View Full Version : Quote from Abdul - Who agrees?

05-05-2002, 05:17 PM
Abdul wrote something very interesting in a post of his on the Medum Stakes Forum:

"There is a strong negative correlation between public perception of poker skill and actual poker skill"

In my limited experience, this is absolutely true. The mediocre players in my regular games have confided in me how good some of the other mediocre players play and how poorly some of the winning players play. I am constantly amazed by this.

D. Andrew thinks it goes back to a quote by Mason in the intoduction of one of the 2+2 books (Feeny's?). In that into he says something like "The info here will help you hold your own against other experts and will allow you to devastate and confuse your weaker opponents"

It would appear to me that the use of the word "confuse" is absolutely correct.

Anyone else notice this phenomenon at the poker table? I think that Abdul has hit on something here.

05-05-2002, 06:06 PM
yes i agree....

some players win a tourney or 2 and others are afraid of em in the ring. thats where i tend to find this. just because they win a tourney doesnt mean theyre any good in the ring. and many arent. i like the tourney guys in my games usually. yes, there are guys who can play well on both, but not many. it doesnt take too long to figure which is which usually. especially if its a no limit tourney guy. they tend to play too many hands. *in my experience* and try to limp too much.

i used to follow the no limit tourneys around a little and play in the side games. they were pretty good games usually. other guys are in nolimit mode, and partially on tilt from getting bumped out early. so theyre usually in no condition to play the ring. and theyre just trying to get their buy in back.

i think since the tourneys are more advertised and rewarded more publicly, thats usually the case. you dont usually hear about the great ring gamers. they dont get the write ups. ive found myself going thru our local gambling journal and looking at pics of some of the tourney winners. and find myself at times going "wow, HE won...hmm maybe i should play one.." haha

make no mistake, there are players who are good/great at both. ive played with a couple. but theyre not as common as many seem to think. ill play a little more cautiously against them at first, depending on their rep, til i see where they stand, and how good they are. it usually wont take long to see what your up against.

adjust accordingly...

some thoughts...


05-05-2002, 06:12 PM
I would have to agree with Abdul, although perhaps not to the extent of "strong negative correlation." (I don't refute his claim either though).

As an example, a fairly good playing regular in SD was "rating" players. He was having this discussion with another friend of mine, one of the few forumites in SD. When my friend asked the player to rate ME (Dave in Cali), the regular player only rated me a 6 on the scale of 1-10. This despite the fact that I have a clear winning record in this cardroom, and that there are really only a few players in the room that I believe are regular winners. I'm not saying I am the BEST player in the world, but clearly this player is mistaken as to the true extent to which I endeavor to play this game. I suspect this is because I play a very tricky game when playing against these fairly well playing regulars. It's necessary to make "image plays" when you constantly see the same faces so they can't get a good read on you. One of the biggest compliments I ever got was when a fairly good player told me "I just can't put you on a hand." Another reason this player might underestimate my skills is that I tend to emphasize those plays which distract my opponents from what I am really doing, especially those plays that make me look loose or weak or maniacal. The player doing the rating has NOT done his extensive homework (as I have) and therefore may lack the expertise to recognize some of the more sophisticated strategies (both play related and psychological) that I use in the cardroom.

Another example is a dealer I'll call "Billy." He once was rating a regular 8-16 player in a conversation with me. Billy is pretty clueless, having little discipline or real skill, and no natural talent so to speak. Billy was saying to me "so-and-so wins all the time, he must take a fortune out of this place. He wins at least 90% of the time and goes home with thousands of dollars every week." I can assure you that so-and-so does NOT win thousands a week, he more likely loses hundreds a week with his hyper-aggressive loose borderline maniac play. Still, he occasionally has very large wins, and these are probably what impress upon the otherwise weak mind of Billy.

Remember, the average joe is pretty much clueless when it comes to the realities and facts of gambling and poker. They are full of fallacies and illogical beliefs, and they don't want to change their minds. So let them think what they will, we all know the REAL Super-Geniuses are well known for being Super-Magoos.

