Wednesday, June 29, 2005

possible Appendix for Pot Odds

The feedback I've been receiving on DIPO is mixed. Some people like it and have commented they think its the best chapter on Pot Odds they have ever seen. Others say it is too complicated, and they offer ways they think are better and/or easier. I've responded to these messages by saying that I do think different people will prefer different methods, and thus I need to add an Appendix with other methods so players can choose which one they are comfortable with. I have started formulating this possible appendix - starting with this post I made on 2+2. I have copied my post here, the first post in the thread, posted by "binions", is here:

I think you have a point. For some people (including you), Abdul's method is easier. But for others, memorization is easier (as chson posted).

So there is a scale of:

simplication - complication

But the other dimension of the scale is:

understanding - memorization

What chson posted was clearly memorization. He, along with others who have noted this to me, has memorized a table regarding how big the pot odds is needed given the number of outs they have. I don't doubt that some people can memorize these charts and have a full understanding of what they mean - however I also believe its easy to fall into a trap of memorizing these charts and lose the understanding of "why".

Back to Abdul's method - adding one to the expected pot size, and then mulitplying it by the number of outs - is correct, but I don't think its intuitive. I think its easy for the practitioner to memorize it, but forget exactly why it should be done that way. Many people can move the algebra equation around to figure out DIPO and Abdul's method are the same, but many cannot. I think Abdul's method is "simpler" on the simplication - complication scale, but also it requires more "memorization" and less "understanding" on the memorization - understanding scale.

Every method has its own place on the scale. Its a matter of how the user thinks and what he is comfortable with that decides which method he should use and where he should be on that scale. As I have posted before, I need to write an Appendix on this for my next edition.

Here are some pot odds calculation methods and where I think they are on the scale. 10 being most extreme to the right, and 1 being most extreme to the left. A 10 on the simplication - complication scale is very complicated. A 1 on the memorization - understanding scale is only memorization. (of course people can still disagree with me on these scale numbers )

EV: S-C = 10 / M-U = 10
DIPO: S-C = 6 / M-U = 8
Abdul: S-C = 4 / M-U = 5
Tables: S-C = 1 / M-U = 2

To me, there is an obvious correlation between the S-C and the M-U scales. In order to simplify, you'll have to memorize. This means giving up some understanding (note - I don't mean that the person that memorizes necessarily doesn't understand - its that it is easy for the memorizer to not understand - or to forget the reasons "why" - because the memorizer doesn't need to understand).

I also think a third dimension is useful to think about - and that's how to adjust when circumstances are different. This includes thinking about pot odds situations on the Flop (rather than the Turn), and what happens when there is 2 bets to you (or a chance of 2 bets if you are not closing the action). The correct application of DIPO does a good job in both instances (multiply the Bad Number by the number of total bets: 2 if there is a bet and a raise; 1.5 if there is a bet, and you think there's a 50% chance of a raise behind you). Its not easy in the beginning, but once one gets used to it, its not difficult. I think the flow of understanding is good in using DIPO - from the normal Turn situation of only 1 bet to when there are more than 1 bet. Using Abdul's method, the equation would become: [Outs x (EPS +2 )] / 2 (I think I converted the algebra correctly, correct me if I'm wrong). To me, that is not only exponentially complicated but also is now 100% memorization, because one has to memorize this formula. There may be another way to simplify it to make it less complicated, but it would still include 100% memorization of the formula, which again, can lead to non-understanding.

The tables that some people memorize for pot odds may work too, but it gets more complicated. Say someone has bet in front of you - you think you have 5 clean outs, and the expected pot size is 8. If you close the action, your memorized table tells you that you can call. But you think there is a 50% chance that someone in back of you will raise if you call. If you are comparing a Pot Size of 8 to 5 outs as a clear call, then how do you adjust for the possibility of a raise behind you? Its not as easy now.

Let's backtrack and say there is a bet and a raise in front of you. Then you can say the Pot Size to Bet Size is 4 (Expected Pot Size of 8, but you gotta put in 2 bets, so 8 / 2 = 4). Now you can compare 4 to 5, and its not a call. But if there is a 50% of a raise behind you, then half the time the Pot Odds is 8, the other half the Pot Odds is 4....for Pot odds of 6. Maybe there's an easier way to do it, but since I don't use the memorization tables, I can't come up with an easier way right now. Even using these tables, you need to do some mental gymnastics at the table to figure things out - all that with the possibility of not truly understanding what you are doing.

I think this is a good start for my appendix. I will need to clean it up and probably make corrections that others will point out to me shortly.

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