“There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.” – Benjamin Disraeli
Have you ever sat down in a game, and watched a player bet every hand – and win? We’ve all seen this happen, and we wonder if, perhaps, this style is profitable. Well, like everything in life, the answer is “it depends.” Game (or table) composition is the primary determining factor, along with a thorough understanding of statistics.
If we reduce poker to mathematics (ignoring, for the moment, the people playing the game – an incorrect assumption, I realize), each decision can be calculated in percentage terms. For example, assume you’re holding A2xx and the flop contains two hearts. You can prove, by using probability theory, that the chance of making the flush is 36.4%. By examining the pot odds one can then determine what the correct course of action (bet, call, raise or fold) is.
Of course, poker is a people game. You hold a flush and the board pairs. If the tightest player you know raises, your flush isn’t worth much. A maniac definitely influences how one plays in any poker game. I don’t believe that maniacs have as much impact in Omaha high/low as in hold’em, but that’s a personal belief. (While this article is written for Omaha players, this topic is applicable no matter what poker game you play.)
First, what is a maniac? I consider a maniac to be one who acts in a very aggressive manner (usually raising) regardless of the Togel Singapore cards he holds. Some Omaha maniacs act in this fashion only pre-flop; others continue in this fashion throughout the hand.
What are the affects of a maniac? First, maniacs make games more expensive – a 6/12 Omaha game becomes a de facto 12/24 game (or higher). I recently played in an Omaha game where there were two maniacs. The 6/12 game became an 18/36 game (forgetting the kill pots). You will need a larger bankroll for a maniac-dominated game.
When you win a pot in this kind of a game, it will be a large (frequently, quite large) pot. If you fold after the flop you will be out more than one bet (usually two to four bets). Thus, your variance will increase in this game.
I was at my parents’ house, and my father asked me about a poker game I was in. The subject of variance came up, and my mother said, “What is variance?” It wasn’t that she didn’t understand the idea – the word, after all, means “the fact, quality, or state of being variable or variant: difference, variation,” and I’m sure she knows the meaning. It’s just that, from a poker sense she didn’t understand its importance to your results.
Variance, o2, is computed using the squared deviations from the mean (average).
Mathematically, o2 = µ2, where xˇ is the ith element in a population, µ denotes the population mean, and N is the population size. [Note: this is a simplified version of the formula for variance; computers will typically use a slightly different formula.] Additionally, the positive square root of the variance is known as the standard deviation, o¨. That is, o¨ = . The importance of this has to do with probability theory.
Now, I’m pretty sure that most of you know the basics behind probability theory. Assume I have a ‘fair’ coin. The chance of a head coming up is 50%. Even if heads has come up the last 50, 500, or 5000 times, the chances, in a fair coin toss of heads coming up is 50%. We use this same theory when we look at the probability of a card (or group of cards [outs]) appearing in a poker situation.
When maniacs appear at the table, the probability of a card appearing doesn’t change, but the risk/reward does because of the number of bets that have already occurred and that will occur in the future. That is, your pot odds fluctuate greatly. (I’m sure you were wondering when I’d return to the maniacs.) Most maniacs do not know a thing about pot odds or statistics. They just want action-filled games.
In general, you need not raise very often (the maniacs will take care of that) but must be more careful about what hand you play (play fewer marginal hands). Straightforward play usually wins out. Just remember that when there’s a maniac in your game, your variance will increase. You’re also likely, in Omaha high/low, to make more money. My next article will continue this discussion, looking at why games with maniacs are monetarily rewarding for Omaha players.