trip reports

Vegas Matinée

Up, high among the shadowy beams of the ceiling or an unclear memory, I see or imagine a fan spinning so deliberately that I’d be wiser to say it was turning.

An illusion of memory, though – and of a place I wasn’t sure I wanted to visit. In reality, light poured in from the skylit atrium, that open interior the ancients passed down to us, among their many gifts.

I know for certain, on the other hand, that a Mexican family, at the only occupied table in the visible two-thirds of the restaurant, was enjoying a communal meal. Their bald and mustachioed patriarch, worried, tired, thin, with the better joys of his life behind him and that frozen face, kept an upright, wordless survey on his chirping girls and a nursing young woman. Perhaps she was the eldest or a niece; there was a significant gap in age from the children. Where was the mother, or could that young woman possibly be her? What explained the variance in ages? Was it the ravages of the border economy? An unfortunate illness? Or maybe just a needed “me” day at the Painted Claws Salon?

Bounty for the missing patronage was spread across a row of tables: an enticing, herbed and oiled buffet of the cheery cuisine of our restive neighbor to the south. Real life demands an appropriate reaction – turn on the local Spanish language radio station and you will hear the plaintive and the cheerful, turn on the music of our semi-first world paradise and we hear the decadent and the trivial. (More gifts passed down too – that salsa once merely meant witty or spicy, and now settles comfortably on a hopefully fresh mixture of tomato and jalapeno and cilantro.) I was encouraged to buy a plate, did so, and then was immediately told the buffet was over and should hurry.

That fan turned indifferently as well.

Then I saw it – the main lobby led to a raised dining area in the back, where a wave from an umbral but familiar figure, stout and tall, greeted me. Now I know why I was thinking of darkness and space and fans and salons – the twilight memory of so many nights of drinks and discussion in the natural “third places” of many a restless if unsober mind.

However, there would be no drinking here (of any sort, as it would turn out): this was serious business. Leaving the happy family tableau to their chirping and nursing, I marched into the pitch.

How did I end up at Ricardo’s in the late afternoon, home of Las Vegas’ notorious Wednesday Poker Discussion Group?

It was midway through the WSOP trip when I stayed with Jason for a few days at the Linq. We’d played in different games but nearby Caesar’s called to him, a convenience of two of his favorite things in the world – poker and properly cooked Alaskan crab legs. When he’d returned from a satisfactory session, Jason recounted running across a classic Vegas character – the local reg nit.

This particular muscled, square-headed, low-browed, and tattooed fellow, a greying and grumpy sea dog of the sand, had performed the inevitable min-raise with poker’s best hand (nits have no bluffing frequency so they occasionally stumble upon one of the laws of bet sizing through the castrated levels of action they get or should get), allowing a natural setmine and had been stacked. Poker has many comedies that must be repeated, and not only is this one, but so was his aria of lament afterward.

Vesti la giubba, Pagliaccio.

So the next day when I decided to sit in with Jason at 1/2, there among us was our meaty clown, grim and ready, with an odd three-quarters stack.

“That’s him,” Jason whispered.

I have many weaknesses in life and, more relevantly, poker. In the forums, I’m most easily exasperated by those who feign misunderstanding in order to bait, or those concept nits who need pat binary answers they can plug into Poker Scrunchie. At the table, on the other hand, what I really can’t take are whiners. So, a true fake genuine Vegas nit and whiner seems about as odious a combination as I can imagine.

I picked up two reds and introduced myself to the players around me.

I waved the chips hypnotically. “This is yours if you felt the guy with the tattoos.”

I placed them next to my stack, separate, and nodded at them. A mere five bbs, but the incentive was better than any dead money a straddle-brain can induce.

People love a challenge but still need leadership.

Pagliaccio, furthermore, did not disappoint. First he put in an early position raise, check-called the turn and check-folded the river to one of my purchased agents. Pagliaccio flipped up two aces to show how good he was and sent them into the bitter muck.

This guy really is a clown.

Pagliaccio’s moving Table Change aria.

