behavior podcast

Apostlypse Now

TBR vanguard member Jason talks with me about two big events in poker. The first is the Mike Postle scandal at Sacramento’s Stones Gambling Hall, which has dominated poker social media all week. The second, a quieter affair but of equal importance to the future of the game, is Kat Arnsby’s blog post on poker and its grand marketing error. However, on account of recurring tech issues, I transcribed, edited/amended the conversation(s) rather than publish the podcast recording. Pardon the transcription errors still remaining.

Chris: Welcome to a special edition of the poker Zoo. Frankly, I never wanted to do this  kind of broadcast, which is exactly why I’m doing it. You always have to do these things that you hate, because, like that line in the greatest movie ever, the Godfather part 3, you know, just when they think you’re out, they pull you back in. So, welcome to the podcast, Jason Burge. Jason: Yeah. I’m glad to be on for the impromptu podcast especially for topics like this week’s. Chris: It’s a really big week, right? Jason: I haven’t slept all week. This is the most exciting excited I’ve been about anything for a while… Mike Postle, the God, just owning everybody over and over. It’s incredible. Chris: Right? So we’re here today to break down his winning techniques and help you crush like Mike Postle… Jason: right, wait… for a look and see what my dogs… Chris: Right, even your dog didn’t believe me. Look, everyone is going to do this with one hundred percent more furor than I am because I essentially don’t care as much as they do or they pretend to, which probably isn’t that good, but there are things about it that are important about poker culture. I think one of the reasons I want to talk to Jason is because he’s been in the mix. Jason: Well, it’s there’s some funny stuff but it’s also extremely frustrating to read some of the comments that people put out there because it’s, I mean, I don’t know, I just want everyone to see it my way and when they don’t it obviously leads to frustration. But you know, I’m open-minded…

Veronica Brill, no longer an employee of Stones Gambling Hall, began the process of outing Postle on September 28th through criticizing the process management used to respond to private complaints.

Chris: Tell us what’s going on.  Jason: Yeah, I mean, you know of all the people interacting in the in the Twitter universe, which generally you know, I mean this is a little weird to say, you mean usually the Twitter universe doesn’t seem all that smart anyways, but then you get into this segment of this poker cheating scandal and you see a lot of people making reasonable, you know, assumptions I think about what’s going on and then there’s just so many people that they just play very ignorant to it and I get it, you know, you don’t want to accuse somebody of cheating, you know, that’s, it’s a big deal and it should be taking taken seriously. But after you watch the hands that this guy plays I mean, it just becomes so clear that something isn’t right and you know, there’s I mean, there’s just so many factors. To go into kind of proving this where you know, he’s got a crazy hourly rate of last I’ve seen it’s like a thousand dollars an hour at 1/3. He hasn’t made a single mistake at all in several hours of streams… several hands he’s played he’s just absolutely perfect in his decision making… and then you’ll see people who have I believe they’ve watched these videos and kind of looked over this stuff and they’ll say “yeah, I don’t think I don’t see anything wrong. Someone’s going to have to show me a device he’s wearing that he’s cheating with for me to believe it” and you know what I keep saying on here as it’s like, you know, these are poker players who are playing a game where they have to make decisions constantly with limited information and just you know, they have to make kind of big judgments off of little piece of information they pick up along the way and when you see people get like this massive amount of information where a guy is just playing like I mean, God-like, and he’s never wrong and he always wins the big pot and he always makes just the perfect play and they can’t make that connection. They’re just like no, I think he’s just really good at poker, and it’s just it’s such a leap. I can’t even wrap my head around it. It’s amazing to me. Chris: You think he’s guilty. Jason: Oh, yeah, very guilty.  Like I was saying earlier…I don’t know if there’s anything he can do that would make me believe he’s innocent at this point, which is bad, you know, like, because if he is innocent there should be something he can do to like prove that. Chris: I happened to play last night and I made three mistakes. You’re telling me he’s made fewer mistakes in two years of playing then I made in one night? Jason: Yeah, well the streams… you know, I’ve been watching along with Joey Ingram going over these streams and he’s watched two or three streams now and there’s been people picking hands out from from all these different streams, and he just seemed never makes a mistake. Over the course of these two – I think it’s two streams – Joey’s went over to full streams of think they’re like four or five hours. Each [time] Postle hasn’t made one misstep yet. Not one not even close. And the thing that I think is really telling is you know, the other day when Postle was first on Twitter kind of talking he was saying, you know, I’m going to get my friends or whatever and we’re going to find hands where I’ve made mistakes and stuff and he starts posting hands. And you’re just like I think I told him like you know, what the what the… is this… this is what you found and this is like the thing that’s going to make you innocent. He posted a hand where he lost $40 on a river. He called with two pair on a four flush board and like this is a hand that he got sent to him by his friend and he looked at it and said, yep, that’s see here’s where I messed up and I had tweeted to him like, look here’s some tips for you: Like people are accusing you of cheating. You can’t find a hand where you lost like 40 bucks. We need you need to find a hand where you lost like $2,000 or $2500. Let’s say and you like made up a call that you know, no one would get away from and it’s like obvious. You’re just going to lose money on that hand. Like you have to find something like that. Not Chris Moneymaker saying you’re good bowler.

Two days later, Postle issued a series of tweets in response.

