Sun-Tzu on Limping in Poker

Display profits to entice them. Create disorder and take them. Attack, where they are unprepared. Go forth, where they will not expect it.

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SunTzu1
I was watching one of the poker shows on TV, I try to record most of them. One of the announcers asked the other, “I wonder what The Art of War (Sun-Tzu) has to say about limping?”
Being a advocate of The Art of War and Poker, I thought I’d take a look at it. There has already been a good book on the subject written by David Apostolico, Tournament Poker and the Art of War, and there is also a web site devoted to it. Sun Tzu’s Art of Poker

From “The Art of War” by Sun-Tzu,
In battle, there are not more than two methods of attack:
1. The direct betting/raising
2. the indirect –checking/limping
These two in combination give rise to an endless series of maneuvers.
The direct and the indirect lead on to each other in turn.

It is like moving in a circle — you never come to an end.

(It’s also an effective act of randomness to keep your opponent off balance.)

Masking strength with weakness is to be effected by tactical dispositions.
Thus one who is skillful at keeping the enemy on the move maintains deceitful appearances, according to which the enemy will act.
He sacrifices something, (so) the enemy may snatch at it.

  • Simulated disorder postulates perfect discipline,
  • Simulated fear postulates courage;
  • Simulated weakness postulates strength. It’s all part of the Lying Game of Poker!

If we wish to fight, the enemy can be forced to an engagement even though he (is) sheltered behind a high rampart and a deep ditch –a wall of chips-. All we need do is attack some other place that he will be obliged to relieve.
If we do not wish to fight, we can prevent the enemy from engaging us even though the lines of our encampment be merely traced out on the ground. All we need do is to throw something odd and unaccountable in his way –Randomness.

  • The rule is, not to besiege walled cities if it can possibly be avoided.

By holding out baits –limping/slow playing-, he keeps him on the march; then with a body of picked men he lies in wait for him.
By holding out advantages –showing weakness– to him, he can cause the enemy to approach of his own accord; or, by inflicting damage, he can make it impossible for the enemy to draw near.

Whoever is first –to act-with –active or passive Aggression– in the field and awaits the coming of the enemy, will be fresh for the fight; whoever is second in the field and has to hasten to battle – will arrive exhausted.
Patience is a virtue in poker, more so in cash games than tournament, however,

“In a balance of mutual terror, whoever ACTS FIRST has the ADVANTAGE!”
  • Hence that general is skillful in attack whose opponent does not know what to defend; and he is skillful in defense whose opponent does not know what to attack.

Numerical weakness – lack of chips – comes from having to prepare against possible attacks; numerical strength –many chips-, (by) compelling our adversary to make these preparations against us.

  • Though the enemy be stronger in numbers, we may prevent him from fighting.
  • Scheme so as to discover his plans and the likelihood of their success.

If we are able thus to attack an inferior force with a superior one, our opponents will be in dire straits.

  • When you engage in actual fighting, if victory is long in coming, then men’s weapons will grow dull and their ardor will be damped.

Do not repeat the tactics which have gained you one victory, but let your methods be regulated by the infinite variety of circumstances –Randomness and Deciet– .

Water shapes its course according to the nature of the ground over which it flows; the soldier works out his victory in relation to the foe whom he is facing.
Therefore, just as water retains no constant shape, so in warfare there are no constant conditions. He who can modify his tactics –Randomness– in relation to his opponent and thereby succeed in winning, may be called a heaven-born captain.
So in war, the way is to avoid what is strong and to strike at what is weak.


So, Limping is a weakness than can mask strength.
Some though say “Limping is Lame“. It really doesn’t happen that much in low stakes cash games. There is usually at least one Loose Aggressive player and frequently there are 2 or more in a game, so anyone limping is generally raised. This actually makes limping a good trapping play with strong hands out of position. Especially when the typical buy-in for something like a 1/2 game is only 50 Big Blinds.

I NEVER BLUFF

Mr Lucky Poker
Mr Lucky Poker

The Only Good Hand Was the Last Hand – FOLD EQUITY

Against multiple players, fold equity rarely comes into play.

Fold Equity

http://www.exceptionalpoker.com/?p=1043

 “It is the equity a player can expect to gain due to the opponent folding to his or her bets.”

Folding?

It depends as much on the type of table you are at as it does the type of player you are playing, maybe more.

