The Devil’s Pudding is Delicious

SDIC.  Sensitive Dependence on Initial Conditions.  This is a term that comes up when math guys speak about chaos theory.  But it happens to weave its way into all sorts of things.  Specifically the plo game I played in last week.

Phil LaakIt was at the Commerce Casino.  I was in the ‘main game’ and we were getting a ‘must move’ player from the ‘must move’ game.  Being on point, I looked to see who was coming.  (Maybe I should take that seat?)

Sharp aggressive fearless player with a ton of chips about to join our table.  The seat that opens is two to my right.  Perfect.  No seat change needed.  All is in order.  I will have position on this tough player.  All good.

Well, not exactly.

What happened is that I was not fully tuned in, and missed a key moment.  As the new player was joining our table the fella on my direct left (a short stack – predictable player) got up and took the seat!  And I missed it!  Arghghghg.

Two hands later I found myself in a hand with.. huh?? What is going on?? It is the wizard with the deep stack!  I dropped the ball.  Wow.  SDIC.

My expected win rate was diminished by x percent because of this innocent little ‘mis-click’.  (Perhaps the slang would be ‘no-click’)(And not sure what x would be, but if I had to guess….7.5%) .

Ho hum.  Like the old saying goes… the pudding is in the details.. or whatever it is they say… pudding something.. or maybe it is details something… or maybe it is devils pudding is delicious.  Can’t remember.

Anyway, the point is this.  If you have a new player coming to the table and are going to play the “seat change game” then play it right and pay attention!

————  no good segue here so I am just going with the dotted line ———

Collection pots:   At the Commerce many times in the bigger stakes games the time is paid with “collection pots”.  Simply put, the winner of the next pot pays for everyone’s time.  (Instead of each player paying their own.)  Most of the time I just go along with the collection pots, but sometimes I do ‘opt-out’.  (If you ‘opt-out’ then it is for the whole day… Cherry picking not allowed!)

If I am playing tighter than my opponents then I benefit from being a part of the collection pots as I will be playing less pots, and therefore paying for less of the collection pots than my opponents.  (qed – less rake.)

But if it is a low stakes game and many of the players are passive, exploitable, and predictable then I elect to pay my own time.  (Opt-out) Why?  The thinking is this.  I will be playing more hands (pots) and the more hands I play the more likey it becomes that I will win a ‘time-pot’.  Over time this means I would (on average) be paying more time than I otherwise would be.

The point of this time pot story is not what you think it is.  (It is not to help you save a few dollars here and there.)  For the record the Commerce Casino has the lowest per hour to play fees of anywhere (nearly) in the world!  For 10/20 no limit hold-em they charge 10$ per half hour and for a 100/100/200 PLO game it is 17$ per half hour.   This is super duper crazy low.  The Commerce has some of the lowest (best) fees in the world!

When you break it all down and calculate if you are going to be in or out of the collection pots we are not talking about a lot of money.  Perhaps you save 3$ per half hour in the 10/20 game and maybe 4 or 5$ per half hour in the bigger 100/100/200 PLO games.  So why spend any time at all even thinking about all of this when it means so little money?

Well that is what I am getting to.  The point.

The point is this.  When you got lost in the beauty of poker you discover that the game is not about money at all but instead it is about how to best surf the wave matrices that are constantly presenting themselves.  Big or small.  (Of course the money is nice, but that only comes once all the other stuff is already on point!)

If you get lucky then your brain tunes out the numbers (3$ and 3,000$, who’s counting?)  Me sometimes (I wrote this article, right?), but I joke.  The truth is that when I am in the zone I really don’t notice the money stuff at all!

Get truly lost in the beauty of poker and be prepared to hear the universal hum.  Also be prepared to have all sorts of crazy little details fill your head!  And if you are truly lucky you won’t see them as crazy little details but just part of the beautiful endless landscape that is poker.

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March 2014