Monday, January 03, 2005

A couple weeks ago, I came across an awesome program called Poker Tracker. It does statistical analysis on your online poker play. Aside from it being slightly un-user-friendly at first (due mainly to the wealth of things it can do), I love it. My free trial has almost expired, and I plan to buy it as soon as it does.

I decided to analyze my play of the "blackjack hands." You know, the hands that look good when you're playing blackjack, but are typically unadvisable to play in poker. (Ax suited and Kx suited fall into this category as well). That's right - the oh so tempting ones that I just can't seem to get away from. I don't play them hard - I'll limp for a cheap flop with a hand like Q-10. It feels so harmless to just fold after the flop, feeling satisfied that I could have won a hand, and didn't lose much seeing a flop. But, harmless it certainly is not! After seeing the cold hard facts (in terms of chips lost) playing these hands, I realize that those calls are costing me chips that translate into real cash in games lost.

Here are my numbers from playing online this week. For sake of discussion, let's consider premium hands to be pocket pairs 7 and higher, A-K, and A-Q.

Premium hand statistics:

34 hands, 18 won (53%). Net profit: 200 chips/hand. AQs hit me hard on 2 hands, as did pocket 9's.

Based on all of the bad beats I've seen online lately (see the end of my previous post), I don't think my average chip win per hand is as high as it should be for my premium hands, but hopefully it's just a string of bad luck I'm in.

Marginal hand statistics:

Ax suited where x<10 (A9 suited, A8 suited, etc):
13 hands, 2 won (15.4%), net loss: 192 chips/hand

Blackjack hands:
AJ, A10, KQ, KJ, K10, QJ, Q10, J10
48 hands, 12 won (25%), net loss: 16 chips/hand

Kx suited where x<10
10 hands, 1 won (10%), net loss: 1 chip/hand

Total marginal stats: 15 for 71 (21% won), with an average loss of over 200 chips per hand.

Ouch.

Granted, this is only 71 hands - but I have a feeling that statistically, things don't look much better over the long term.

They say that discipline and patience are two of the most important traits of any good poker player. I pride myself in my patience, most of the time. But somehow, I allowed myself over the past year to add these marginal hands to my list of "playable hands." Looking at the numbers, it hasn't been a profitable addition for me. Quite the contrary.

What to do? Stop playing marginal hands! I've got to exercise a bit more of that patience stuff and start folding these marginal hands. Seeing as I'm not much of a bluffer, (who am I fooling - I've never actually truly bluffed in my life... the occasional semi-bluff but that's it), I can't pull off playing these marginal hands. To my credit, I can see from the low number of chips I lost in each of the marginal hands I played, I did succeed in folding quickly if the flop missed me. There wasn't really any single hand that killed me - just many many little hands, sucking away at my chip stack. That however doesn't make it right, and just because it's playable in blackjack doesn't mean it's a playable poker hand! And as always, just because it's suited doesn't mean it's playable, either!

Definitely an eye-opener for me.

1 Comment:

  1. Dr. Pauly said...
    PT will be the best investment you make this year!! Blog looks good. Best of luck at the tables.

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