Chris: Okay…. he’s being tried in the court of public opinion, right? But you know someone not in poker, someone who’s very smart, said “what’s better than the court of public opinion, that’s actual court”, but we don’t usually have, at least easy or constant access to that – you can just see all the sour deals and cheats that go unlitigated – in our strange little community because we’re not really quite entirely on the up-and-up, right. So in a way poker players are right to… to find this social media justice. But, but it’s not entirely fair, you know on its face, because first of all, this time is different – court is coming. Also let’s imagine a scenario where all the initial evidence is perceived against you. And anyone is following politics for the last couple of years be a little bit more aware of just jumping to conclusions based on media information, especially poker players, who have been very busy on other subjects retweeting some of the most naive shit ever. Jason: Yeah. Chris: So what are the things that are really important and either implicative or suggestive of cheating? Jason: Well, I’ve been so tied up in the actual footage of the hands. So there were two that I kind of tried to connect together to just, you know, to compare a somewhat similar situation to where he took he just happened to take a different line and it just you know, of course happen to be like the absolute perfect thing to do like the first one and I’m not going to remember the exact board here exactly. But people that have seen the hands will know which ones I’m talking about… Chris: You can call it up. I mean, we’ve got the magic internet, Mike Postle’s not the only one with the technology… Jason: It might take me a second to pull them up. But I watched them enough to where I can generally get the gist here. I think so, there’s one hand where he has ace queen of diamonds. And the board is Jack nine seven seven and then I think an eight on the river. So it’s a one liner to a straight, a paired board and there’s also a flush on this board and his opponent has ten eight of diamonds, which is a straight flush on this board… and Mike has ace queen of diamonds. And on the river Mike’s opponent with the straight flush bets a quarter of the pot and Mike… tanks, and makes a very painful call facing this quarter pot bet and you know, of course, it’s the right play knowing what your opponent has right here. And when I was looking on Twitter, you know, some people are like, well, “you know, it’s reasonable the board is paired and all this and”… and I get that but, you know, bet sizing matters and when you’re facing a small bet here, it’s not like the guy is necessarily saying hey, I’ve got quad sevens or a full house or something like that. But you know, you can kind of get on board and say like, okay. Well, maybe Mike just knows that this guy maybe has trouble getting paid off sometimes and maybe he tends to bet smaller when he’s got a good hand. But even then it’s still like, well, I mean you have the ace high flush, I mean, I don’t know if maybe he’s thinking about raising but just looks so painful to call so that hand is the first one the second one is… Chris: Well, let’s ask one question about this… what… was the post-flop action and the preflop action up to that point… indicative of his opponent having a full house? Jason: No. I believe the flop checked through and then on the turn his opponent made, you know, a small bet and Postle called when the flush came in and then on the river, you know, the opponent made a small bet and he called again.Chris: Well, what hands make these small bets as the nuts change on both the turn and river? Jason: I mean the guy could just have like a one pair of hand maybe some stabs, you know, certainly it’s possible that he could have a very strong hand in his range… Chris: Who was in position? Jason: Postle. Chris: Okay. Well, I guess it makes more sense… if his opponent were in position he wouldn’t need to make these small bets… essentially repping trips here, or a straight devalued by the paired board, right? And by the flush, which case Postle the expert player should likely be raising right? The problem is it’s going to be too easy for him to say in this imaginary Court, “well a good player is going to have an inducing range here because he knows that he needs to protect the straights and trips that are going to bet this way right… I’m not going to raise fold, so I don’t see a lot of value in raising.” But you know all this is kind of neither here nor there. I understand that the standard play would be to raise for thin value. Right?

Ingram, who had been retweeted to with the situation on the 28th, picked up the story which was being picked apart by dozens on this thread.

Jason: Right. Okay, and yeah and I should say I would agree if, you know, if he talked about this hand and gave an explanation like that. I would say all right, that’s fair enough, but it’s never about – like it’s easy to come up with an explanation for one of these hands. But I think as we see more and more of the hands it starts to become like okay, well, that’s a little much this point where you… Chris: Right. Tell us about this next one and connect them. Jason: Yeah. So this next hand… this is… now he have flops an open-ender. I think the flop is queen six seven rainbow… I can’t remember exactly the action here. It may have checked through. I don’t think it was significant action. The turn is a seven, now pairing the board similar to the other one, although, you know, the textures a little different, and now the river on this hand comes a four giving Mike the straight with is 8/5 off suit and he checks and his opponent who now over bets this river, which I think the guy bet like four hundred dollars into like $300 so in his opponent just happens to have five three off suit for the lower end straight on this hand, and now Mike puts in a big check-raise. So this is one where I was trying to connect to just say like, okay well, on the previous hand he had decided to you know, be cautious with his flush draw, you know, because the board is paired and you know, maybe his particular combination to with ace-queen is now blocking some other bigger flushes that could call or whatever but now on this board, it’s… even though the action is a little bit different this guy now over bets the river but Mike, you know, once again with just the absolute perfect read, has no worries about a full house at this point now he just knows he’s got the winning hand. So he makes a big raise, which I think he raised to like 2,000 or 2,500 or so, and he called and he turns his hand over and he’s a good actor too. I think where he’s like, “I don’t know if I’m good now since you called” and then you know, of course he’s good. But those hands it just seemed where the boards are, you know, you’re never going to get the exact situation in hold them, but they’re like close enough where it’s kind of like, “all right, well, why were you so cautious on this other hand but not on this one” and some people will say “well, you know, he’s an expert live reader” and all these things which you know, maybe he… Chris: Right, well, we all bring to the table a kind of baseline strategy which has all sorts of holes in it. And we see we see the results of our strategy work, right, and that’s why we do it and we see it fail and other spots because it can’t account for all the variables. But what you’re suggesting I mean by just this two hand sample and what everyone else is suggesting is that the adjustment per hand is too radical. Jason: Oh, it’s incredible. It’s… it’s too perfect. Unfortunately for Mike. Chris: Yeah. It’s… it’s gonna be tough if I were Mike Postle’s attorney, which I want to be in this theoretical way. You know, I’d have to… I’d have to answer a lot of questions and force the jury or the judge to listen on an individual basis to each one of them. I would drag it out right I would come with a wall of information to make the improbable seem probable, right but you know, I mean the frequencies are hard.

Postle very quickly went on defense, pulling not only tweets but public documents.

