Note: Not at the old Poker1 site. A version of this entry was originally published (1993) in Card Player magazine.
Rediscovered and added to Poker1 in 2014.
A very important poker secret
I’ll share this secret if you promise not to tell. It’s one of those secrets I usually only tell to players who have paid for personal advice, but I’m passing it along here for three reasons.
First, I’m not currently providing personal instruction at any price. Second, Card Player readers are among my favorite people on earth. Third, it’s Christmas time.
How many players on average? One question you should ask yourself is: “On average how many players stay to see the flop?” or “… stay for the fourth card (in seven-card stud, razz, or high-low split)?” or “… stay to draw cards.”
Years ago, before stud and hold ’em became legal in California, one of the most successful draw poker players selected his games based mostly on that single factor alone. He’d count the total number of players who entered 10 pots. The higher that number, the more inclined he was to remain in the game.
The more, the merrier. It makes sense. Obviously, the more players who enter pots, the looser the game, and the more potential for profit. Although an intelligent argument has been made that having all loose players in a game is not as good as having a majority of loose players, my analysis doesn’t concur. The more loose, weak players, the more money you’ll make. Period.
Those who argue differently believe that it’s important to have some stable opponents, because by being predictable they allow you to choose strategy that extracts more money from your weak opponents. I strongly disagree, although sometimes you can benefit by bouncing your strategy off a predictable opponent. Overall, though, seeking as many weak and loose players as you can means maximum money.
The secret I’m sharing today goes beyond finding a loose game. You should seek a specific type of loose game — one where opponents are equally weak, relative to each other. Suppose there’s a ninth seat available in two adjoining hold ’em games. In each game the total number of participants in the last 10 pots adds up to 36 — a high sum.
But wait! In one game, four loose players account for 28 of that sum (playing an average of two pots each), while the remaining tight four players account for only eight of that sum (playing an average of two pots each).
In the other game, all the players are equally loose, accounting for an average four-and-a-half played pots each.
Listen! There is no similarity in the profit potential. The second game, with those equally weak opponents, is much better! That’s true even though there are some even-looser players in the first game.
The sad fact is, in that first game, you must share your opponents’ losses with some other more-sensible players. In the second game, you’ve got the losers all to yourself — it’s all your profit.
The secret. The secret is that when games are equally loose, gauged by the number of total players per pot, you should pick the one with all moderately weak players, not the one with both sensible and extremely weak players.
Equality and weakness. Find it. — MC