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#1
08-05-2004, 09:27 AM
 pete fabrizio Senior Member Join Date: Jul 2004 Posts: 174
20%??

Sagah has suggested in multiple posts now that a PLO player would optimally play around 20% of hands. I find this hard to believe. Personally, I have been known to play upwards of 40-45% of hands when I'm a monster stack trying to run over the table, and I play around 35% on average. Now, I shouldn't be used as an example, since I DEFINITELY play "too many" hands, but what I've found is that there's not THAT much room to trim: Even when I've tried playing super-tight, I can't get my %age much below 30.

Could any of you tell me what that 10% range that I'm playing (even when I'm playing super-tight) that I shouldn't be playing actually is?

Sag, could you give me examples of some specific hands that you suspect I am playing unprofitably? (aside from 778J)
#2
08-05-2004, 10:07 AM
 sahaguje Junior Member Join Date: May 2003 Location: Paris France Posts: 10
Re: 20%??

Hi,

I usually play 20% of my hands in tough games online when I first sit. It would be different in live games, where I can buy in for more than 100 BB, giving me better implied odds, or when I doubled up so I have 200, or also when the game is passive and often unraised preflop.
I am not a big fan of maths, but let's give an intuitive shot. Let's say the game is ten handed, so 10% of the time I have the best hand preflop. If the pot is always played heads up between the best and the second best hand, and if all the players have the same level, then I should only play those 10% best hands, then I will be a favorite everytime I play. Now if the hand is played between the three best hands (30% of hands dealt), if I play my 15% best hands, I should maximize my EV. And if 40% of hands are played preflop (average in tough games), playing the 20% best should be optimum. But I dont know at all if it makes any sense...

Let me give another reason : most NLHE experts advocate playing 15-20 of your hands. I think this percentage is not very game-dependant, it should be an intuitive approximation of a mathematical rule from game theory, considering the optimum number of hands you should play when 10 players are dealt random hands that can roughly be classified. I cant explain why exaclty, but I am quite sure the optimum percentage of hands play dont depend on the game played, but on the structure, the stackes, and the looseness of the games. So I play as many hands in every game of similar structure, whether it is stud, HE, Omaha, Omaha 8 etc.

A last reason : I think a good player should always play less hands than the other players at the table. Once again, I am sure game theory could help me understand why, but I havent studied it. Usually, when a friend asks me how many hands he should play preflop, I advise him to play between 20 and 10% less than the oither players, depemding on his level. Since I want to minimize my swings, and I consider myself a poor PLO player, I want to play about 20% less hands than the other players in a tough PLO game.

Considering hand selection, it is very position and game dependant. I prefer playing only the best hands (if I play 20% statistically I play mostly first and second hands dealt), and play them for a raise if I have position. But if you give me precise examples of hands, I can telle you if I play them or not.

Sorry, this post is confused, and I use concepts I dont like (at PLO, tougher to classify hands as easily as at NLHE). But I think it is a very intersting question. If experts could give their answers...
#3
08-05-2004, 10:55 AM
 pete fabrizio Senior Member Join Date: Jul 2004 Posts: 174
Re: 20%??

This post was fraught with logical errors. In fact, your three main reasons for playing 20% of hands are all dead wrong

1.
[ QUOTE ]
I am not a big fan of maths, but let's give an intuitive shot. Let's say the game is ten handed, so 10% of the time I have the best hand preflop. If the pot is always played heads up between the best and the second best hand, and if all the players have the same level, then I should only play those 10% best hands, then I will be a favorite everytime I play. Now if the hand is played between the three best hands (30% of hands dealt), if I play my 15% best hands, I should maximize my EV. And if 40% of hands are played preflop (average in tough games), playing the 20% best should be optimum. But I dont know at all if it makes any sense...

[/ QUOTE ]

This little thought-experiment is deeply misguided. The notion that you can guarantee e.v. merely by cutting the “losing” 20% of hands is ridiculous. Imagine for one second that the table contains 10 clones of yourself, and you play perfectly. On average, you play 30% of hands. Do you think one of your clones could actually improve his E.V. by decided to play only 15% of hands? What hands would he be cutting? Well, by the stipulation that you play perfectly, he would be dumping only profitable situations. Thus, the clone who only played 15% of his hands would be the fish! He would be failing to extract equity when it exists! Suddenly everyone at the table would have a + E.V. except for him.