Jason: Yeah, they’re very hard to justify and there was even one other hand where I love this clip, you know, now heads up on the river with Ace King and his opponent has Ace King as well in the board as like King Jack 4-6-3 rainbow or whatever and in the on the river, you know, like once again with just the absolute perfect read, he goes all in on the river for, like, two or three times the pot, you know to steal the chop. I think the pot was like 3,000 or so on the river and Mike all in for 7,000 and you know, Joey Ingram, he almost fell out of his chair because he sees the river card and he’s like, oh, what do you think Mike’s going to do here? Probably go all in and then they’re the graphic comes up on the screen. You know Mike’s all in and Joey just loses it. He’s like, “you’ve got to be shitting me. How is it possible?” Chris: Right? He’s… he’s obviously done, not from these two hands, but once you see, what, hundreds of these, and never, ever wrong as you say. And Joe Ingram has done a great job, a wonderful job, even though this posture that he is some sort of master investigator rather than a friendly, energetic conduit for information by some actually amazing investigators whose names you don’t get to hear, which is both more natural and more likely. I mean, first of all Doug Polk already does this, in the model where many get their news and views from late night shows. Ingram is the same vein although he claims to be a “bad businessman” but either way we see these cultural patterns arise so simply – he’s actually dressed for his role if you look at the page that is his YouTube site. He’s in some sort of makeup. He’s wearing like some yellow stripes. And it’s like “go Papi” and all this… we find the need, when we think we don’t have actual justice, to lead the populace around with distractions that border on entertainment. You see all this lionizing of them, but what the they are doing, other than what Veronica did by wrestling with her conscience and eventually winning, is not exactly heroic – it’s service, service to the community. This is a massively important concept in society and in particular small communities of faith, which poker echoes in so many ways, given how religious and devoted its adherents are and many are cut off from “normal” occupations, some even believing they should devote their lives to it… heroes take risks, heroes don’t have audiences, so that’s not really what we are talking about, and when the language gets debased, it’s easy to lose track of what’s happening. Joey gets heated, naturally, when people suggest he’s doing it for the clicks because he clearly does it out of love of the game but he also brags in a pod to Doug about how much money he makes from some of his videos, particularly non-poker ones but you don’t ignore the loss-leaders or the hobby-horse and say it’s charity. You get to do both but we’re supposed to stay polite about it, which means having no opinion, because no one can stand grey areas… but I just don’t like to be subject, or to necessarily nod along, if only to remain sane, when the actual community model is simultaneously the massive and necessary transfer of liquidity from the bottom to the top – just look at the viciousness in certain parts of the poker, as if it should be a shock when all sorts of shit goes down. Thirty, forty years ago he [Postle] would be just another cardsharp, and probably in fact be someone’s hero. This is why, or one reason why… contemporary poker, which anxiously wants the purity of a sport, can’t be marketed so simplistically, which we’re going to get into today, thanks to Kat Arnsby, who is maybe just as much of a hero for pointing out something, like Postle’s crimes, that was hidden in plain sight. Jason: Right… 

With Postle’s reputation now shattered, attention moved to the Stones team, and the sounds were strange.

Chris: Anyway, we’re talking on October 2nd and hopefully this conversation doesn’t date too badly like… Postle with some like amazing, you know, it’s like he was being blackmailed by the tournament director..Jason: [laughs] Chris: … and the reason he keep mentioning his daughter, is because where’s the where’s the woman? Where’s the wife? She’s in a basement! And he has to cheat, He has to do it, and the mentioning of the daughter, why does he repeat it: it was the code, but no one could see it or help him! It was the cry for help! [laughs] Jason: [laughs] Chris: Obviously I’m joking, I understand how much the preponderance of the evidence against him. Jason: Yeah. There’s not much evidence out there to help them. Far as the crazy thing, you know, it’s like if any other player on the stream, if you watch just these couple streams, like you’ll find some spots where they, you know, they guessed right or guessed wrong and whatever but you know, Mike doesn’t have that problem and maybe he’s just the best player on Earth where he just never messes up, but you know, obviously that’s impossible, Oh, yeah, I mean, it’s funny. He’s just like, “he’s a God.” Chris: Now, there’s other stuff going on and one of the things is the absurd denials of the staff.  And it’s just as if everything is a fabrication like even all this video work your eyes can’t unsee… apparently a fabrication. That’s just… in other words these denial by the staff is extremely strange and suspicious on its face. Jason: right? Well that’s you know, one of the latest little screenshots of this Excel sheet where people are going through and recording his wins and losses by day or stream or whatever. They had notice that hey his losses came in June and evidently the production guy or something like that was working at the WSOP in Vegas during that time but possible still played on stream, but he you know, he didn’t win on those days evidently and so it’s just it’s weird, right? Chris: Yeah, I guess I got to be very careful. Like who’s the production going? Is that separate from the tournament director? Jason: Yeah. I’m not it might maybe it wasn’t the production guy. Chris: But there’s doing and this is exactly my point doing this stuff in real time commenting on it and real-time bound to get you in a little bit of trouble, as I always do. Jason: Oh, yeah, but it’s just it’s kind of curious right there where it’s like, all right. Well, it’s interesting. He just happened to lose during the WSOP like because he’s so good on the other… I can’t even imagine how we lost. I think someone had mentioned to Joey like, hey, you should find the streams from those days where this guy was out of town and see, you know was possible playing so great that day was he making mistakes because I mean, I don’t know if he lost but hard to say how we lost. You know, he could have just got all the money in and got sucked out on or something who knows… Chris: But it never happens. Jason: Yeah. I mean it hasn’t happened yet. It’s very strange. Chris: But the… but again the way the community… everyone has these roles, like for instance. There’s this Thirst Lounge, there’s a topic, you know, hostess or player, who sort of at first looks like her role is going to be the tantalizing airhead, but by carrying water for Stones and the community at once she correctly identities the hysteria or confusion on Veronica’s part that may have hindered some truth seeking, which is pretty significant considering all the people who want to crown Veronica for outing the suspicions. So are her tweets, which sound like, maybe, the thoughts of a strong person, helpful or self-serving? It’s complicated, and both her and Veronica initially take different forms of grief by everyone who just can’t be circumspect for two seconds about anything. Now she doesn’t tweet at all about it yet she could have a lot to say. Either way, i don’t think it’s any coincidence that several Thirst Lounge people are involved in these very loosely run organizations. Then there’s another like perpetual scold, this sort of like one of the lot of “Poker intellectuals” and he came out finally. Normally he has something, you know, high and mighty to say about poker between retweeting terrible Bernie Sanders ideas and he came out and sort of apologized about not taking the lead in this earlier. And I think he’s right in a way but he gets to some… a very essential actual detail of the whole streaming thing: Why didn’t we see this earlier? And the reason is, in my opinion, is mostly because no one can stand watching the Stones stream for four hours.

Berkey, personally motivated from his appearance on the stream with the alleged cheater, has risen to new levels of attention and respect through understanding the argument and the tech as well as anyone.

