Friday, 3 October 2008

About shit

So there was a disagreement in the forum over what "unexploitable" means and I PM'd some guy who I'd asked a question about unexploitable ranges before to ask his opinion. He was quite rude about it, and I realised he thought I was sort of calling him out about it. But anyway, he agreed with some guy in the thread.

But the thing is, the guy in the thread said the opposite to what this guy had said before (basically that shoving any suited ace from the button with < 10BB is unexploitable -- which is correct because although the blinds can spite you, they can't exploit you; the whole disagreement -- stupid as it was -- was over whether unexploitable shoves are ones that blinds cannot make -EV with any range, or ones that blinds cannot call profitably with any range: the correct answer is clearly the second and the first is "unspiteability"; it's trivially true that all unspiteable ranges are unexploitable, but the opposite is not true at all).

So is the point that this guy will say whatever fits on whatever occasion? Well no, although that's obviously true.

The point is that this is something that makes learning poker very difficult. People talk shit a lot of the time, give opinions that they can't substantiate, just copy other people's ideas without understanding why they're right, if they are, are not consistent, know things work but not why, and so on. It's a minefield. When I "help" people, I try to explain my thinking, so that the person can see the stitching, and can take it apart if he or she has the ability to think it through. (I'm not immune from talking shit, of course. This blog is full of things I thought I knew and later had to unlearn.)

It's all complicated too by luck (as most things in poker are). People can claim to be knowledgeable because they make money -- and because that's how we keep score, surely it's a viable measure of ability? Well, yeah, it is, but you can run hot over quite long periods, so it's possible to be a winning player and to be doing quite a lot wrong. (It's a big worry for me and my own game: I'm very aware that I might have been above expectation for stretches of my "career" and I wouldn't know; so I try to think about how I think I've been playing, to analyse my play, to understand whether I've been good or just lucky. But still it's hard. There isn't really a test you can take!) So you find people whose thinking you like, and you think about what they say (and, mostly, liking their thinking is an outcome of thinking about what they say and realising it works) and you get a muddled, inconsistent brew of ideas. Oh well.


isacsen said...

So true...

I've just finisihed reading all your blog entries, and I must say that of all the blogs and info on the web about poker, your blog has propably helped me the most.

Reading forum threads can be both rewarding and frustrating, but you really have to think about new concepts before applying them.

Anyway... I just wanted to let you know that I really enjoy reading about your journey, especially the 'meta' game stuff.


Dr Zen said...

Thanks so much for the compliment, and I'm really glad that you've found some useful stuff in my blog. Thanks again for taking the time to let me know.