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Anybody else play poker?


DTEJD1997
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Hey all:

 

Anybody else play poker here?

 

I do play from time to time.

 

The Motorcity Casino now has a "bad beat" jackpot of about $800k.  Their poker room is constantly packed.  They took out some slot machines to add more poker tables!

 

Their "bad beat" jackpot is the largest I've ever seen or heard of, and I've been playing for about 15 years.

 

There are many, many places to legally play poker in & around Detroit & the midwest.

 

I find a lot of concepts from poker can be applied to investing.

 

Any thoughts?

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There are lots of players on this board, just search this forum for 'poker'.

 

During the boom I played semi-professionally for a while, both on- and offline. I was a marginally winning player, others on this forum did much better than I did. Nevertheless I'm glad I did it. I agree that if you really study the game there are a lot of concepts that also apply to investing (i.e. focusing on the process rather than the outcome, always weighing a range of future scenarios, bankroll management, etc.).

 

What I appreciate the most afterwards though is that a short stint of full-time poker had the side effect of being a crash course on money management & psychology. Feeling like shit after blowing half your bankroll or after losing a big pot as a massive favorite. Forcing bad plays because you are tired of getting dealt bad cards. Trying to get 'break-even'. Feeling miserable or euphoric simply due to variance. Seeing others go broke because of terrible risk management. Realizing that those who talk the loudest and have the strongest opinions are not necessarily the best players. Being tricked by angle-shooters. Learning that you don't make good decisions when you are tired, drunk, euphoric or angry. Understanding that frictional costs like rake and tips have a big influence on your profitability and that table-selection is perhaps more important than playing well. You can read all the books you want but I think you actually have to experience these things to really understand the importance of rationality, patience, risk management and emotional control when large sums of money are involved. You have to experience losing money to get good at it :) .

 

And because poker is much more fast-paced than investing I think you can master (or at least understand) these concepts way faster playing poker than managing your portfolio. Feedback in investing is far more vague and longer-term, which makes it a much harder environment to learn anything. In investing you can have, for example, a portfolio with a 100% VRX allocation and feel for a decade you are the smartest guy on the planet.

 

That said, I don't play poker anymore. Frankly the game was mostly interesting to me as a means to increase my net worth. Nowadays the games are too tough for that, especially online. And real-life poker is so slow and boring if you are used to online multi-tabling. Sitting the whole evening at a table with 8 salty grinders drinking sparkling water while trying to bust the single fish is just such a nightmare .. I currently think investing is a much broader and more intellectually rewarding 'game' than poker. Also, poker doesn't scale well - with investing your profits are a percentage of your net worth. With poker that is not the case unless you are playing with Andy Beal.

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Also played professionally for roughly five years, now I don't play at all anymore.

 

I think it has been a good way to get to know some important concepts that apply to investing as well. Especially learning to distinguish the difference between process and outcome (I see so many investors who think that they made a bad investment when it lost money for example, or vice versa when it made money) and risk management as well (trying to optimize for long-term growth rate which implies by necessity a very low probability of catastrophic losses).

 

Having said that, I wonder how helpful learning poker really is. My hypothesis is that looking at professional poker players you simply select the people who have the innate physiological and mental capabilities to do well, both as a poker player and as an investor. If they didn't they wouldn't have been able to become poker professionals. Of course, not every poker professional could be a good investor and not every good investor could become a good poker player, but there is a large overlap there.

 

Munger remarked something about him being good, but not smart enough to not let on that he thought he was the best player in the room. That's something I was certainly very guilty of in my youthful arrogance.

In live games I love(d) to present the image of a very straight forward tight ABC player, and then use that to be able to represent big hands whenever I wanted them. Works well until you get caught :D

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By 'poker', you mean the game of playing with a metal rod to stir fire?

Disclosure: no need to answer.

writser, I am learning to respect you.

 

I am not wired for poker. To get a high return on equity, prefer large margin and low turnover.

I admire though players who succeed on the edge.