Jason: Yeah. I mean…  what I’ve watched… the stream a few times and I’ve seen this guy play and when I watch him, it’s like wow, that’s great player, but it’s like you’re right. I would turn it off after like, you know, 30 minutes or something and would forget all about it. Chris: You can’t watch it. Yeah. Yeah. Between Justin, Veronica, and whatever Pokermomma, all the commentators… just all this insane giggling and babbling… Yeah, and the marble racing and the terrible angle that they have the set that they’ve had to set the camera set up as if ironically, they’re in the basement of some shady game rather than at a beautiful casino, which is what the Stones is one of the best card venues around – the whole thing is so bizarrely unprofessional. No one can watch it, no one wants to watch it, and no one can see Postle get away with these things: I don’t blame people or this Tweeter, really, for not seeing it right before. Jason: Although it is funny – just when you… as I’m watching these streams along with Joey listening to the commentators as you pick up on things they say where it’s like, you don’t know if they suspect something or not because they’ll say something like, oh, “it’s almost like Postle can see everyone’s cards,” or “man, he’s always right!” He’s never like they’re just saying stuff that people saying now, they’re saying that on the stream and you know, they got all these memes and stuff too. Like there’s one where Postle was dressed up like Jesus! What the —– Chris: But let’s break it down just a little further, like why are they on to him? And yet not saying anything about it? Well eager to hear what you think, but I think one of the things in poker, is that everyone… what drives the poker community in a large way is the fear that someone knows something you don’t. This really drives poker education. It drives content. It drives now, it appears to me the unwillingness to take a stand on this before it became a disaster because well maybe Mike Postle is a genius, right? “Who am I, one three commentator, you know, Who am I to judge?” What Postle doing? Right? And that’s the fear that someone knows something more than you…  Jason: Yeah, it’s just it’s crazy that the announcer seemed to be on to it, but maybe unknowingly where they just see this guy win every day and make amazing plays. But yeah, you’re right. They probably just you know, he’s like, he’s probably the local Legend, and when the local Legend wins, it was skill or something, you know, it wasn’t crazy luck or certainly wasn’t cheating. You know, it’s like hey, he’s ours, he’s the best player in the room and you know, he knows stuff. That’s the other thing… is a lot of the people say well look at his opponents. I mean, maybe they are bad players, [but] they’re not extraordinarily bad. I mean they’re not much different than what you would see in any poker room around the country. Chris: Sure, and some of them are good! Some of them are making great plays! I’ve seen these blocker plays that should work against Postle’s holding but he just comes right back over the top! Jason: Yeah, every time. It’s always the perfect play, it’s really incredible. Chris: It doesn’t make any sense. It didn’t matter who lined up with him, whether it’s the usual regs or the better winning players, who really I think I’ve even played with something remember their faces from when I was down there, tough players – they don’t stand a chance. Tough players – they don’t stand a chance? Well who does yeah, and that’s where it all this sort of puts everything into place unfortunately, but I would love to hear from Postle and give him that one percent out. Yeah, even better, you know, since it’s looking so grim, you know, he needs he needs to be able to explain and apologize and certainly some, some place would be good for that. 

With so much evidence and the risk of cheating live on recorded media, no poker scandal could be in a better position to be resolved.

Jason: I’ve been dealing… I’ve been tweeting about him and watching for about three days now not stop. I can’t even sleep at nights. I don’t know. I’m I’m like, I haven’t even played poker this week. I’m so excited. I’m so interested in this. Chris: All right, everyone … that’s kind of the point. It’s a cultural event. Jason: Yeah. Well, you know the there was one other thought I had on this and it didn’t lead anywhere but it seemed interesting to me at the time was I was trying to think like, you know, they’ve, they’ve kind of built up Postle to be like this Superstar player, you know, they got all the memes and you know, he makes the great play every time and I was wondering, and I don’t think this would work out at all, but if he was like they’re like they’re Tiger Woods or something where it’s like, hey, when Postle’s on the stream are stream attendance is up in and I don’t know if they make any money off the stream. I’m assuming they can’t make much so it probably leads nowhere, but I was wondering if there’s any avenue for this stream to cash in on any revenue or something by having like this. Interesting player that always wins and makes the heroic move at just the right time. Like if there’s any benefit at all to the poker room, you know to have any, you know, income come from that but I don’t think there is. Chris: Well, that’s what it would have… that what is we exactly what would be examined in a real investigation… it’s always follow the money right? Its likely model is that they do this stream to bring in and cement their gamblers. There are other venues in Sacramento; this is not a monopoly and people have to make choices as to where they’re going to play. Also, there is no membership fee, I believe unlike say Live at the Bike which has a fee for looking back through their content. I don’t know that for certain, but that’s the first place you look because then you’d find out what this is a separate problem profit-making entity and not just an advertisement and a sort of a loss leader forward as a tack. And clearly the best room that wants to maintain its ascendancy in Sacramento. However the motivations of the cheaters can be either aligned or different, jealousy… capitalization of some fleeting opportunity… Jason: Yeah, and I guess given the amount of money the guy wins on stream, like this stream. I was just watching, he won like 20 grand in a one three game. I mean like it’s hard to… Chris: Imagine in any other small player pool having $200,000 leave the pool… just kind of go to one player would crush some games. Yeah. So tell me how good the economy is in Sacramento? Jason: Right. Well, that was something I had pointed out because you know one of Postle’s defenses is hey, I’ve been a professional poker player for 16 years and I’ve been winning this whole time and you know, I believe that he probably did win for 16 years, but the question that a lot of people don’t seem to get is look at the rate at which he’s winning on stream and if he’s been winning at that same rate or even half of that rate for 16 years, there would be no poker left to be played here there would mean it would just be done. Chris: Well, I mean, you can just sort of follow his language; winning… winning doesn’t mean winning eight hundred dollars an hour. Jason: Right… Chris: Like most of us went through a [similar] phase where he’s playing 1/3, which seems to be a game and he commonly plays and you’re going to pull out 10 to 15 big blinds as a really good player. Right, a crusher brings out more as occasionally these… these outliers who for short periods of time can just take in like 20 big blinds per hour and we hear about them, but they don’t do it, in fact, for years, there’s just a… I shouldn’t say mathematical, sort of a statistical likelihood that you can’t beat the game for more than 15 or 16 BBs for whatever reason. Jason: Right, yeah. There’s so many little biases and blind spots that they have that humans are going to make mistakes in this kind of reasoning… the more I hear some of these players talk about things like that it you know, it makes me feel that the the future of Poker is very bright because If these like we’re always hearing like, you know, the solvers are going to end poker, but yet we still see people unable to make reasonable conclusions two facts laid out in front of them and it makes you wonder like how could they possibly play a poker hand very well at all. It’s like I find myself getting like so frustrating because I’m, like, how do you not get it? Chris: Right. Jason: Just watching this stuff is so…I’ve been drinking two bottles of wine this week Chris: You don’t normally drink that much. Jason: No, I’ve been in rough shape this week and not even sleeping on top of that because I’m like get my blood boiling here, you know partially drunk and everything. It’s a really tough week.

