October 17, 2011

Hand Control for Poker Props (part 4)

As said in the previous piece, the hero stood to lose about $45 at most, but having control of the hand, he gave himself the chance to felt his opponent which he eventually did. The fact that luck was heavily involved in the outcome of the hand takes nothing away from the importance of controlling the hand. The villain chose to give up control of the hand when he happened upon his set, believing that it was a good-enough hand to offer him control on a silver platter. By calling the hero's c-bet on the flop he gave away information and he gave up aggression too. By having made that c-bet, through aggression, the hero managed to secure vital information which gave him absolute control of the hand from that point on.

Post-flop, the villain did indeed have control of the hand through the monster he had landed. The question then pops up: why does a player have to have control when he has his opponent dominated? Doesn't that automatically give him control? It does in fact under the given circumstances, but circumstances can change quickly and relying on control offered by a made hand early, while letting go of all the other options isn't really a great idea.

Giving up aggression and the willingness to sniff for extra information has cost the villain dearly in the above example. He should've kept the pedal to the metal and he should've raised the flop, taking the aggression-edge away from the hero. By not doing that, the villain has turned a situation in which he was a 95% winner into one that ends up costing him money in the long-run.

In poker, one needs to evaluate the odds only with the present and the future in mind. Any bets and any chips shoved into the pot on the flop become irrelevant once the turn card falls and the new betting round commences.

If a player gets $500 into a $12 pot on the flop, then his opponent moves all-in on the turn for $3, making the $3 call is the good move, regardless of how bad a decision it was to get $500 into the $12 pot to begin with.

One might say that by calling on the flop and putting on that little show, the villain secured value for the turn and the river, but that's simply untrue: had he not hit the 8 on the turn, the hero would never have put another penny into the pot, thus making the EV for the villain on the turn and the river exactly $0.

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