Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Analyzing NLHE:TAP Concept 50

In which I analyze the fiftieth concept at the end of No Limit Hold 'em: Theory and Practice by David Sklansky and Ed Miller.

Concept No. 50: If someone bets the flop and gets two or more calls, anyone who bets a significant amount on the turn should get respect.

This seems to be happening a lot, but once again, I don't like this concept even though I do agree with it. A big bet into a multiway pot after significant action on the flop is a very strong play, and the bettor should have a very strong hand if he expects to make a profit.

I have two main gripes with the way this concept is presented. First, the concept is a very specific example of a more general idea, which is that when someone bets with the expectation of being raised or called, his hand range must be very strong. I think the book's "concepts" are more useful when they are more general, because they can be applied to various situations.

Second, the example in the discussion is very unconvincing, a sort of "straw man" argument. If the authors felt confident in the generality of their concept, they would set up an example where all factors would suggest that you should not respect the bettor's bet, except for the reason given in the concept. On the contrary, in the example in the book there are many reasons why you should respect the bettor's bet. Sklansky and Miller try to use this to their advantage, saying, "you are out of position with a hand that is unlikely to improve..." However, this just muddles their argument. Thus, their conclusion that "you ... should frequently fold" to the bet on the turn is true, but it doesn't bolster their main argument in the least. They have completely failed to make a logical argument in support of their concept.

Recently, I haven't been doing EV evaluations like I did at the beginning of this project, and that is partly do to my own laziness. However, I think Sklansky and Miller also were lazy in formulating these concepts and discussions. It's frustrating, but enough of them are thought-provoking that I think this is still a worthwhile project. Only ten more to go!


Craig Berger said...

a tight player bets pre-flop and gets three callers, including a LAG on the button. Two spades come on the flop and the tight player bets again.One of the players and the button call. The turn is a spade. The tight player checks, the middle player checks and the button bets 3/4 of the pot.

Should this bet really get respect?

Keith said...

Thanks for coming up with a much better example. In this case I do think the bet should probably some respect; this, despite the fact that there are only three players in the pot and the bettor is loose and aggressive.