Meanwhile, I gave action and ran up a stack. Pagliaccio and a simpering apprentice, a hoodied, grubby, and stooped twenty-four year-old going on sixty-two, complained about the action Jason, me and my new henchmen were driving. I bluffed them both out. I showed cards. We had a fun time. While my mercenaries couldn’t felt their target, a player on his own end of the table did take a big chunk from Pagliaccio.  Our clown berated his opponent and called over the floor, who he clearly was familiar with from his tone and use of a first name, and got a table change.

Do you want a setup with that?

I’d say mission accomplished. I told the guy who hurt Pagliaccio what I’d been up to, and tossed him the five dollars chips in unowed compensation. The session soon played out and my date at Ricardo’s neared.

That shadowy wave from the back of the restaurant was from Bill, a student and friend. He’d wanted me to come primarily to hear Robbie Strazynski, the founder of Cardplayerlifestyle.com, an ambitious blog that has evolved into an alternative poker news, strategy “tips,” and opinion site, the latter being the best of his work. Bill also wanted to see what I’d think of the group, which for a long time had been a part of his poker routine.

I sat down and Bill introduced me to his friends. Pleasant folks, mostly retirees, math and science types. The room was large and could fit at least seventy-five; as members came in I wondered just how many would make the air-conditioned journey for a burrito, a hyper-enthusiastic speaker and their fabled strategy talk. Robbie and I embraced, knowing each other through the small world of poker writing.

Then I saw someone else, and my skin crawled: there was Pagliaccio, all muscles and tattoos and aces!

But… of course. Nothing is a coincidence in this world. He sat alone with a misanthropic scowl of defiance.

The meeting began. A short and neat man with a short cropped hair cut and the grave air of a steward introduced Robbie. For the next hour and a half, Robbie babbled cheerfully at 2x speed, his poker thyroid out of control. I learned more about him and his website than I ever wanted to. I also got to reflect on the contradictory nature of the best of humanity. Robbie has done great things and deserves success. If you love the poker world, you’ll get a lot out of his site. As a person, he is humble, dedicated and lovable, yet couldn’t help but remind us that he was “one of the chosen people.” It’s interesting, because it is a paradox that many of the hardest working and best among us require some supporting belief for their humility but one which is simultaneously outrageous in its conceit.

The unchosen listened with increasing restlessness, however. It was past the time to wrap up, and patient faces had grown longer. We ended with some incredible questions that Robbie could have no reasonable answer to- a portent of what was to come. Notably, one curious fellow didn’t seem to have any compunction about taking a phone call in the middle of the speech – perhaps he was chosen, too. Loudly and indifferently he responded and talked until an upset organizer shuffled him off.

It was time for the strategy presentation. While Robbie doled out promotional “gifts,” a neat fifty-year-old took the mic and a co-organizer readied the projector. I’d been here nearly two hours and was surreptitiously looking for a waiter– I was parched. A withered employee stood in the corner, fiddling with some glasses and a pitcher of water. I made eye contact with him, but he merely opened his mouth, wrinkled his forehead a bit, and went back to his busy work.

A basso Min-Raise Blues.

“He’s worked here for thirty-five years,” Bill told me. Well, he’s not getting work anywhere else like this, I supposed.

Then the heavy thud of the mic took over. Our grave host announced the question of the day, an apparently 

compelling scenario that “we all knew.”

“We open two kings and in position an unknown player min-raises us.”

The cabal had finally reached its purpose. As Doug Hull termed it, the granddaddy of poker discussion groups was about to open its books.

“But there’s a complication: The small blind folds and exposes his hand. He has a king. Then the big blind folds and exposes his hand by accident as well – he has an ace.”

What the hell is this?

“What do we do?” the host breathed into the mic. Bass and garble echoed. Why do Americans love using sound equipment when it’s clearly not needed?

Hands shot up. The room was now full. Middle-aged and older men and women were in booths and at tables. Some of their faces seemed familiar. Had I seen them in videos or on the walls of some casino? I couldn’t place who any of them were, but instinctively knew I should.

Members shouted out answers.

The host took back the initiative, still breathing heavily into the unnecessary mic. “I hope you all know enough to just call.”