Chris: This is really connected though to another big thing. I think in a much more positive thing, even we can just ignore positive negative. It’s… it’s an analysis of the marketing of poker by a player, an English player and blogger named Kat Arnsby and she has a blog, she goes by the Poker Baffer and she talked about basically two things. She had two thesis basically that the idea of like, who is this recreational player? And why do we both abuse him by calling him this when we are the recreational players… Jason: Yes. Chris: and you know, what are we missing by doing that. Then, the second point is that why do people think that if you like to gamble or as you know, she would put it if there’s there are people who like to have a punt right? They like to go to the black jack. Why are they excluded from the definition of intelligent people might actually enjoy a strategy game as well? And I was wondering if you read this article because it seemed to me immensely important. Jason: Yeah, I seen I think you had tweeted this out or liked it, but I came across it on my Twitter timeline and read it and I thought it was very interesting especially the part about the you know, the fabled recreational player because it just made me think that you know, when you see a hand history in some forums or you know hand histories on videos there people are always describing their opponent as, You know this “rec” player and it’s usually a “rec” player like me that is even talking about the hand in the first place. I don’t.. I find that kind of funny… Chris: Right so who is, she asked the question the fifth paragraph of the article or so, who is this guyJason: Yeah, I mean and I think it’s I mean really almost everybody in the poker room is a rec player, depending on what room you’re in but there aren’t that many professional players in the room at any given time. I don’t think so, you know most people are the recreational players. 

Chris: Essentially what she is saying here is that there are these simpletons in our, in our imagination – or in the industry’s imagination – and this is parroted by poker players who use this word all the time. You know that you’ve never heard me use this word. I never use it, will give myself some credit on this. There are people who apparently want to win “chests” on PokerStars, they want a high hand thing, the quads High bonus more than anything, that’s what she’s saying, but that this is a mistake because there aren’t as many of these people as you think, and by pitching poker to them we are doing poker a grand disservice. She compares it to other games where you essentially get the non-poker equivalent of using a HUD or using very advanced strategic techniques to win. She brings up games I don’t know how to play but the… the analogy is clear. These people including, what we call Recs, like a challenge, right? And she’s saying that the industry as a whole, in aggregate, is trying to attract this dubious pool of people who want to just to have this punt, in other words to have just a Gamble, and to say that the game is silly. Whereas she’s where she argues that she’s an advertising, and she wants to have the industry pitch it towards people like her who like a challenge and that the game is being dumbed down through this perception of the recreational player as nothing more than an idiot. And I think that’s very fair. I read forums, chats, hand histories, play online, read and write about poker. The ignorant arrogance from top to bottom of the industry is strong. What would you say to this? Jason: Yeah, I do too because I mean when you look like when I go and play live poker and I look around I mean granted there are some players that aren’t very good. But every one of them is there because they want to kind of battle their wits against the other player and almost everyone at the table thinks they have an edge over the other players at the table for the most part. Of course, there’s there are a few that are just like, yeah, I’d like to hit the high hand and get the hell out of here, but almost all of these guys think they have an edge over the other and they’re there and they want to they want to try to trick the other player into paying them off or running the bluff or something, but they all recognize I think that it is a strategic game and it’s not slots… for sure.