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I played full-time for a few years and would reiterate everything said so far. One other trait poker helped me with is accepting new information (good or bad), not emotionally reacting to it, and just focusing on making the best decision with the new information. This mostly applied in live poker. If I'm sitting at a table and the worst (or best) river card hits, I can't react at all to it. I just have to accept the new information and make the make best play I can given the new card and any new action. I agree with Hielko that it's probably my disposition anyway (low key, unemotional), but playing live poker emphasized that trait.

 

There's also no better crash course in variance and thinking about everything in terms of expected value. I still think about stupid things like choosing which line to stand in or picking my walking route to the gym in terms of which has the best expected value (shortest time) and whether that differs from the one that has the least variance and how so. Definitely made me appreciate how much luck and variance is in the world.

 

I still love playing, but only get to ~once a month or so. Haven't played seriously in years though, now it's just an occasional $50 game with friends (which is the most fun way to play anyway).

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Having said that, I wonder how helpful learning poker really is. My hypothesis is that looking at professional poker players you simply select the people who have the innate physiological and mental capabilities to do well, both as a poker player and as an investor. If they didn't they wouldn't have been able to become poker professionals. Of course, not every poker professional could be a good investor and not every good investor could become a good poker player, but there is a large overlap there.

 

Good point (doesn't bode well for my investment career ...). However, I think that IF you have the capabilities to be good in both, poker serves as a nice training ground. Fast-paced, lots of clear moments to make decisions and relatively easy to judge your decision-making in hindsight.

 

@Travis: interesting that you still like the homegames. I can't play them seriously anymore. What's the point of folding for hours to outplay your friends for a $5 pot? If no money is (or token amounts are) on the line, there are dozens of board / card games I'd rather play. I guess I just lost interest. Or I am a thrill-seeking gambling addict. Probably a bit of both :) .

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@Travis: interesting that you still like the homegames. I can't play them seriously anymore. What's the point of folding for hours to outplay your friends for a $5 pot? If no money is (or token amounts are) on the line, there are dozens of board / card games I'd rather play. I guess I just lost interest. Or I am a thrill-seeking gambling addict. Probably a bit of both :) .

 

Don't fold for hours for starters :) I play wayyyy looser in small home games, don't take it seriously at all and just focus on having fun. Ideally I'd break even every time I play, but that's obviously not possible. There have been several times where I'm up big and purposely dump money at the end of the night though (good thing none of my poker friends are on this site lol). I really enjoy poker and trying to outplay people in big pots, but I'm also not trying to take money from my friends. It's also a good excuse to get a group of friends together to hang out for a couple hours.

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Like many on this thread, I played when porker was popular. I stopped as the online game got tougher and I lost my edge. Nowadays, I only play when I'm on a cruise ship since most of players on ship are recreational and odds of winning is much better than in a local casino.

 

I also like other strategic games, such as bridge, go, etc.

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Used to play quite a bit, along with Chess. Both I think are great supplemental, yet fun ways to develop a mental state necessary to succeed with investing.

 

I remember talking to someone who was quite ecstatic about his last couple trades. The subject came up about how there really isn't much structurally different from the trades that work and those that don't; it's really just luck/variance when the framework used for the trade is the same. Which is exactly like poker. You have a strategy and the cards can fall however. You're not great at poker because you hit a straight on the river just as you aren't terrible because your straight loses on the river because your opponent landed his full house/ But over time if your strategy is sound and you have the discipline, you should make out alright.

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I have played bridge in the past. Not very well.

 

 

Might be fun to play it again, but don't have time.

 

On the other hand, I'm either too tired to deep think in the evenings or if I'm not tired, then I might as well do investing/work/courses/etc.

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Used to grind SnG's online for some extra cash during my college years, though for me this was not a thinking game.

I did this mostly on auto pilot, multi tabling 6-10 games and watching TV.

It was never going to make me rich but netting +/- 15€/h while watching tv was a nice way to make a couple of k's for parties, consoles and traveling.

Then some asshole wrote a book about how to play SnG's and everyone started doing it my way, causing my RoI to drop.