Really. Well, not everyone agreed. One member offered a contrary opinion:

“I would fold! This isn’t a good situation.”

Then a dignified man with a moustache – who we’ll call Troy Booke to completely disguise him,  demurred. “What about value? What about pocket queens, pocket tens… Poker is gambling.”

Wise Counselor Troy briefly intervened.
Wise Counselor Troy briefly intervened.

I liked this man immediately, he understood the game. I also liked his tone, but in it I felt a decade of effort. A weariness: he’d said this before. He trailed off, not expecting to be listened to.

I understood, all at once, the Wednesday Poker and Burrito Night from Troy Booke’s tone.

Then, another man, aggressive, one with a little rage and with a raggedy red and white beard, took over.

“There’s no value in raising! Pocket queens will fold if we raise!”

This fellow was not so sympathetic. I looked over at Pagliaccio, and realized I was uncomfortable. I was in the heart of a place that I didn’t belong, the center of the conspiracy to make the games in Vegas bad. This room, the back of a strip mall restaurant, is where everything I’ve inveighed against happens.

Yet who had just min-raised aces? Who wins, Pagliaccio or me?

Our game is relational. If we conserve our equity and always attempt to have the best of it one hundred percent of the time – even in this absurd example, a very a real one to those self-trapped in the one-dimensional world of best-handing tourists – we strangle the action. We spend hours arguing over microedges. We have a poorer strategy that never goes anywhere and never rises to newer, more fascinating challenges. This advantage of trying to ensure that we always have the best cards, which the saint of creative poker Andrew Seidman called the first and least important edge a player can have, does little in the long run for the player or his ecosystem.

There is no hope in this approach. There is no joy in this poker world.  It is a flat, dry, empty and waterless land.

The air remained stagnant, despite the imaginary fan. I looked hopelessly for the waiter. Scanning the restaurant, I could see that the happy Mexican family had departed and only the WPDG  members remained. The employees became more serious, indifferent and accustomed to the curious group they hosted every week, every month, every year. These were frugal clients, too, wise to every dollar. They ordered little: it suddenly dawned on me why the old dude wasn’t going to serve me.

Meanwhile, the strategy host tried to keep the group focused by laying out a series of scenarios. “There’s a queen on the flop…”

“Well now we don’t beat anything!” came a shout. “Check-fold.”

Bill silently rehearsed fan-favorite Bourbon Hour is Next.

“We shouldn’t have called in the first place,” announced the original folder, smugly satisfied.

I kicked at the chair leg in front of me. I needed to pass the time and stay low. However, Bill was having none of it. He’s a sharp old coot, one whose quiet, successful career, life, and politics speak to the dignity of the individual. In an age of grievance politics, identity whoring, and self-righteous triviality disguised as virtue, he keeps his own counsel.

However, the august among us often enjoy the defects of their earned indifference to puerile social pressure. In an unintentionally loud voice, BIll abruptly announced to me:

“This is why I don’t come here much anymore!”

Eyes shot my way. I didn’t know whether to laugh or hope the cabal’s attention wouldn’t find me. Fortunately, the conversation droned on while I sat frozen. The host’s lips remained stuck to the mic. I could sense his heartbeat. I squirmed and wanted to leave.

However, it was at that exact moment that my natural vocation as poker educator got the best of me. While the group discussed all the ways which they were beat, I realized something, something that keeps me writing, keeps me in the poker forums, and keeps me in a half-dozen poker chat groups:

I can’t help myself.

There was only one guardian who could stop me.  I asked Bill, “Should I say something?”

Please say no.

Bill, this is where you say, no.

“Yes,” Bill urged, in that commanding tone of someone who isn’t making an order but knows what he is talking about. Goddamn you and your integrity, Bill.

Time to come out of the shadows. I raised my hand while the conversation had steered back to the preflop value.

The host pointed to me, and I began.

“There is something very wrong here. We can’t discuss this hand in the way you are doing it. If you can’t raise kings, it’s not the problem of your hand or the min-raise, it’s because there is something wrong with your strategy.”

