Monthly Archives: July 2011

Several Hands of High Stakes Poker II

I’m in the mood to think about poker.  Time to live vicariously through my teenage self.  This is from a 2008 2+2 post.  Ah, the memories:

villain is a good reg, although i admittedly have little experience with him. I can’t think of many hands he is repping here…If I fold, does that mean I shouldn’t have raised in the first place?

Full Tilt Poker Game #6821913519: Table Larson (6 max) – $10/$20 – No Limit Hold’em – 12:25:07 ET – 2008/06/14
Seat 1: plastikcards ($3,138.50)
Seat 2: dreamofsuccess ($1,991)
Seat 3: Skyline985 ($2,007)
Seat 4: jcreachbaum1 ($2,012)
Seat 5: HAAANH ($3,591)
Seat 6: Kinetica ($410)
Kinetica posts the small blind of $10
plastikcards posts the big blind of $20
The button is in seat #5
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to HAAANH [6s 7h]
dreamofsuccess folds
Skyline985 folds
jcreachbaum1 folds
HAAANH has 15 seconds left to act
HAAANH raises to $70
Kinetica folds
plastikcards calls $50
*** FLOP *** [Js 9d 9h]
plastikcards checks
HAAANH bets $111
plastikcards calls $111
*** TURN *** [Js 9d 9h] [8s]
plastikcards checks
HAAANH has 15 seconds left to act
HAAANH checks
*** RIVER *** [Js 9d 9h 8s] [5s]
plastikcards bets $279
HAAANH has 15 seconds left to act
HAAANH has requested TIME
HAAANH raises to $821
plastikcards raises to $2,957.50, and is all in

My current thoughts:  preflop was a standard button raise, flop was a standard c-bet.   The turn is an interesting spot.

Arguments in favor of bluffing the turn

  • He’s never coming over the top unless I am drawing dead.
  • If he flat calls, it gives me credibility to bluff if the river is a blank.  His hand will be face up at that point as usually Jx, and A9 at best, which he will fold many rivers at least some % of the time assuming I fire a third barrel.
  • I probably have outs.
Arguments against bluffing the turn
  • There are so many semibluffing hands I could have, he will almost always call with Jx, and a good percent of the time will call any blank river as well since the pot is not too big and it is a chance to get some idea of how I play.
  • I might not have any outs at all, and if he check calls and then I hit on the river, I probably won’t make much unless I hit a 4.
  • If I had AT or KT or spades I would check the turn a good percentage of the time, so I can credibly represent those if they have a straight or flush on the river.
  • If I check, I get to see the river, as well as how he responds to it.  All things being nebulously equal, I might as well make my bets with a little more information.  In a macro sense, I would prefer to hold off on a risky triple barrel until I knew more about the opponent I was up against.
In summary, checking doesn’t mean giving up the pot, but firing probably isn’t too bad either.
The river illustrates a problem with going for thin value when you have shown confirmable weakness in a hand and your opponent has not.  I am going to fire the turn 100% of the time with a full house or quads.  Therefore I should never raise the river here for value.  I am giving him carte blanche to use his deep stack leverage to push me off of my entire range.
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Villain is very aggressive. He’s trying to win every pot and for the most part succeeding. I played back at him once and got it in with 66 vs his KK on our other table (we were just 100bbs deep there). He’s called me down extremely light with A high twice (losing once), and snapped me off the first time I ran a big bluff. He’s been repopping me really small, just 3x, and I’ve been calling a decent amount since we are so deep.$2000.00 NL Texas Hold’em – Saturday, June 21, 02:57:31 2008
Table Newman (deep hu) (Real Money)
Seat 2 is the button
Seat 1: Sleepy_Hippo ( $5974.50 )
Seat 2: HAAANH ( $4368.50 )
HAAANH posts the small blind [$10.00].
Sleepy_Hippo posts the big blind [$20.00].
** Dealing down cards **
Dealt to HAAANH [ 9d Jh ]
HAAANH raises [$50.00]
Sleepy_Hippo raises [$160.00]
HAAANH calls [$120.00]
** Dealing Flop ** [ Th, 8h, 4d ]
Sleepy_Hippo bets [$240.00]
HAAANH calls [$240.00]
** Dealing Turn ** [ 7c ]
Sleepy_Hippo bets [$500.00]
HAAANH raises [$1500.00]
Sleepy_Hippo calls [$1000.00]
** Dealing River ** [ 2h ]
Sleepy_Hippo bets [$3840.00]2500 to me
I posted this in the 2+2 high stakes forum and was ridiculed by several winning players for even questioning whether to call.  In retrospect I should not have posted on 2+2 so much, especially about HU hands where there is a great deal of subjectivity.
Preflop is completely standard.  When playing 200 BBs deep, there is no reason to fold any hand you have raised with from the button to a reraise by your opponent when it’s only $120 to enter a pot with $200 already in it.  Any player that worked his way up to high stakes knows this, so it’s clear my opponent is an amateur since he keeps setting up a situation where there is a big pot and he is out of position.  Also, as I said, he is aggressive.  And I do have the nut straight.  For the people on the forums, that is apparently enough to call.
The problem is that a straight has relative worth, and my opponent is never betting a worse hand for value; all of those hands (sets, two pair, AA perhaps) would have rather shoved on the turn.  On the river, my hand might as well be pocket kings, or AT, because they effectively have the same worth as a bluffcatcher.  If he had T9, 89, or 79, he would just check the river because there is a chance I bluffed the turn, and his hand has showdown value.  He could have A9 or K9, or be turning a pair + busted straight draw into a bluff, but I’m not going to give someone who plays so amateurishly credit for being capable of that.  It’s clear that his most likely hand is two hearts.  I folded.