Most comments about any type of play center around a specific player and tends to be focused on becoming heads up after the flop, if not during the flop.

That only happens about 30%-40% of the time live and almost nonexistent on-line. Aggressiveness is the only game in town when paying on-line, but in a live cash game, aggression is sometimes fleeting, most times it’s random to intermittent.

If you’re at an aggressive table, there may be no real fold equity, because you are usually up against 2 to 3 villains. If you don’t really know how much they have in their pocket, which you don’t, you can’t really tell how aggressive they are going to be. If you have watched the table, which you should have before sitting down, you can tell who is the Loose Aggressive player and who is the Selective Aggressive player. Their fold equity is quite a bit different from the passive player that sits in-between them.

Essentially, fold equity is the extra amount of equity you gain when you factor in how likely your opponent is to fold. Working out the correct amount of fold equity relies heavily on your ability to read an opponent. In other words, you need to be fairly certain of your chances to get an opponent to fold. But how about 2 villains or even 3?

The formulas you read about in the most popular strategy sites are only good for a head-to-head battle.

Fold Equity decisions

With multiple opponents, you have to rely on multiple reads and your initial threat assessment for each villain.

A final word of warning
When playing against really loose aggressive players, your fold equity will likely be close to zero. This is also the case against players with really short stacks (very few chips) in a cash/ring game, as well as in tournaments. Short-stacked players are less likely to fold, as they need to take more risks.

I NEVER BLUFF

Mr Lucky Poker
Mr Lucky Poker

Feeling LUCKY?

Bluff Smoke 3

                                LUCK
“Chance (Luck) favors the prepared mind.” Louis Pasteur

Luck will find you if you go looking for it, both the good and the bad, mostly the bad!
Mental Exercise:
♠Note who is playing the most hands, who is playing the least hands.
♥What is the average raise by the loose aggressive players?
♦Who only calls?
♣Who folds to raises?
•Who is aggressive against draws?

Bad Beats and Bonehead Blunders.
Are the BBs, giving you the Heebie Jeebies, brought on by belligerent bluffing?
A Bad Beat means Luck beat the best hand at the Turn or River and no one slow played.
A Bonehead Blunder means the best hand, usually pre-flop, was trapped from the beginning or the regretful act of slow playing resulted in Luck winning at the river.
Don’t give LUCK a chance to beat you at the river!
A. You have AA and slow play it to the river and get beat.
B. You have AA and go all-in, before or after the flop, and get beat at the river.
One is a Bonehead Blunder and the other is a Bad Beat!

Aggression
The risk of never challenging is always greater than the risk of challenging.
“In a balance of mutual terror, whoever acts first has the advantage!”

Being aggressive before the turn or river, might have caused your opponent to fold, instead of winning on the turn or at the river.

Loose Aggressive players try to manufacture luck by playing a lot of hands. They typically raise out of position when first to play, or even do a straddle play when under the gun, knowing that the tight passive players are likely to fold their marginal hands. They usually raise around 3 big blinds preflop, which also shuts down the players who have bought in for less than 50 big blinds and players who have less than 50 big blinds.

Loose Aggressive players want action and will put in 10% of their stack with their marginal hands, middle connected and/or suited hands. When in position, you have to reraise these players with your top 15 hands and call with your top 25 hands. Out of position it’s best to just call your top 15 to 20 hands and raise with your top 15 hands.

Experienced tournament players are likely to make a bluffing bet on the river, if they think the other player is a weak or timid player. A bluffing raise is more likely to be used if an experienced player thinks the other player is more concerned about conserving chips in the middle of the tournament.

If sandwiched between an All-in raise and a previous raiser, when an over card comes on the Flop, the raiser is likely to fold a smaller pair to a re-raise. A Semi-bluff should be used more than out-right bluffs, early in tournaments.

The Patience Factor:
From the controversial book: Arnold Snyder, The Poker Tournament Formula 1.
Better required reading for tournaments is Arnold Snyder’s, The Poker Tournament Formula 2.

The blind structure in relation to the number of chips each player starts with is the primary consideration on deciding if you should even enter a tournament, yet alone what your strategy should be. The lower the patience factor, the more aggressive you have to be. The lower the patience factor, the more Luck prevails over skill.

The best way to get lucky, is to keep your head in the game!
You don’t get lucky before the flop. All luck happens after the flop.

