Aug 21 2008

#2b: Complex advice

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Let’s consider a complex scenario where (a) it’s the very first or second hand of the tourney, (b) no player has busted out, (c) everyone has basically the same number of chips (give or take a few), (d) it’s pre-flop, (e) you’re in very late position to act (e.g. cutoff, button, blinds), (f) at least five of your opponents (counting the blinds) are invested for up to 2xBB, (g) the names & avatars (if any) for the few players (if any) behind you don’t display an attitude, (h) and you pay absolutely no more than 2xBB to see the flop.

In a com­plex scenario, you can reason­ably expect a 35:1 return for any truly specu­la­tive hand.

If you can see a flop in this complex scenario and if you hit it very hard, then you can simply push all in and reasonably expect at least one fish will make the call. If you invest 2xBB and one player goes all in with you, then your investment will yield an expected value of 35:1.

From a mathematical perspective, you can play almost any truly speculative hand for 35:1. Oh, sure, I’ll still throw away beer hands and other genuine muck, but I’ll gladly speculate with a gap suited connector or an offsuit T5.

Just remember! In this complex scenario, you want a 35:1 return on investment for any speculative hand going up against five or more opponents. You’ll fail 34 out of 35 times to hit the flop very hard and you need the discipline to fold at the first sign of aggression. If you pay anything less than an all-in to chase another card, it will mathematically cripple your pre-flop expected value — and it will give one of your opponents more expected value for his own speculative hand.

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