Monday, May 5, 2008

Grundy's Poker Cliff Notes...don't exisit.

I was recently asked if there was a definitive guide to how to play every situation in hold'em. There's not. It ain't blackjack. I know some people pride themselves in knowing the higher strategy of 21, but to me the strategy is pretty limited unless you are a card-counter. For the most part I hit until 17 then stay. (Yes, I know about splits and double downs and I do consider the dealer's cards, but I'll save that for another post.)

Poker is much more involved. Instead of playing against a dealer that probably abides by house rules, you play against many opponents of varying styles. A correct play against a tight player is incorrect against a loose player. Poker is a game of human genius and human error, both on your part and the part of your opponents. Psychology makes poker more unpredictable than any contest of pure math.

That said, there is a mathematically correct move for every situation, but each situation needs to consider the number of players in the hand, pot size, implied odds, ect. To list off directions for every occasion would take a work that would make War and Peace seem like light reading. And that's not even considering bluffing or that your opponents may not follow your math. Other major reasons why poker cliff notes are impossible are elements such as relative chip stacks, position, and timing.

If you read enough poker books you can get a grasp of the best move for every starting hand, and I recommend that. However, past the initial bet anything can happen. You need intuition, logic, and a bit of luck to win at poker...not a cheat sheet.

Making arrangements of home security while the house plans are finalized is the best approach. It cannot be compared to rugs or even swimming pools that can be adjusted in later.


  1. I think this is what makes poker the phenomenon that it is today. It is a game that is fairly easy to understand, but something that no one can master. Even the pro's can , and often do, make mistakes.

  2. I agree with Stonecoldbluff that the fact there is no right or wrong answer in poker makes it appeal to the masses. It's very easy to pick up the basics but as he mentions I doubt anyone will ever 100% master it due to the many permatations available.

    Couple this with the fact that the game is evolving in many different ways due to software available for online, training sites, good quality blogs, the USA "ban" and I'm sure you'll agree the games are getting tougher and tougher but in my eyes that also makes it more fun too.

  3. Never a dull moment with poker, that's for sure. I notice the type of successful play goes in and out of style somewhat too. For example, today's poker is much more aggressive than years past, due to the huge on-line scene I imagine.

    I apologize for some previous spelling errors in this post. I didn't use by usual browser with the spell checking hotness.

  4. Just want to add, that when taking notes that it important that you use some form of shorthand that you can quickly type in. And of course you want to be able to understand what the shorthand means when you read it again several months after taking the notes.

    I don’t want to suggest a list of abbreviations. It is essential that you think of your own abbreviations and shorthand.

    But as an example, one of mine is OBORWS. This means On button, only raises with strength. It gives me a fairly good indication of how that person plays when on the button, and also lets me know how to defend my blinds against him.