After the flop you must keep this in mind.
•There are two types of hands in Texas Hold’em. A MADE HAND, pair or better,
and a DRAW to a straight or flush.

               •Every hand played after the flop is a contest between these two types of
hands
.

               •The draws are broken down to connected cards, gapped cards, suited
                 connectors and suited gapped cards.
                •Anything else isn’t worth looking at except when you are heads-up.

Your head can get into a kind of fog when you keep getting marginal hands or no playable hands for a couple of hours at a loose table.When this happens, it’s best to take a walk for a few hands, which may help clear your mind a little.

I see a lot of players that change seats or even tables when the cards turn cold. A lot of players will jump at the chance to get a hot seat that was recently vacated.
I don’t subscribe to the notion that if I change my seat, it will change my luck. You make your own luck, which is what those loose aggressive players are trying to do anyway by playing 80% of the hands and raising 50% or more with them, regardless of position.
I love those players, when my head is in the game.

I NEVER BLUFF

Mr Lucky Poker
Mr Lucky Poker

Hawaiian Gardens Casino Visit

TheGardens

Location: Hawaiian Gardens CA
110 Poker Tables
(Bar/Food) C+/B+; Well & Craft Verity (No Dark Beer)
2 Restaurants/Cafes

Nicely laid out with the new remodel. Get Valet parking, $2 for Valet or $5 for up close, quick getaway Valet, it’s the best poker value. About the food; A very eclectic variety from around the world with American, Mexican, Italian, Asian, as well as Vietnamese and Korean.
The Concierge was very helpful in directing me to the tournament section, as I was interested in checking out their Sit-N-Go tournament. They used to have a couple of great ones in the past, a 3 table NLTH game that paid 4 players was the best. Now they are really just shootout turbo events, winner takes all and only one table w/10-12 min blind changes. A starting M” of 40-52 that plummets down to 2.53.5 at the one hour mark, means you will be All-In after about 25 hands dealt. If you like to gamble, that’s the game for you, absolutely no skill required. I’d rate it at a D”.

I decided to check out the Low Stakes NLTH games.
I’d rate the 1/2 buy-in at about a “
C” and mostly a Loose AggressiveB” Action, which is typical of most 1/2 games in the area with an “M” of only 50, best to wait until a new table opens for those games.
The 2/3 game was the most interesting, I’d give it a buy-in at “
B+” with an “M” of 67 and a Moderate Aggressive A+ Action. Lots of good banter and with 6 tables going it looked to be a good place to start. Didn’t see any LC/MM players, which is good.
There was also a good looking NLTH 3/5 and a 5/5 game in the High Stakes Room, with a buy-in at “
B” and Moderate Aggressive A+ Action

My favorite game is Pot Limit and Limit Omaha Hi and they had a couple of PLO games going. The 1/2 PLO with a buy-in at A-, “M” of 200, and another 1/3 PLO with a buy-in at a solid A, “M” of 100.

Hawaiian Gardens Casino Info:
Cash Games: Texas Hold’em, Omaha, Omaha 8, BigO, Stud, Stud 8
NLTH 1/2 @ $100 MAX (M50) Buy-in; 5-6 tables; [Game C, Action B ]
*NLTH 2/3 @ $200 MAX Buy-in; 5-6 tables [Game B; Action A+ ]
Most not LA-PF, 2-3BB usually on the flop w/draws; 3/4BB w/low pair or LA players
*NLTH 3/5 @ $300 MAX Buy-in; 2-3 Tables [Game B ] Action A+ ]

Sit-N-Go Games (D”)
They call them Sit-N-Go games {M_F}, but are basically a Shootout, winner-takes-all tournament.

Satellites: Tournament entry ticket only, no cash payouts?

Tournaments: Seasonal (Deep Stack; Turbo; WSOP; WPT)
Daily:
Seasonal: Poker Festival – May15-31 2017
May 19 Event #11 Deep Stack to 20k; BI $140=$35 w/1AO@$100, PR 536/312min
Level Time = 30/25L5; 0RB/1AO@$100; UM/M = 266/400 @1hr 133/200; MF-L5; BO-L1;
G75k+PO10%; PR(G/BI)

House Games:
Black Jack, Baccarat, Pai Gow, Three Card Poker, Ultimate Texas Hold’em

I NEVER BLUFF

Mr Lucky Poker
Mr Lucky Poker