A commenter (Rick) suggested that I give some advice that would actually help me if it were followed by my opponents. This sounds easy: Just give bad advice! An intriguing idea, but it wouldn't make much difference because my poker-playing readers can mostly discern bad advice from good, anyway. Fortunately, there is another way: Give advice that helps not only me but also my opponents. This is clearly the angle Rick was suggesting. This seems like a good idea, so I'm going to devote a few posts to encouraging behavior that will improve the culture of casino poker.
When I'm in a poker room, I have three main concerns. Players will surely differ on the relative importance of these three factors, but I think nearly all players are implicitly concerned with these three things. For me, I would rank them as follows.
1. Maximizing my winnings. This is an explicit goal of most players, and the main concern of most poker pros. Like other poker players, I tend focus on ways in which I can win money from other players, but there are also plenty of things players can do to help not only themselves but also other players (either all the other players or some subset).
2. Having an enjoyable social experience. Poker is a social game, after all. Occasionally, I will come across players for whom this seems to be the primary goal of their poker games.
3. Playing an interesting game of poker. This is the concern of the poker purists, who play for the love of the game.
The first piece of advice I want to give is conventional wisdom but is very difficult for many people to follow: Be nice to the bad players. This helps the other players fulfill Concern #1 because the bad players are likely to stick around for longer. It usually also helps the bad players fulfill Concern #2. Unfortunately, poker players are often too immature to resist castigating bad players for bad beats and the like. Personally, I also wish that people were nicer to the good players, but that is not necessarily good for fulfilling Concern #1. There are a few of players at the Bike who are so unpleasant that I tend to try to avoid them, and I imagine it is good for their win rate to get me out of their games.
That's it for today. Stay tuned for my next attempt to help improve the culture of casino poker.
I've been taking an online course on game theory run by two professors at Stanford.
I got into the PhD Statistics programs at UMBC and George Washington, but without funding. I'm still waiting on UMD College Park's PhD program in Applied Math, Applied Statistics, and Scientific Computation.