And just to make an obvious point, let’s say that clone actually could make money by playing half as many hands as you. What would the game-theoretical response to that be? Well, the other clones should start playing 7.5%, 3.75%, and so on, until all clones play 0 hands, and you can just go home.

Certainly you can make money in poker by playing fewer hands than your opponents, but not inherently, as you wrongly suggest. You make money by recognizing situations that aren’t profitable and avoiding them - the same situations that your opponents gladly enter.

2.
[ QUOTE ]
Let me give another reason : most NLHE experts advocate playing 15-20 of your hands. I think this percentage is not very game-dependant, it should be an intuitive approximation of a mathematical rule from game theory, considering the optimum number of hands you should play when 10 players are dealt random hands that can roughly be classified. I cant explain why exaclty, but I am quite sure the optimum percentage of hands play dont depend on the game played, but on the structure, the stackes, and the looseness of the games. So I play as many hands in every game of similar structure, whether it is stud, HE, Omaha, Omaha 8 etc.

[/ QUOTE ]

This is also just game-theoretically incorrect. The optimum percentage of hands played absolutely depends on the game you are playing -- specifically, it depends on the variance involved in that game, your likelihood of catching up after the flop, and the likelihood of an individual hand ending up the winner against the field. In hold-em, the optimal number of hands that you should play is fairly low because it is hard to “catch up” with the winning hand. The first limitation on how many PLO hands is optimal should be the instant recognition that it should be higher.

If you don’t see the relationship between variance and %age of hands played, imagine a game in which a hand could be no more than a 1% favorite against 80% of hands, but would be a 90% favorite against the other 20%. Blinds are \$10 and your stack is \$100. You are playing 3-handed and someone raises all-in UTG -- What %age of hands should you be calling with? Clearly you should call with all hands that are in the 80% category, and fold the other 20%. You would make money in this game from times when people call with the 20%, or times when people fold the 80%, or when someone tries to bluff you with the 20%, etc -- but you would be playing a LOT of hands in this game.

3.
[ QUOTE ]
A last reason : I think a good player should always play less hands than the other players at the table. Once again, I am sure game theory could help me understand why, but I havent studied it. Usually, when a friend asks me how many hands he should play preflop, I advise him to play between 20 and 10% less than the oither players, depemding on his level. Since I want to minimize my swings, and I consider myself a poor PLO player, I want to play about 20% less hands than the other players in a tough PLO game.

[/ QUOTE ]

I think it is generally the case that a good player will end up playing less hands than average at any table -- even I play a bit less than average. However, it by no means follows that they should “game theoretically.” If, god help me, I’m playing at a rock table where everyone is passing up profitable situations, I would be remiss to pass up even MORE profitable situations myself. In that case, I should definitely be playing MORE hands than everyone else. You should only be playing 10% less than the other players if, by your estimation, the other players are playing 10% too many hands. Again, your fundamental error here is that you seem to think that throwing away perfectly good hands somehow gives you an inherent “game theoretical” edge. As someone who has dabbled in both game theory and logic, I can tell you that your thoughts here run afoul of both.
#4
08-05-2004, 12:27 PM
 LA_Price Member Join Date: Feb 2004 Location: Merry old England Posts: 41
Re: 20%??

In Improve Your Poker by Ciaffone he suggests that a good PLO player will play around an average of two hands per orbit. So at a ten handed table that's around 20%. If it's eight handed that number would go up to around 25%. He's known as one of the best Omaha players in the world so I respect his opinion. I usually play around that number but loosen up on the CO or Button and will often play any hand against a player marked with Aces out of position with plenty of money left to bet. If you wan't to play more than that and can do it profitably you are a much better player me and I applaud you. Just my thoughts
#5
08-05-2004, 12:31 PM
 Zag Senior Member Join Date: Feb 2003 Posts: 515
Re: 20%??

