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Old 11-28-2005, 07:06 AM
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Default What is the link between poker and backgammon/chess/bridge?

To be more specific, why do so many good backgammon/chess/bridge players also make good poker players? I can see the game theory element, but poker seems to be different in that bluffing is a key part of the game, especially in NLHE. Maybe bluffing really isn't that big a part of the game ... maybe its just 15% of the game??? I was a really good backgammon player a couple of years ago (and to be honest I don't even know the rules anymore [img]/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]) and I have transitioned into being a pretty decent poker player. The things I see in common are game theory concepts and thriving on competition. But on the face of it bluffing should make poker an almost entirely differnt game.

As I think about it this ties into my still unresolved thoughts on position. I use position well, which of course involves a lot of bluffing, but if my opponents know I am just "using" position not necessarily with a strong hand why do they respect it so much?

Apologize for the rambling thoughts. I look forward to hearing your comments.


Best,

Tex
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Old 11-28-2005, 07:53 AM
BluffTHIS! BluffTHIS! is offline
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Default Re: What is the link between poker and backgammon/chess/bridge?

Situational equity.
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Old 11-28-2005, 07:58 AM
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Default Re: What is the link between poker and backgammon/chess/bridge?

[ QUOTE ]
Situational equity.

[/ QUOTE ]

Sounds about right, but I've never heard this term before. Could you define it?
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Old 11-29-2005, 01:29 AM
BluffTHIS! BluffTHIS! is offline
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Default Re: What is the link between poker and backgammon/chess/bridge?

[ QUOTE ]
[ QUOTE ]
Situational equity.

[/ QUOTE ]

Sounds about right, but I've never heard this term before. Could you define it?

[/ QUOTE ]

I like the way Gus Hansen looks at it:

1) Made hand equity

2) Draw equity

3) Steal (fold/bluffing) equity

4) Stack equity (for tourneys where the question is does your stack size allow you to wait for a better hand)

When you evaluate your position regarding your hand versus a certain board with more cards to come, you evaluate the equity of your hand from the above perspectives to see whether it is strong enough to bet, to call, to raise, to perhaps just check/call, or whether it should be folded, depending on what hands you put your opponents on (the more players in a pot, the more mathematically correct you should just play). A lot of this depends on stack sizes in big bet games which is all I play.

Pot-limit omaha gives the best example of these things to my mind. You can have a weak made hand that is currently beating a draw, such as an overpair, but really is not strong enough to bet. And you can have draws that are so weak they should be folded or should just take a free card if given, and other draws that are strong enough to call even if you were sure you were up against a set. And there are rare draws so strong that they are favorites over a set and thus should raise even knowing you are currently behind. With most good but not great draws, you should just call, unless you put your opponent on a hand he could fold in which case raising can generate fold equity for your hand.

And whether you should call with a good but not great draw depends upon having the ability to make a full pot size bet if you hit (implied odds), which in the case of a small stack held by either player would not be so, nor in the case of drawing against a tight enough player who will not pay you off on the river, or even on the turn to fill when he is getting inadequate odds to do so. And in the case of multiway action, or even headsup, your draw equity could be a lot less than what you might think if you are up against another draw, particularly if you don't have a pair to go with it (but if you were against a set then you would rather have an additional drawing card rather than a pair).

pzhon's comments about the doubling cube in backgammon thus apply very well to big bet poker where you can be correct in calling even as a current dog. Of critical importance also is that you and your opponents have to not just consider the size of the current bet being faced, but that of future bets where the action is effectively being multiplied by the action on every street. And regarding chess, you should be able to analyze your position to see if you have a reasonable chance to win or draw against a capable opponent or whether you should just resign. Chess of course is different in that it is a game of perfect information and there is no doubling. With backgammon, even though it is a game of perfect information, the dice introduce a certain element of luck, which may or may not often be able to turn a currently unfavorable position into a winner with good playing ability.

With poker obviously, a lot depends on knowing your opponents and being able to read their range of hands well in order to be able to as accurately as possible assess the equities involved when there is an element of doubt from not knowing their holdings with certainty.
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Old 11-28-2005, 09:34 AM
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Default Re: What is the link between poker and backgammon/chess/bridge?

[ QUOTE ]
To be more specific, why do so many good backgammon/chess/bridge players also make good poker players?

[/ QUOTE ]
Do they? (outside of a couple of TV "names")

[ QUOTE ]
I can see the game theory element, but poker seems to be different in that bluffing is a key part of the game

[/ QUOTE ]
But of course .... how would one bluff when all the information needed for the correct decision is in plain view?

[ QUOTE ]
The things I see in common are game theory concepts

[/ QUOTE ]
Like what?
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  #6  
Old 11-29-2005, 05:32 PM
Skipbidder Skipbidder is offline
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Default Re: What is the link between poker and backgammon/chess/bridge?

[ QUOTE ]
[ QUOTE ]
To be more specific, why do so many good backgammon/chess/bridge players also make good poker players?

[/ QUOTE ]
Do they? (outside of a couple of TV "names")

[/ QUOTE ]

Probably at a higher rate than people who aren't good at those games. There are still those who play badly (and think that they are much better than they really are).

[ QUOTE ]
[ QUOTE ]
I can see the game theory element, but poker seems to be different in that bluffing is a key part of the game

[/ QUOTE ]
But of course .... how would one bluff when all the information needed for the correct decision is in plain view?

[/ QUOTE ]

That certainly isn't even close to the case in bridge. Bluffing in called a psychic during the bidding or a falsecard during the play. Psychics are less prevalent in US tournament bridge than they used to be because the governing body has taken steps against them (among the many foolish things they have done).

A similar concept between bridge and poker is putting people on a range of hands based on the prior action. You need to do this during the auction and you need to do it during the play.
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  #7  
Old 11-28-2005, 09:56 AM
Shandrax Shandrax is offline
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Default Re: What is the link between poker and backgammon/chess/bridge?

Backgammon and Poker are more closely related than Chess and Poker.

Chess is all about complete information and pure strategies. The only thing it may have in common is thinking a couple of moves ahead and what to do against "best" defense.

Backgammon on the other hand has mathematical analysis of random events and making decisions based on percentages, so it is very close to Poker. Knowing when to go all-in in Poker and knowing when to double in Backgammon is not that different.
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  #8  
Old 11-28-2005, 12:02 PM
Arnfinn Madsen Arnfinn Madsen is offline
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Default Re: What is the link between poker and backgammon/chess/bridge?

I know many former backgammon and bridge-players that have become very good poker players, but I don't know anyone from chess.

Backgammon certainly have the equity element, even if it lacks much psychology; while high-level bridge, according to one bridge pro I discussed it with is very similar to poker (they assign players on hand ranges, they do deceiptive plays or pure bluffs etc.).

Chess on the other hand tends to appeal to very intelligent, systematic people. I don't think intelligence is among the most important traits to become a good poker player.
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  #9  
Old 11-28-2005, 01:39 PM
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Default Re: What is the link between poker and backgammon/chess/bridge?

Ciaffone is an excellent Chess Player as well as a top poker pro and author
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  #10  
Old 11-28-2005, 05:05 PM
threeonefour threeonefour is offline
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Default Re: What is the link between poker and backgammon/chess/bridge?

[ QUOTE ]
Ciaffone is an excellent Chess Player as well as a top poker pro and author

[/ QUOTE ]

greg shahade (sp?) used to post on this forum a fair amount under his real name. from what i have heard he is a successful player in fairly high games. he is also an international master. maybe even a GM now.

Dan Harrington used to be an expert level chess player. he might have even been a USCF master.
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