The Freeze and the Thaw

First entry in a chronicle prefacing the opening of the Lunar Market.

September 21, 2080

Time-Life Magazine for Tablet

The Freeze and the Thaw

By 2060, advances in quantum computing had finally had a decade’s chance to percolate from the purely academic community to industry.  This process took intensive efforts of a collaborative between MIT, Berkeley, and several shadowy think tanks whose domestic loyalty was closely monitored by the US government.  The goal of the project was one of abstraction; to hide the lower-level differences between quantum computing and binary obsolescence such that, in the eyes of a lay-person, the only advancement between the two was the drastic reduction of computational latency.  The higher the level of abstraction from the concept of superposition, the more people would have access to this acceleration of the pace of information technology.

The earliest quantum processors were used to power heavily automated testing of those very processors’ siblings, testing which revealed flaws that took a long time to iron out at the basic engineering level.  By 2064, several Unix-based operating systems throughout the US were being powered by quantum chips.  Higher level user-interfaces were built, and the industries which had invested through the think tanks began to exploit the newfound computing power.

Quantum Computing used to be a mythic branch of Computer Science.  Academics would joke that any societal advances it could lead to would be preemptively undercut by the destruction of the global infrastructure due to encryption-cracking.  This is because RSA, the most widely-used form of encryption, had its impenetrability predicated upon humanity’s lack of an ability to factor large prime numbers in a reasonable amount of time, and Shor’s Algorithm is capable of factoring large primes in polynomial time when run on a quantum computer.

Many theorize that it was a hobbled and disenfranchised China that was responsible for bringing the economy to its knees on December 5th, 2065, when an anonymous group or individual gained access to Pfizer’s poorly-secured quantum computer, which was being used to run government-sponsored brute force drug-viability simulations.  The hacker(s) then relegated the prominently visible drug testing software to performing less computationally intensive processes (such as mapping aspirin isomers) so that most of the computer’s resources could be surreptitiously devoted to breaking the RSA barriers of several small investment banks.

By the time Pfizer discovered the malicious background process, the hackers had snowballed their attack into a distributed-denial-of-service assailment that slowed the global economy into a shutdown unlike anything since the days following September 11th.  The world’s leading scientists (with the absence of an ostracized China) immediately convened to develop a form of secure communication.  Without one, the global economy could not be safely resuscitated.  The result of this convention is the “Prince Tony” (an anagram for encryption) algorithm; a massive system of logical hoops that sender information must be sent through in order to accomplish the same goal of RSA; simultaneous signing and encryption.

The details behind the implementation of the Prince Tony encryption algorithm have been intentionally obfuscated.  In fact, what little is publicly understood about the algorithm comes from a past winner of the International Obfuscated C Code Contest, Albrecht Chutney.  His attempt at a publicly consumable Wiki detailing how the algorithm works was cut short when he suffered a nervous breakdown from which he has yet to recover.   His mental exhaustion has been described as “the result of a collision between an unstoppably explicative force and an inexplicable object.”  Other academics who understand the algorithm in abstract terms know better than to try to explain it at a lower level.  In an age of effectively infinite computing power, easily explainable algorithms are also easily exploitable.

During the market freeze, the world’s largest banks latently poised themselves to take advantage of the eventual market thaw.  A frozen market is a harbinger of a flurry of activity; every day the market was closed was like a unit of compression being added to a spring that would release as soon as the market opened.  Every day brought information that could not be acted upon immediately, and banks had their programmers and number-crunchers working eighteen hour days and setting up cots next to their cubicles in order to prepare their software to deal with this abrupt change in market conditions.

On January 2nd, 2066, global markets reopened to large-scale fluctuation.  Changes in market software had been insufficiently debugged, and rapid computational miscalculations led to dipping and rebounding with greater severity than that of any of the flash crashes that had occurred in the prior fifty years.  Everline Financial emerged from the subsequent month’s market turmoil as the largest corporation in America, a triumph largely attributed to a strategic deference to human decisions during a time of banking’s over-reliance on technology.  Everline did not abandon the use of computers altogether, but they did assign a higher standard deviation of certitude to their programs, and this was the key to their success.

Throughout January, the market would sputter for days before taking sharp upturns into temporarily buoyed bull markets. Within each cycle’s period, Everline would carefully pick which companies to invest heavily in, focusing on emerging areas of technology with an emphasis on galactic exploration.

The 2066 Freeze and Thaw was thus the first step towards privatized space colonization.  It was the wise investments of Everline that arguably kept the US from crumbling into a subdued economy not unlike that of the early 2010’s, and instead directed it towards lunar intrepidity.  It is no surprise then that Everline is seen as such a benefactor of American capitalism.

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****About the author****

Paydan Onthutake is an itinerant journalist and professor of public relations at the Rupert Murdoch School of Journalism.