Dave in Cali

05-05-2002, 06:21 PM
just thought of this...

i rarely enter tourneys..and at one place i used to play, everyone in the ring was going to the tourney. the tourney was $25 for 2000 chips, or $15 for 700. i was only gonna play to pass time til the ring game started again. so i bought for the $15. i spotted the whole field* about 21 players* almost 3-1. not a huge field. but ya shoulda seen the looks at my table at me as they took chips outta my stack before the start.

i noticed a couple guys with an air of arrogance about em. almost like they were looking down on the other players a little, thinking themselves far superior. especially to the shortbuy guy. who did i think i was? ...jerks...

i ended up winning the thing...came back and lapped the field. yes, i got lucky a couple hands. primarily winning with an all in with A high against 3 people...

the point? some of the jerks, all of a sudden, i could tell had more respect for me. just because i won. not because they saw me in a ring game, but because i entered a tourney once in a blue moon, got lucky on a couple hands, and pulled it out. had the all in gone the other way, im sure theyd have a different view.


05-05-2002, 06:24 PM

05-05-2002, 07:15 PM
The rating game is a cultural phenomenon. In Vegas, it's an obsession, so deeply ingrained that the participants have no idea how silly they can look to outsiders. Around here, it doesn't exist at all in the limit games, and it creeps into the no-limit gang sometimes. As a product of my environment, I think that rating players is twaddle.


05-05-2002, 07:43 PM

05-06-2002, 02:42 AM
" I think that rating players is twaddle. "

Did not H.L. Mencken make great use of "twaddle" to devastating effect. Something like - Theology is only so much twaddle.

When I read that last sentence something went pop in the old memory bank - just can't really place it.

Enjoyed the post. I always rate myself the best player at the table. I am required to this by my ego because no one else does. But then, this is only so much drivel.

-Zeno "The best poker player in Greenland"

05-06-2002, 05:35 AM

05-06-2002, 09:20 AM

05-06-2002, 11:29 AM
Yes, and one's perception is positively correlated with whether the player in question is winning or not. Babe just met Abdul on Saturday and spent some time chatting. All I can say is I love his "silky smooth" energy- beautiful. Babe

05-06-2002, 12:24 PM
So if Abdul is right, that public perception of skill is strongly negatively correlated with actual skill, then Ted Forrest, Chip Reese, Jen Harmon and Howard Lederer all stand good chances of being s00per live ones.

So do you agree with Abdul? Enough so to front me five big dimes or so in order that I can clean their clocks?

05-07-2002, 04:43 AM
On the other hand. I can't tell you how many people I have met who tell me:

"I've played with David and Mason and Roy Cooke. These guys aren't that good. Mason plays so straightforward, you always know where he is"

Heard it a million times.

So while there are obviously some top players who have a justified reputation as an elite player, I suspect that many aren't nearly as good as we are led to believe, and I also believe that many of the true elite aren't known to the general poker populace.

05-07-2002, 06:28 AM

i took a poll (we rate the best players around here weekly) anyway you have moved right in front of the ghost of johnny moss and still right behind ray zee as 2nd on the all time greatest list. just kidding, about part of it! i tend to agree with you but.... i am also just a product of my enviroment. LOL J.Brown

05-07-2002, 12:10 PM
most poker players are not good.

most are not qualified to judge who is a good player.

being hard to read does not equal good.

to many players believe that. i could make my decisions at random and be impossible to read, but i probably wouldnt win money.

05-08-2002, 05:20 AM
It might even be said that being "hard to read" is a negative! I need to make money by stealing the occasional pot. In order to do so, I want players to think I am absolutely predictable. I want them to "read" me easily and always know what to do against me. I want them to think I am extremely tight and am only in there betting/raising with the goods. Of course every game is different, but remember if a player is too confused, his natural inclination is to just call, and this reduces the command one has over his opponents in a sense. Of course, it is great to get called out of confusion when one is making hands, but when one is not getting run over with the deck, it is better to have players believe that they have you figured out as a tight player, as it often allows you to steal.

I experiment with both styles and find that it is better for my opponents to think of me as a predictable rock than a tricky wild-man.

05-08-2002, 08:53 PM
"D. Andrew thinks it goes back to a quote by Mason in the intoduction of one of the 2+2 books (Feeny's?). In that into he says something like "The info here will help you hold your own against other experts and will allow you to devastate and confuse your weaker opponents"

It would appear to me that the use of the word "confuse" is absolutely correct."

not to brag or anything, but this is clearly one of the strongest parts of my A game.