The voices in the room stopped. I continued.

“You should be trying to felt this hand and to encourage the raiser to come along. But you can’t do that if the presumption is you can only call with kings, because if queens are folding it means your frequencies are all off…”

The silence had been just temporary and now the storm of voices began, redoubled in energy.

Having beaten many other monks, the dangerous Kingsfolder Shortstack knew his song well.

“That’s not how to play the game!” Raging Beard was across the table from me, but was now shouting. “No one at one-two raises anything less than aces here if they like money!”

I continued my argument. “It’s not a disaster if you felt versus the occasional aces, but it is a disaster if no one can play any hands beyond aces for multiple raises. You’ll get that money back in the reciprocal scenario, and gain in all the other opportunities to get value or win with a bluff. These frequencies being proposed here are exactly what makes the games in this city bad.”

The room remained silent, but this inflamed Raging Beard, who would hear no such blasphemy here in Castle Nit. He seized on the micro argument. “Balance is NOT needed in low-stakes cash games. If you read my article in Poker News…”

I cut this one-off at the pass. “I’m not talking about raising for balance. Balance is the natural result of a well-constructed strategy. You don’t do things for balance’s sake.”

However, this was too much heresy, apparently, because the meeting suddenly both exploded and collapsed. The host tried to single out members to respond but everyone was talking at once. Raging Beard leapt up from his chair to confront me.

“We have covered this before…” the host’s voice waned and waxed at once, frustrated: his control, and the meeting itself, was effectively over. I stood up to leave, but Raging Beard and several others surrounded me.

“This is a bad idea. This is not how it is!” my Poker News antagonist admonished. Raging Beard waved his index finger in my face while suggesting I could damage the poker lives of the believers in the room with my carelessness.

I’ve never liked being pointed at; duels have been fought over less. However, I was saved. None other than Impolite Cell Phone Guy suddenly reappeared!

“I agree with what he’s saying,” my unexpected champion declared.

“You would…” countered my persecutor.

Raging Beard of Poker News and Impolite Cell Phone Guy argued. I packed up my things, rescued by an unexpected savior. I escaped from the building and waited for Bill outside. However, true to his character, he was taking his time.

I smiled weakly as the members filed out and stared at me. Pagliaccio trundled by, avoiding my glance and looking war-weary. In truth, my issue with him and his kind was over, if only for today. I’ve written about them before, but seeing the enemy up close, in his home country, in his very citadel tower at the Small Counsel of Nit’s Landing, provided a new perspective. Maybe these guys just don’t see what to do or what is good for everyone.

One however, chose not to avoid me. A serene woman in her sixties, dressed classic American comfortable, with the feathering hair and bright colors of the southwest, approached and greeted me. She’d been in a booth and seemed to have some standing in the group. Graciously she wished me well.

“I hope you return next week and tell us more of your ‘theories.’

Addio, gentle poker Nedda.

I thanked her for her mysterious farewell and she disappeared, smiling, into the burning afternoon parking lot. The ceaseless Nevada sun blurred and crisped the air.

I felt better about speaking. The welcome of women is important – they hold the keys to society, they ameliorate the bombast of men and their inborn stubbornness which creates and destroys. It’s not Pagliaccio who will help make the games fun for tourists and everyone by expanding their strategy, but people like her, who have the patience to humor jesters like myself and perhaps find the heart of the matter on the lips of the fool, because they understand behavior and how politesse opens the mind. Nevertheless, I won’t be coming back to this amazing, troublesome little Flat Earth Society, if only because I’m no resident of Las Vegas.

Bill had been right about me needing to speak, however calamitous. Sometimes, whether Canio or Nedda or Silvio, we just have to play our role and it means nothing beyond that.

Or…maybe something more real was beginning to slowly turn? Could my “theories” add up to something?

Ha… nevermind.

La commedia del poker non è mai finita.

9 Comments

  1. I can imagine the conversations about you and your theories. It would amount to one nit telling another, “Did you hear him try to destroy our Nit Agreement?”

    “What a fool. How can 192 nits be wrong?”

    Great Article :-)

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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.