Chris: This is where… it’s important to have falsifiability in these things, which helps her argument be more than an opinion. I think she’s missing a great deal of what the industry does and it does pitch it as a skill game and I’m thinking of one single slice of the poker media industry because it endlessly annoys me. It’s poker news sites and dumb strategy articles. There are a million strategy articles out there, these horrible clickbait pieces. And they are throughout the scene on places like Poker News and all the similar sites.. Jason: How to play jacks! Chris: …all these things go throughout scene but these are strategic things. They’re selling… selling garbage strategy, but still strategy, to this fabled recreational player or someone out there that really does exist. So I think there is actually the market and the industry sort of self-guides already in a way that she’s not identifying completely but she’s also more attacking the online sites and the casinos more than what I’m talking about. So what I’m saying is we do have it both ways. And I don’t think it’s that we are just pitching poker as a stupid thing, but there’s actually lots of evidence out there that so-called recreational can attach himself to strategy very easily. Jason: You know she did make a point in here where she was talking about online poker and she’s saying, you know that the recreational player doesn’t want to be able to launch tomatoes at your opponent online and she’s wrong on that. I I want to be able to do that. It’s one of my favorite things to do on p-p-poker is the throw these rockets and things I’ll sneak in there sometimes on the Out of Position game and I’ll just I won’t even be playing that night, but I’ll just sit down and launch a few rockets… Chris: Oh my god, you’re such a rec. Jason: …and then leave and that that was my excitement for the day right there. Chris: Right? So some people do enjoy it. Well, then that’s interesting because you actually pay… you pay extra for the privilege of doing that! Jason: Yeah. That’s exactly right. I pay, I mean I’m paying for the time bank, but really the 2000 emojis they give me the rockets and bombs and stuff to throw at people. That’s I mean, really what I’m getting the most value out of! Chris: Wow, clearly you’re the wrong person talk to you on this matter. Jason: [laughs] Chris: Her second point was the idea that there’s this doesn’t need to be this division between the Gambler and the Skill Player necessarily right. You can enjoy half an hour of blackjack and then go and play poker seriously night. You are the perfect guest for this, right? Jason: Oh absolutely. Chris: Tell me about this because I’m not a table games player. I have played at a table game once in my entire life. Jason: Well, I haven’t I haven’t played a table game in a while. Probably not even probably only like a couple times this year. But in my past I would play I would play roulette every now and again and I mean I’m like the mike postle of roulette. Actually. If someone did a video on me looking at all. My roulette spin wins, there’d be some probably be in jail because I always win… Chris: That makes no sense. Jason: I mean, I would just and I never played roulette for like, you know, 10 minutes or anything like that. I’m just walking up doing like one Spin and I would hit my number and I would like a shout and leave but I was what a lot of money at roulette doing that like suspiciously but yeah, you know I go out there and because I’d be playing poker which you know, I’d be battling wits in there and I’d go put like $25 on number. On the roulette wheel hit that and now I’ve made more money at roulette then than poker in this on the day. You know, it’s crazy. Chris: Yeah, I agree with her. There’s lots of this entire subsection of players. You see them if you’re a live poker player, you know these guys… this subsection of players are the guys who they get a little tilty. They lose a pot or they’re just get antsy because there’s not enough action right go out. They win $1000 at you know, whatever. You know, I keep saying because I don’t know any games… Jason: Nobody wins at Blackjack. Chris: Yeah, now they are they tend to be people who play a kind of the pot odds model of strategy as interestingly Berkey has been repeatedly saying on his blog blog cast as opposed to having some other strategy, right? You’re going there going to be a little bit more. Well, I’m getting this price or laying this price rather than than a strategy that is not you know, about carrying a range over streets which some hands in the range will not actually be getting the direct odds that they need. If you look in solves you’ll see that the pot odds model does not apply in the same way. Even though odds obviously do apply this just a nicety but these players are playing fine and they’re not stupid and they’re even potentially dangerous as they will, you know, they will have some element of mixed balance strategy even especially the really strong ones… Jason: right they think these players are like terrible terrible terrible players, but you know, they’re not they’re not as bad as people think. Chris: So those players need positive reinforcement in the industry. Now, I now I want to bring up those who are really never table games players… I think I’m thinking of that place that’s so dear to my heart, the Borgata and the two five there which features real curmudgeons, some real miserable people would never Gamble and certainly don’t play like they Gamble and take a great deal of pride in their shapes in their hand matching the shapes on the board and they believe this is how poker is properly played and lecture you when your shapes don’t match up properly. How do you how do you get more of those people into poker? Do you want them? Do we want to like look at well, what about those people who fit into this personality profile? How should the industry appeal to them? Well, it’s not through what Kat is saying it is because those people are exactly the ones who love the high hand stuff… Jason: right? Yeah, exactly. Chris: Ironically the guy who takes great pride in ensuring his hand matches the five cards by the river is also the one who wants the gambling aspect, right? This is one of the paradoxes that we need to be aware. Anyway, I thought it was a great article. Jason: Yeah it’s really good. Chris: It all reminds of this article a few months earlier in the year. There’s this person named Rachel Lees, Rachel Lee. Not sure, who wrote an article on the industry which kind of had some similar themes and it was really good and I retweeted it. Jason: I don’t think I’ve read through that one, probably came across it. Chris: Anyway, then she wrote this like basically sixth grade essay on why she hates Daniel Negreanu, which was just an embarrassment, and I told her on the Twitter, you know, you just need to like let him have his say now or let his wife have her say now that you’ve said like a million things against him and she basically broke down at this mild suggestion. She fired all this crap at me starting with “before we block each other…” as if I would block someone on Twitter, which would be the act of a child, “answer me” on these idiotic questions, and I just decided not to touch the crazy and didn’t answer and found myself blocked. But we can separate her from her excellent piece on the industry. There are these voices who understand where the industry is going and its failures and we need to listen to them, I think… I don’t know does it matter, these people? My point is that people know what’s going on but… Jason: I think so. I mean the article here makes a lot of sense to me when I read it and it seems to align with what I see kind of happening in the poker rooms to where you know, just kind of a misclassification of the customer that’s actually showing up. Chris: Well anything else Jason I think we’ve worn out our audiences’ patience. Jason: Yeah. I got it. I’m probably behind on Twitter. Chris: yeah, you don’t even know there’s probably 10 more hands to write a Joe Ingram is probably you know on the floor laughing. Jason: Yeah. I don’t know why I keep watching the hands because they’re all basically the same thing at this point. It’s No, just an amazing play and of course he won the hand like there’s nothing different about any of them. Chris: Cool. Well, it’s been a lot of fun and I’ll let you I’ll let you get back to enjoying the unfolding crisis. Jason: Yes. Thank you very much got important work to do over here.

 

Leave a Reply

The OOP Lexicon is a user-developed poker glossary.

Absolute Position
Being last to act (e.g. closest to the button) postflop.

Advancing Leverage
Aggressive actions intended to shift the leverage point closer to the current street.

Analog
A bluff or value hand which is a natural candidate for balancing another hand because of their shared qualities, such as AA and AK; usually helps planning range splitting and line construction.

Auto profit threshold (APT)
A bluff made with positive expectation resulting from the opponent under defending vis-a-vis bet sizing. The inverse of MDF.

Balance
Choosing to support either value bets or bluffs with their converse.

Bet
A bet is a proposition.  It’s the first offer on the pot with regard to the outcome of the game. Each player, in turn, has the opportunity to lay or change the price on the pot to the rest of the players. “The language of poker.” The bet, as opposed to the raise, is most often and most easily allied to the merged pricing construction.

Block
To remove combinations of hands from a range based on cards in your hand or on the board.

Blockers
Cards which influence our combinatorial assumptions. Ex: We face resistance on T76ss while we hold As7d. Both our cards act as blockers. Our ace of spades blocks (limits) a number of flush draws our opponent could hold, while our seven blocks a number of two pair and sets our opponent could hold. *See also Block and Unblock

Blocker Bet
A small bet made by an out-of-position player.

Board Texture
The available community cards and the set of conditions which inform its relationship to a logical range.

Bottom
The worst hands in a betting range.  Depending on context this could be the worst hand in a value bet range or the bluffing section of polarized range.

Bounded
A range descriptor indicating a range shape with a specific high or low boundary.  A range bounded high won't contain some number of the best linear hands ranked from the top down.  This is equivalent to a "capped" range.  A range bounded low won't contain some number of the worst linear hands ranked from the bottom up.  This is often useful to describe a range that doesn't include any air or very weak hands.

Capitalization
A strategic mode in which a player is attempting to deny their opponent(s) equity share of the pot through aggression. Often referred to as “denying equity” or “buying up equity”.

Capped
A range is capped when it represents little to no nutted combinations as confirmed by prior action.

Cbet
A continuation bet. A bet made by the player with initiative as a continuation of their initiative on a prior street.