 

Never play online anymore, still enjoy the occasional cash game with friends though the group has shrunk down to only the few that can handle a loss. :)

 

@Travis: interesting that you still like the homegames. I can't play them seriously anymore. What's the point of folding for hours to outplay your friends for a $5 pot? If no money is (or token amounts are) on the line, there are dozens of board / card games I'd rather play. I guess I just lost interest. Or I am a thrill-seeking gambling addict. Probably a bit of both :) .

 

Maybe you want to play something other than AK or better?  ;)

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Used to grind SnG's online for some extra cash during my college years, though for me this was not a thinking game.

I did this mostly on auto pilot, multi tabling 6-10 games and watching TV.

It was never going to make me rich but netting +/- 15€/h while watching tv was a nice way to make a couple of k's for parties, consoles and traveling.

Then some asshole wrote a book about how to play SnG's and everyone started doing it my way, causing my RoI to drop.

 

Never play online anymore, still enjoy the occasional cash game with friends though the group has shrunk down to only the few that can handle a loss. :)

 

@Travis: interesting that you still like the homegames. I can't play them seriously anymore. What's the point of folding for hours to outplay your friends for a $5 pot? If no money is (or token amounts are) on the line, there are dozens of board / card games I'd rather play. I guess I just lost interest. Or I am a thrill-seeking gambling addict. Probably a bit of both :) .

 

Maybe you want to play something other than AK or better?  ;)

Folding for hours is maybe a bit exaggerated but live you play maybe 25 hands/hour. Game is usually full ring with 10 persons. 15% vpip for full ring is sort of loose (most live regs play more, but most have huge leaks in their game as well...) so you play 3 or 4 hands on average per hour. Most hands end quickly (you raise, people fold or you get reraised and you fold etc) so it's usually pretty boring.

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Maybe you want to play something other than AK or better?  ;)

 

My point was that even playing halfway decent in a homegame with friends is so boring that I usually play like a total clown for ten hands, go bust and then wonder why I bothered to join the game ..

 

/offtopic: I really enjoy chess as well. Unfortunately I only started playing in my late twenties so I'll probably never get good at tactics despite my practicing. I joined a chess class for a while and the kids always were better tactically. It's really amazing how quick young kids can pick that up. I learned how to beat them in competitive games though: feed them red bull and candy and spend 30 minutes on your first 5 moves :P .

 

I never tried bridge. Probably a fun game too but only so much you can master.

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Probably should have clarified we play dealer's choice with some made up, high action games mixed in. The best is a double board, split pot PLO game we invented. No 15% VPIPs allowed :) Once I started playing more poker games I couldn't go back to hold em.

 

In terms of other games, I've really come to like Backgammon. Unfortunately I don't have any friends who play, but I probably average ~20 games per week playing against a computer. It's a healthy mix of short-term luck and long-term skill just like poker and investing.

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Been playing since the late 1960's. Public card room games in Vegas and SoCal at medium stakes (5-10 NL) and up have gotten very tough. Even 2-5 seems to have quite a few competent players when I've looked at that. Higher stakes wannabe pros  keep moving down the food chain trying to find games they can beat. Very few, if any, new recreational are players coming into the games. The rake keeps going up. Skill levels continue to equalize.  Looks like a race to the bottom.

 

 

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I used to play poker. But now I am learning to play bridge, inspired by WEB. I am reading books and signed up for a class for beginners.

 

It is said keeping your brain alertitive will also help extend your life.

 

Bridge hype. I come from a blue collar small town type of family and my grandfather's brother brought the game along when he moved back after retiring from a senior job at a large Canadian bank. I remember my dad, uncle, granddad and granddad's brother playing til 5 am every other weekend. Good times. Their wives and kids got in on it too, and the uncle's wife was probably the best player of them all, by my estimation.

 

The grandpa brother taught everyone the basics of how to bid based off some popular system, and the others quickly became beasts. My dad, mom, brother and I still get together from time to time to play some games, have a drink and enjoy some time together. Our bidding is pretty much nonsense, but we make some alright plays and have tons of fun.

