting

spaminator101
08-15-2005, 12:40 PM
the money you have invested in the pot is no longer yours it doesnt matter what you had to put in to the pot

mosdef
08-15-2005, 01:00 PM
i know. what i am saying is that you CAN'T claim that the people left in the pot are both making money at the expense of the OTHER players, since they are not involved in the other hand. the point i was trying to make with my example was that there is situation where you can clearly see that the money isn't somehow coming from the other players. the player with the made hand can bet to suck some value away from the player on the draw, but if he bets and the drawer calls, they aren't collecting EV from the other players.

pzhon
08-15-2005, 02:30 PM
There are 3 possibilities:

A) Don't bet. EV ~ 8 BB
B) Bet/call. EV ~ 8.6 BB
C) Bet/fold. EV ~ 10 BB

For the EV estimates, I assumed the pot is 10 BB, that the flush hits precisely 1/5 of the time, and that neither player will pay off on the river.

The correct action is B.

Your choice is between (B or C) and A. (B or C) is better for you. You bet because you would be making an error if you don't bet. Your opponent would gain if you don't bet.

Once you bet, your opponent decides between B and C. The correct choice for him is to call, B. You would gain if your opponent makes a mistake and folds.

It is common for people to say that poker is a game of getting your opponents to make mistakes. However, you still have to avoid making your own mistakes. Failing to bet would be a serious error.

Dave G.
08-15-2005, 10:59 PM
[ QUOTE ]
i don't think this is correct. what if the pot has been built up by only the two players involved? how does it make sense that they are now winning money from themselves, and thereby simultaneously winning and losing? it doesn't.

[/ QUOTE ]

This doesn't matter. If that's really what has happened, then all of the flush draws actions were -EV to begin with. However, from this point, all his calls are +EV. The important point is that the total expectation of his play is still negative.

So in this case, he's not winning money at all, but calling increases his expectation due to the money in the pot nonetheless. It makes his play less -EV, but it's still a losing play.

08-15-2005, 11:48 PM
Given the situation you describe, both players are making money in this situation.

The difference in EV you are looking for as a zero-sum situation arises earlier in the hand.

Clearly, the person on a flush draw made a mistake by even entering the pot when someone else had AA, assuming it was heads-up pre-flop. If it were a multi-way pot, the "dead money" that makes this situation +EV for both players may have come from someone who isn't contesting the pot anymore.

That's the funny thing about Holdem. Since the hand values tend to run fairly close in value EV-wise (with a few obvious exceptions), this type of situation comes up rather frequently in multi-way pots that become heads-up.

It's not an obvious answer, and one that I struggled with for quite awhile. The book you are trying to remember is "Theory of Poker. The theory you quote is "The Fundamental Theorem of Poker".

Lastly, you bet because it's got a higher EV than not betting. Plain and simple. You win a bigger pot when your opponent misses the flush.

teddyFBI
08-16-2005, 01:03 AM
Well thanks for the replies; given the somewhat back and forth discussion, it at least reassures me that this wasn't a completely donktastic question, even if the theory behind it is rather straightforward.

Ironically, i have a probability degree from a top university, and simple problems like this still give me headaches.

jason_t
08-16-2005, 03:48 AM
The replies in this thread are pretty frustrating since no one has correctly explained the fallacy in

[ QUOTE ]
One of Sklansky's theorums (i forget from which book) states that any time one opponent is "making" money, another one is "losing"...so given that he's getting the correct odds to call you're bet, why is it that it's still advantageous for you to bet (which it obviously is).

[/ QUOTE ]

The key is that the sum of the EVs must be zero; this doesn't mean that both players are losing money.

Say villain holds a draw will come in 20% of the time. If I bet and he calls then my EV is

.8 (1) - .2 (1) = .6

and for him it's

.2 (1) - .8 (1) = -.6.

Hence the sum of the EVs is zero.

Hence, if I am Hero, I am gaining money on my bet.

Now let's take this a little further and suppose the pot is 10 bets.

Then Hero's EV is

.8 (11) - .2 (1) = 8.6

and for villain it's

.2 (11) - .8 (1) = 1.4.

The sum of these EVs is 10. Who is losing 10 here? The pot!

I hope that clears things up.

BritNewbie
08-17-2005, 06:02 PM
[ QUOTE ]
donktastic

[/ QUOTE ]

I love that word.
If not, I'm going to start using it a lot. (In reference to my own play, especially, the way things have been going lately.)

PairTheBoard
08-18-2005, 07:52 AM
You make money when you get your opponent to make a mistake. While he is not making a mistake to call your bet, he is Even More not making a mistake when he calls your Check. Calling your bet is closer to being a mistake than calling your Check.

Put another way, your opponent makes money from you when you make a mistake. Not betting is your mistake.

PairTheBoard

mockingbird
08-18-2005, 11:21 AM
I agree

When you bet you are increasing your EV, so not betting is a mistake. When your opponent calls, his EV desreases but is still positive so his not calling is a mistake.

Say a \$400 pot and \$50 bet. You win 80% of time.

No Bet:

your EV is 4 X 400/5 = 320
his EV is 1 X 400/5 = 80

A bet and call:

your EV is 4 X 450 - 50/5 = 350
his EV is 1 X 450/5 - 4 X 40/5 = 50

So a bet and a call is still EV for both players. And, just as DS says, the additional money you win means your opponent wins less, although still wins.