Clarity
The ability to accurately range an opponent based on all available information at a decision point.  An understanding of your hands exact equity.

Closing Action
Acting last where no subsequent action is possible behind you.  For example calling a UTG raise in the BB or calling in position postflop with no players behind.

Cold Call/Cold Bet
An action is considered “cold” when it comes from a player entering into the pot has not previously put chips voluntarily in the pot. Ex: the UTG opens, the BTN 3bets. If the SB were to call or raise, it would be a cold-call or a cold-4bet.

Combinatorics
The branch of mathematics the deals with finite number sets. Used in poker in determining the amount of combinations of certain hands in a range.

Complete
When a blind that is not the biggest blind calls the amount of the biggest blind. Ex: At $2/$5, action folds around to the SB and the SB completes. Meaning they just call. The BB can complete when there is a straddle.

Condensed
A capped range that contains only middling value hands. A range without the polarized portion.

Construction
Logical advancement of combinations across streets.

Dark Side of the Deck
The large swath of hands, often off-suit, that fall outside of conventional playable recommendations. Counter-equity hands.

Dead Money
Money in the pot that is not being fought for.  A passive player creates dead money when they call a bet preflop and looking to play fit-or-fold postflop. Dead Money is often confused with the money in the pot.

Delayed Cbet
A cbet made on the turn by the preflop raiser when the flop checked through.

Delaying Leverage
Passive actions intended to maintain a likely late street leverage point, or possibly to avoid a leverage point entirely.

Deviation
A strategic break from one’s standard construction as an exploit of a particular player’s profile or construction.

Diminishing Medium Value Category
A Seidman concept in which when one’s middling value hand range is too small and transparent to our opponent and thus either that range should be shifted into the top of a polarized range or the nutted portion should be shifted into the medium value range. Ex: AQo or TT being 3bet preflop.

Downbet
A cbet that is less than the preflop raise. Ex: BTN opens to $25, we 3bet to $90 from the SB, BTN calls. On the flop we cbet $70.

Dry Board
A board texture that yields relatively few logical hands value. Often containing one medium or high card and disconnected low cards. Ex: Q53r, T622r.

Dual Mentalities
A Seidman concept in which when we decide to go postflop with a weak hand against a nutted range, we should either be looking to out flop it or steal the pot away. We base our decision against the player type we are up against and never go post with both mentalities at once.

Dynamic Board
A flop texture in which the runout is very likely to change the order of top ranking hands. Ex: 954tt, 742r.

Effective Stack
The smallest stack to VPIP in a given hand. Their stack decides the amount of money that can be played for or threatened before an all-in.

Effective nuts
A value hand that can be played for stacks as if it were the actual nuts.  This is a relative hand ranking based on range assumptions and opponent type.

Efficiency
A measure of how well the equity of a hand is deployed. Efficiency can also be used as a measure of what is risked vs what is gained for a given bet size.

Either/Or Philosophy
A Seidman concept in which a particular street can be a very good spot for value, meaning our opponent is never folding, or a very good spot to bluff, meaning our opponent is never calling, but that those spots cannot be concurrent.

Elasticity
Borrowed from economics, a measure of the sensitivity of a range or hand relative to the price offered.  Ranges (or hands) described as elastic will narrow, sometimes quickly, in response to increases in price.  Those described as inelastic will not.

Equity
The percent pot share of a holding or range on any given street if the hand were to go to showdown with no further betting action.

Equity Pusher
A analytic approach to the game in which a player views the correct actions only through the lens of their hands equity vs. their opponent’s range. Often this player type has a lack of understanding of overall strategy and plays their range face up with few bluffs.

Expected Value
The mathematical formula for how much a player’s action is expected to make with their hand vs. their opponent’s range. EV = ($towin * %ofwin) - ($tolose * %ofloss)

Face Up
A player is playing their range “face up” when their actions directly correspond with their desired outcome. Ex: A player bets half-pot three streets with a range that has no bluffs. A player 3bets to 7x with JJ.

False Polarization
Otherwise known as Faux-Po; a polarizing action taken with a merged range.

Felted
The result of losing your entire table stakes. All the way down to the felt.

Float
A call of a cbet with a weak holding with the likely intention of taking the pot away when the opponent shuts down. Often done by an in position preflop caller.

Formation
The convergence of positions, stack depths, and preceding actions at a given decision point.

G-Bucks
A mathematical formula developed by Phil Galfond for calculating the expected value of one’s range construction vs. an opponent’s holding.

GIGO
A computer programming term that means "garbage in, garbage out" which also applies to poker forums when a poster seeks an in-depth conversation about a hand, but fail to provide pertinent information such as stack sizes, bets sizes, table dynamics and player tendencies.

Game Theory
The applied science of combining mathematical models with logic to craft winning poker strategies.

Game Theory Optimal
A set of strategies is GTO if no player can unilaterally deviate and increase his average profit. ~ Will Tipton.  GTO does not mean best possible response, highest EV, or maximally exploitative play.

Implied Odds
Additional value likely to be accrued if you make your hand on a later street.

Initiative
Sometimes referred to as the betting lead, a common situation in which the passive player yields to the aggressive player postflop, or the last aggressor continues betting on subsequent streets.

Isolate
A bet or raise intended to force out the rest of the field in order to play heads up against a weaker opponent who has entered the pot through limping, raising, or posting the blinds.

LAG
Loose aggressive player type. Generally overused and inaccurate.

Lead
A bet made from out of position after a passive action. Often referred to as a donk bet on the flop.

Leveling
He knows that I know that he knows I know.

Leverage
A bet or raise that signals the hand will be played for stacks.  Within reason, it is accomplished by betting with a sizing that will create RSP equal to 1 on the following street.

LFI
Limp First In

Linear
A consecutive range of hands decreasing in strength from top to bottom; generally meaning value hands. Equivalent to "merged."

Lockdown Board
A board on which the nuts have often already been made.  More prevalent in PLO but sometimes useful in no-limit, for example on monotone flops and boards with available common straights e.g. JT9, T98, 987, etc.

Merge
1) A range of hands that includes both strong and medium value; 2) in reference to medium value; 3) the merged construction describes the natural representation of a wide range through a bet.

Mini Stop-N-Go
A Seidman concept, a line taken by a OOP PFR where flop is check/called and turn is lead.