I agree with Pete, here, on his comments about game theory. There is a percentage which is the theoretical best percentage against an unknown opponent who is as likely to play too loose as too tight. If all players are playing at this percentage (and they all play equally well postflop) then for one to deviate from this percentage in either direction would be detrimental. (I don't know what that percentage is, exactly, but it is certainly somewhere between 10% and 25%.)

That said, the vast majority of players play too loosely. Given that assumption, the most common case is that you want to be tighter than the others at your table.

I also suspect that the correct percentage of hands that you should play is slightly higher for Omaha than for Hold'em. This is because there is less of an overlay, preflop, of the best hands vs. the worst hands. In Hold'em, you can have a preflop domination of 14-to-1 of As Ah over Ac 6s, for instance. In O8, the most significant level of domination I have found (in 3 tries) is 4-to-1 (Ah As 2h 3s vs. Ac 3d 8h Ks).

I have spent more hours than I care to admit dealing out Omaha hands, hoping to get a feel for the game. Try this: Deal out 6 Omaha hands, and pick the two that you think are best, but leave them all visible. Now deal out 25 of the remaining 28 cards into a 5 by 5 square, so that they represent 10 different boards, 5 rows and 5 columns. Now evaluate all 10 boards for the original 6 hands, giving 1 point to a hand when it wins half a pot, and 3 points for a scoop. Did the two hands that you selected originally finish first and second? I find that they usually don't, not because I selected poorly, but because there is a lot of luck involved.

I have found that the predicted winners in hold'em are the big point winners most of the time.

Note that, if you do the same experiment, but instead you deal the flop before choosing your two winners, and then you deal out 12 different turn &amp; river groups, pretty much the "best" hands will be the winners at the end. In other words, the flop defines the hands pretty well, even when they are not that well defined preflop.

If anyone hasn't played games with himself like this, I highly recommend it. I have found that it really helps with getting the feel of a game.
#6
08-05-2004, 03:05 PM
 Paul2432 Senior Member Join Date: Jun 2003 Location: Bryn Mawr, PA USA Posts: 374
Re: 20%??

The biggest domination in Omaha occurs when two hands hold the same ranks but one is double suited and the other holds four different suits. The double suited hand cannot lose.

That sounds like an interesting excersize. I will have to try it.

Paul
#7
08-05-2004, 03:17 PM
 pete fabrizio Senior Member Join Date: Jul 2004 Posts: 174
Re: 20%??

Um, that is hardly the biggest domination. The biggest domination is 33xx vs. 2222, where the 33xx will ALWAYS scoop.
#8
08-05-2004, 03:47 PM
 Big Dave D Senior Member Join Date: Sep 2002 Location: UK Posts: 146
Re: 20%??

I also thought the 20% was crazy.

I don't want to keep on pluggin my site...ok I do [img]/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]...but I did talk about this. Currently the PLO 5-10 is at the 3rd stage. Maybe the games sahaguje play are at stage 1. It does make a hell of a difference.

Another self-aggrandizing link [img]/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

gl

dd
#9
08-05-2004, 04:34 PM
 Zag Senior Member Join Date: Feb 2003 Posts: 515
Re: 20%??

[ QUOTE ]
The biggest domination in Omaha occurs when two hands hold the same ranks but one is double suited and the other holds four different suits. The double suited hand cannot lose.

Paul

[/ QUOTE ]

Actually, this is not that much of an edge, because you end up chopping most of the time, even though you are correct that you never, ever lose. Twodimes puts it at 0.549-to-0.451, or 1.22-to-1. I would still prefer the Hold'em matchup of AA vs. A2.

Pete's response is, of course, correct, but I was trying to limit it to somewhat realistic hands. (OK, I just didn't think of it.)
#10
08-05-2004, 05:58 PM
 crockpot Senior Member Join Date: Jul 2003 Location: Urbana, IL Posts: 2,899
Re: 20%??

i would guess i play at least 25-30% of my hands, but i would still tell a beginner to play only 20% because he probably won't show a profit on the other 10%. it's a group that would probably include hands like 9764.

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