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#1
12-01-2007, 02:34 PM
 TrueBritt Senior Member Join Date: Sep 2004 Posts: 135
Number of Players and Starting Hands

Tell me if you see anything wrong with this reasoning:

Ignoring blinds and rake, if 10 people are playing, only 1 hand will win out of those 10. Therefore, 1/10 of starting hands are winners in the short and long run. Therefore, we should play the top 1/10 of hands when 10-handed, the top 1/5 when 5 handed, and the top 1/2 when heads-up.
#2
12-01-2007, 03:28 PM
 nihil2501 Junior Member Join Date: Oct 2007 Posts: 27
Re: Number of Players and Starting Hands

This simply has no bearing whatsoever to how the game of poker works. People like to play hands like 87s BECAUSE they aren't near the top of the preflop hand rankings. This is because they can deceive their opponents and make a lot of money against overpairs like AA, etc. Playing poker predictably means you will lose money to observant opponents.

Things change if this is a tournament and the blinds are very high compared to the stacks. In this case, there is more or less a perfect way to play that is determined by some simple calculations. I don't know how much more I can say on this subject, but I can direct you to an article about such a situation: http://www.zeejustin.com/articles.php?art_id=9
#3
12-01-2007, 03:56 PM
 TrueBritt Senior Member Join Date: Sep 2004 Posts: 135
Re: Number of Players and Starting Hands

[ QUOTE ]
This simply has no bearing whatsoever to how the game of poker works. People like to play hands like 87s BECAUSE they aren't near the top of the preflop hand rankings. This is because they can deceive their opponents and make a lot of money against overpairs like AA, etc. Playing poker predictably means you will lose money to observant opponents.

[/ QUOTE ]

Yes, hands like 87s have implied odds, but they also have reverse implied odds. That is, it's not difficult to hit your hand and still lose the pot. And when you lose that pot, you're likely to lose your whole stack.

Presumably for this reason, and because it hits so rarely, my PT stats say 87s is a losing hand.
#4
12-01-2007, 04:08 PM
 nihil2501 Junior Member Join Date: Oct 2007 Posts: 27
Re: Number of Players and Starting Hands

[ QUOTE ]
[ QUOTE ]
This simply has no bearing whatsoever to how the game of poker works. People like to play hands like 87s BECAUSE they aren't near the top of the preflop hand rankings. This is because they can deceive their opponents and make a lot of money against overpairs like AA, etc. Playing poker predictably means you will lose money to observant opponents.

[/ QUOTE ]

Yes, hands like 87s have implied odds, but they also have reverse implied odds. That is, it's not difficult to hit your hand and still lose the pot. And when you lose that pot, you're likely to lose your whole stack.

Presumably for this reason, and because it hits so rarely, my PT stats say 87s is a losing hand.

[/ QUOTE ]

If I grant you the argument that 87s will not show up as profitable in PT, I can still provide another argument for including it in your preflop range. Take this example: when you are heads up on the river, you want to be bluffing some percent of the time so that you will get paid off with your made hands. Therefore, you need your range to include bluffs to profit on other hands. This same idea (what is known as balance) applies to your starting hands. It may be that 87s is profitable in reality but it only shows up in other hands.
#5
12-01-2007, 04:13 PM
 nihil2501 Junior Member Join Date: Oct 2007 Posts: 27
Re: Number of Players and Starting Hands

I should say that I don't actually think that what I wrote above would turn out to be true in the long run. It might have some small application to your opponents' 3-betting ranges preflop...

I don't know. This stuff all gets very complicated. Maybe I should sit down one day and do a ton of math so I can answer these types of questions. Other people probably know better.
#6
12-01-2007, 05:22 PM
 TrueBritt Senior Member Join Date: Sep 2004 Posts: 135
Re: Number of Players and Starting Hands

[ QUOTE ]
[ QUOTE ]
[ QUOTE ]
This simply has no bearing whatsoever to how the game of poker works. People like to play hands like 87s BECAUSE they aren't near the top of the preflop hand rankings. This is because they can deceive their opponents and make a lot of money against overpairs like AA, etc. Playing poker predictably means you will lose money to observant opponents.

[/ QUOTE ]

Yes, hands like 87s have implied odds, but they also have reverse implied odds. That is, it's not difficult to hit your hand and still lose the pot. And when you lose that pot, you're likely to lose your whole stack.

Presumably for this reason, and because it hits so rarely, my PT stats say 87s is a losing hand.

[/ QUOTE ]

If I grant you the argument that 87s will not show up as profitable in PT, I can still provide another argument for including it in your preflop range. Take this example: when you are heads up on the river, you want to be bluffing some percent of the time so that you will get paid off with your made hands. Therefore, you need your range to include bluffs to profit on other hands. This same idea (what is known as balance) applies to your starting hands. It may be that 87s is profitable in reality but it only shows up in other hands.

[/ QUOTE ]

You assume my opponents are thinking players. For the most part, they are in level 1 thinking: "I have a good hand. I call!" And this is live 10-20 NL.
#7
12-01-2007, 11:37 PM
 nihil2501 Junior Member Join Date: Oct 2007 Posts: 27
Re: Number of Players and Starting Hands

Right. In any case, this formula you gave for the top 1/n of hands where n is the number of players is not going to be a good strategy. Harrington on Hold 'Em gives good fundamental concepts for preflop starting hand requirements (gap concept, etc).
#8
12-02-2007, 01:07 AM
 Albert Moulton Senior Member Join Date: Jan 2005 Location: Live Full Ring NLHE Posts: 2,377
Re: Number of Players and Starting Hands

When you say, "...we should play the top X/XX of hands ..." you aren't defining what constitutes a "top" hand. And that's part of the problem with your assertion. The top hand preflop isn't always the top hand post flop.

It is generally true that more players in the game should translate into a lower V\$PIP, and the less players in the game should translate into a higher V\$PIP. But you can't "only play aces" for example, because if you only get 5% of your money in preflop, on a flop of 8sJs7s with AdAh your pair of aces is ninth best possible hand since 78, J8, J7, 88, JJ, 77, XsXs, and 9T all out flopped you.

If the game was played without a flop, and all bets were push or fold preflop, then you would be on to something. But everybody would end up playing the same hands and it wouldn't be much of a game.

With multiple rounds of betting and deep stacks that give all kinds of hands a significant amount of implied odds, you have to account for more factors than starting cards. Position, SPR, reads, etc. become critical for estimating your potential for implied odds. Moreover, if you only play the top X% of hands, then in many games you will give up too much in the way of reverse implied odds to others playing more speculative hands under the right conditions, especially when they have better position than you post-flop.

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