Poker strategy, long term win

Posted on 2009-04-26
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-11-13
Is there a poker strategy which - in the long run - virtually guarantees a gain?
Question by:InteractiveMind
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Assisted Solution

ozo earned 900 total points
ID: 24238013
not against other players playing the same strategy
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Author Comment

ID: 24238028
How about a strategy which virtually guarantees that you won't lose?
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Expert Comment

ID: 24238058
There's the strategy of not playing.
How about a nice game of chess?
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Accepted Solution

richdiesal earned 600 total points
ID: 24238171
It depends a bit on the type of poker - are you talking about poker against other people or against a computer/video poker?  Video poker cannot be reliably won as a player; you are playing against the odds, and the payouts are always set up so that you will lose money in the long run.

Against another person, the only way to always win or reliably gain in any game is if you are playing a predictable opponent, have a limited set of possible futures, and your opponent isn't doing the same thing.  Poker doesn't have any of these: unpredictable members of a finite set of possible cards must be played, so while the number of possible hands is limited, there is no way to be sure which you'll come up with.  While your odds might be reasonable initially, they might tank at the turn of the last card.  There's no way to predict it perfectly.  Your opponent is human, and therefore not wholly predictable (although the best poker players are very good at reading others).

And of course, if your opponent ever figured out your strategy, then its weaknesses could be exploited.  A certain degree of randomness is required as well.

I'm with ozo - if you want predictability, try chess.  Or set up your own video poker machine and have other people bet _their_ money.
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ozo earned 900 total points
ID: 24238546
I wonder if the quote would be more recognizable in ALL CAPS

But in theory, there is an optimal poker strategy, which gets so complicated when you include bluffing that no one knows exactly what it is.
Even playing an optimal strategy does not guarantee that you won't lose,
unless you start with a virtually infinite amount of money compared to your opponents.
But again. you can't play that strategy if everyone else is playing that strategy.
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Expert Comment

ID: 24240005
>> I wonder if the quote would be more recognizable in ALL CAPS

;) Joshua figured it out ... Now we'll just have to wait for the rest of the world to do the same.
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Assisted Solution

NovaDenizen earned 260 total points
ID: 24243265
Maybe it would be better to think about it in terms of an optimal rock-paper-scissors strategy.  According to game theory, the perfect strategy is to play completely randomly.  This will guarantee 1/3 wins, 1/3 losses, and 1/3 ties no matter what strategy your opponent uses.

However, in the real world you will not be playing against a perfect opponent.  They will probably be using a nonrandom strategy, even if they think they are using a random strategy.  So, if you can gain some insight into their strategy, you can construct a better strategy that will have an advantage over theirs.  This strategy you construct will be particular to the opponent, and generally it wouldn't be a good idea to use it against other opponents, where it might perform worse than random.  But you can't always gain insight into an opponent's strategy.

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Assisted Solution

NerdsOfTech earned 240 total points
ID: 24266666
Other than TABLE POSITION tactics, and risk/reward management, combination mathematics, and money management FACTORS:

The OPTIMAL STRATEGY in poker is OPTIMIZED PSYCHOLOGY: to FORCE YOUR OPPONENT(s) to THINK that you have the BEST HAND when you DON'T (without calling you on it)  and that you DON'T have the BEST HAND when YOU DO (and call on their mistaken intuition).


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Author Closing Comment

ID: 31574757
Thank you, everyone.

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