Minimum Defense Frequency (MDF)
The necessary defending (calling/raising) frequency to prevent an opponent from auto-profiting.  The inverse of APT.

Natural Action
A check, bet, or raise which is exactly suited to a player's range and situation (e.g. a pfr's continuation bet on AK2r).

Nit
A player who will not put chips into the pot without a very strong and sometimes only nutted hand.

Nuts
The best possible hand.

Nuts-To-Air Ratio (NAR)
In a polarized betting line, the ratio of value to bluff.  As used by Seidman, not limited to polarization but sometimes used to label general opponent tendency of value to bluff.

OMC
Old Man Coffee. Typically an older, retired player that likes to play bingo with ATC, but will only continue with the nuts.

Open
The first voluntary action. The first action or bet to voluntarily enter the pot.

Overbet
A bet that is more than the size of the pot.

Perceived Range
Refers to the range of hands that your opponent thinks you could have in a certain playing situation. This can be interpreted and thus misinterpreted from your playing style and position at the table.

Polarized
A range consisting of very strong and very weak hands.

Post Oak Bluff
A small bluff on a late street that has little chance of winning the pot.  Generally interpreted as “gutless” in the past but now fulfilling certain functions as betting efficiencies are understood.

Positional Protection
When the strength of a range is perceived to be capped or uncapped based on which position an action is taken from.

Protected
When an action or player is perceived to have strong hands in its range.

Protection Bet
A wager which denies equity to hands which will only give action if they significantly improve; "a value bet which does not want a call."

Raise
The rejection of the offered price and the laying of a new higher price.  Raises represent a more narrow range of hands and trend towards polarization.

Range Advantage
Implementation or study tool that refers to 1) most basically, equity measurement of one range against another; 2) or also including a combination of further factors including availability of nutted hands, the nuances of the runout, and positional protection.

Range Manipulation
Deliberate line work/bet sizing made to narrow a range or keep a range wide.

Range Switch
A deliberate change in range composition made to thwart a player who is reading our range too accurately in any spot.  Reduces transparency, fights assumptions, and wins the leveling war if implemented correctly.

Ratio of Stack To Pot
RSP. The stack to pot ratio at any point in a hand, generally used post-flop as opposed to Stack to Pot Ratio.

Realization
Taking a hand to showdown and realizing its full equity.  Generally used with regard to passive actions.

Reciprocity
The mutual exchange of chips resulting from similar play and ideas.  Reciprocity is a common bi-product of group-think.  A true edge by definition cannot be reciprocal.

Relative Position
A player’s position measured against the aggressor's position.  Generally this is used going to the flop.  For example, if UTG raises and several players call behind, calling in the big blind would give you the best relative position.  You will act after seeing how the field responds to a likely continuation from the preflop aggressor.  In the same scenario calling immediately after the preflop aggressor results in the worst relative position.  You will have to act immediately after a continuation without seeing how the remaining players will respond.  Strong relative position confers an information edge.

Retention
The ability of hand to maintain equity across streets against a betting range or as part of a betting range.

Reverse Implied Odds (RIO)
Hands that often win small pots or lose large pots suffer from reverse implied odds.

Robustness
Popularized by Mathew Janda, a descriptor for how well a hand retains equity over streets of play.  Hands described as robust have equity that does not suffer as an opponent's range becomes stronger.  Often these hands are currently both strong and invulnerable, or have the ability to become very strong by the river, relative to the opponent's range.

Runout
Fourth and Fifth Street cards following a given flop texture.

Scale of Protection
Poker theorem which states that the more protected or strong an opponent's range is, the higher the degree of denial or retention a counter will require.

Sklansky Bucks
Dollars won (or lost) in expected value regardless of actual hand result.

Smurf
Any one of many possible poker archetypes found at low stakes games.

Squeeze
A reraise made after a player has raised and one or more players has called in-between.

Static Board
A flop texture in which the runout is unlikely to change the order of top ranking hands. Ex: AK7r, KK4r.

Stop-N-Go
A passive action followed by an aggressive action, out of position.  For example, a call followed by a lead on the next street.

Streets of Value
A crude shorthand measurement for how much betting a hand can tolerate and still be best at showdown more often than not.

TAG
Tight aggressive opponent type. Generally overused and misapplied.

TAG's Dilemma
The paradox created by having a top-heavy range played so aggressively that it misuses equity vis-à-vis position and holding.

The Great Range Fantasy
The common idea that we know our opponent’s range and frequencies precisely; most commonly seen in post-hoc analysis to justify microedge decisions.

Thin Value
A bet that is only slightly more likely to be called by worse than by better. Associated with the merged pricing construction and bet-fold lines.

Three Fundamentals
The most fundamental variables for decision making: position, stack size, and community cards.

Top
The best hands in a given range.

Two-Way Bet
A bet that expects calls from worse hands and incorrect folds at the same time, a simultaneous value bet and bluff line.

Upstuck
The psychological effect of feeling like you’re losing because your stack size isn’t as large as it once was during a session, even though it’s more than what you’re in the game for.

(e.g. You bought in for $100, ran it up $450, but now only have $175 in front of you.)

Unblock
A hand that has no negative card removal effects on the target range.  Bottom set, for example, unblocks top pair top kicker.

Uncapped
A range that is perceived to contain the nuts in any given line.  Capped ranges may become uncapped during transitions for example from preflop to flop, or flop to turn.

Unicorn
A turned nut straight after raising flop with a gutter.

Value Owning
Making value bets with a hand that has less than 50% equity when called.

Voluntarily Put Money In Pot (VPIP)
The frequency at which a player limps, calls, or raises preflop.

Volatile Board
A flop texture where equities will often shift on the turn and river.  See “dynamic”.

Warmer
An illusory cooler where one player makes a massive mistake equity mistake and loses his stack with a strong but second best hand; also known as a Jam Basket.

Wet Board
A board texture that allows for a lot of logical hands to continue. Often made up of medium rank connected cards. Ex: KT9tt, Tc8c6s-7c-Ac.

WIFSUWO
“Walk In, Fuck Shit Up, Walk Out” a hashtag used by instagram poker players.

Winning Player
A forum poster who offers reciprocal advice under the guise of questionable positive low stakes results. A weak player or fish, in general.

YMC
Young Man Coffee. Is very much an OMC, but younger.  They usually only continue with the nuts, often under the illusion of playing a GTO style.