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Folding for hours is maybe a bit exaggerated but live you play maybe 25 hands/hour. Game is usually full ring with 10 persons. 15% vpip for full ring is sort of loose (most live regs play more, but most have huge leaks in their game as well...) so you play 3 or 4 hands on average per hour. Most hands end quickly (you raise, people fold or you get reraised and you fold etc) so it's usually pretty boring.

 

Well for casino games I understand.

My homegames are usually 4-6 people max (it does get boring otherwise) so we are able to play pretty loose.

The thing is I know these guys very well and they know me, which makes it a lot more interesting to play even the weak hands.

 

I remember calling out of position (BB) against a small raise on the button with 39o. Terrible move online but if you know the people you are playing, it creates options... I hit the 9 on the flop as TPWK, turn & river were Q & K and I got raised on everytime (all-in on river). In a real game you fold every chance possible but the guy was one of my best friends, he knew I was weak... and I knew he knew that. Something inside me just screamed like he was pushing me off the pot so I made the call, he had Ace high.  8)

 

Now I am not stating this was a good poker play but it was just so much fun and memorable (we still talk about it, happened 7 years ago) that I don't mind loosing some money on playing too loose just to have these kind of moments. :) In the end that is what these games are all about for me, fun with friends.

 

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Started my investing capital from 3 years play from 2005-2008. Made pretty good money grinding NL$1-$2 and NL$2-$4. Games got so tough in 2008 that I just stopped playing (finished university too). Tried playing a bit later in 2011 and games were insanely tough. Must be impossible to beat above $5 buyin games now (for me at least).

 

Was fun and very profitable (hourly rate from 2005-2008 is still higher than my hourly rate now and I've got a pretty good job!), but ultimately quite empty. No social interaction, no adding value to society.

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In the end that is what these games are all about for me, fun with friends.

That's what all the fish recreational players say and do ;). Constantly trying big bluffs and big calls chasing that epic moment of being right, quickly forgetting all the times it didn't work.

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In the end that is what these games are all about for me, fun with friends.

That's what all the fish recreational players say and do ;). Constantly trying big bluffs and big calls chasing that epic moment of being right, quickly forgetting all the times it didn't work.

 

Or the people who have the social grace to dick around when the occasion warrants it. Are you that guy who tryhards against kids and taunts them and crap?

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In the end that is what these games are all about for me, fun with friends.

That's what all the fish recreational players say and do ;). Constantly trying big bluffs and big calls chasing that epic moment of being right, quickly forgetting all the times it didn't work.

 

Or the people who have the social grace to dick around when the occasion warrants it. Are you that guy who tryhards against kids and taunts them and crap?

Why would you think that? Most halfway decent (live) pro's knows that having some table etiquette is part of the game (obviously there are exceptions...).

 

PS. Have never seen kids at a poker table :?

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I used to play poker. But now I am learning to play bridge, inspired by WEB. I am reading books and signed up for a class for beginners.

 

It is said keeping your brain alertitive will also help extend your life.

 

Bridge hype. I come from a blue collar small town type of family and my grandfather's brother brought the game along when he moved back after retiring from a senior job at a large Canadian bank. I remember my dad, uncle, granddad and granddad's brother playing til 5 am every other weekend. Good times. Their wives and kids got in on it too, and the uncle's wife was probably the best player of them all, by my estimation.

 

The grandpa brother taught everyone the basics of how to bid based off some popular system, and the others quickly became beasts. My dad, mom, brother and I still get together from time to time to play some games, have a drink and enjoy some time together. Our bidding is pretty much nonsense, but we make some alright plays and have tons of fun.

 

I started with office poker games and soon migrated to bridge following WEB.  I have been an ACBL member since 2005 and make it a point to play in at least one regional/sectional when I am in the US.  Other times I play online at BBO with the same handle seshnath.

 

I am enjoying it so far.

- Nathan

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