CORDIAL MINUET ENSEMBLE

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#1 2014-11-25 13:54:39

..
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Registered: 2014-11-21
Posts: 259

Being conservative: Are the intial bets/antes too small?

Someone (Asminthe?) suggested in another thread that optimal play for CM might turn out to be very tight (meaning, folding if you don't get great numbers), and I'm starting to agree. I just played a game with 27 rounds and after the 25th round our coin stacks were still 95 vs. 91, because the other player folded a great deal. And why not?  You only lose 1 coin if you fold at the first opportunity, which is insignificant compared to the results of the real rounds.  The main downsides are firstly the high likelihood that your opponent will be annoyed and leave; and that it's more obvious when you have a good score. But in the later case your opponent is probably going to play the round anyway, because the alternative is to leave. The problems are obvious: it's slow and boring.

One particular strategy I've tried using, and which I was confident my opponent in the above game was actually using, is to pick a column for yourself with 3 quite high values and 3 low values. Fold if you don't get a high number. If your opponent catches on then you'll be folding more than the 50% of the time that you would otherwise, but that just doesn't matter.  You can't manipulate your 'chance of luck' like that in poker.

So I'd like to hear about others' experiences.  Apparently in no-limit poker you have means such as blinds to force people to put more money on each hand? (But anyone who's actually played it knows more than me.)  The way I see it, the most important skill in this game is still whether you can guess whether your opponent is bluffing when they go all-in, because the amounts in play are huge compared to the one-coin ante/initial bet.  Also, I think it's a problem because when I join a game with stakes of $1 I don't know whether we'll be playing rounds for amounts of $1 or $0.1.  I wonder whether both could be tackled by raising the initial bet amount.  I'm assuming that double the initial bet would also have the effect of increasing the size of other bets that people place, due being willing to match larger raises to protect your initial investment (equity), meaning you'd play games for lower total stakes.  (At least, I think that a rational actor would; obviously humans aren't rational but it might still have some such effect?)

An alternative is to limit the sizes of bets (eg to current pot size). If I know the opponent can't go all in then I'll play for bigger stakes, pots will be a smaller number of coins on average, and the starting coins will matter more.

Obviously, this sort of thing requires lots of time/playtesting to determine, so I'm not asking for anything to be changed.

Last edited by .. (2014-11-25 13:59:52)

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#2 2014-11-25 14:13:15

AnoHito
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Registered: 2014-11-24
Posts: 116

Re: Being conservative: Are the intial bets/antes too small?

I actually commented a bit on this in reply to your post in my thread, but yea, even as someone who exploited this strategy, I have to agree the antes should probably be raised. I think five would be more like it. It would keep the pressure high early in the game so it would make more sense to bet aggressively early on. The downside of course is that it makes the game more random because you are forced to make important decisions earlier in the game when you have less information. An outside of the box alternative approach might be to introduce a new game element that penalized excessive folding, but I'm not sure what the best way to do that would be.

.. wrote:

One particular strategy I've tried using, and which I was confident my opponent in the above game was actually using, is to pick a column for yourself with 3 quite high values and 3 low values. Fold if you don't get a high number. If your opponent catches on then you'll be folding more than the 50% of the time that you would otherwise, but that just doesn't matter.  You can't manipulate your 'chance of luck' like that in poker.

That was my dominant strategy, but I was actually running several alternative strategies that I utilized at times when I wanted to keep you guessing. Can you figure out what they were? wink

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#3 2014-11-25 14:33:51

..
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Registered: 2014-11-21
Posts: 259

Re: Being conservative: Are the intial bets/antes too small?

Well, I think that 5 coins would be too high. Plus, I haven't seen any other players play as conservatively as you, so I suggested wait-and-see what develops.

I noticed you often play a slow beginning if you had a good number, preferring to let the other raise, and only matching. Bet amounts were quite indicative of numbers held, and you didn't bluff with large amounts.

Last edited by .. (2014-11-25 14:34:35)

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#4 2014-11-25 14:48:46

AnoHito
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Registered: 2014-11-24
Posts: 116

Re: Being conservative: Are the intial bets/antes too small?

.. wrote:

I noticed you often play a slow beginning if you had a good number, preferring to let the other raise, and only matching.

Right, and this is mainly because you were actually raising very consistently. Because I could rely on you to raise for me, I didn't usually feel the need to raise before late in the game, because it would have just given you more information about the strength of my hand.

.. wrote:

Bet amounts were quite indicative of numbers held, and you didn't bluff with large amounts.

Well, it never really good practice to bluff with large amounts unless you have a strong reason to believe you have the more valuable position. And anyway, if you are going to bluff at all, it needs to be within the range of your typical raise, or it's a dead giveaway. Oh, and I actually did blatantly bluff a few times, but it was because I had reason to believe you probably had a weak position too, and you never really called me on it.

By the way, don't take it personally that I'm pointing out how I exploited some of your strategic choices. I enjoy analyzing this stuff more than actually playing the game. wink

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#5 2014-11-25 17:23:41

a_fiendish_thingy
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Registered: 2014-11-21
Posts: 15

Re: Being conservative: Are the intial bets/antes too small?

Chiming in, I think that a larger blind (for lack of a better word) would be beneficial. Maybe something like 3 coins? Three feels much more significant to lose rather than one, but is still small enough to be willing to fold.

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#6 2014-11-25 18:08:58

AnoHito
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Registered: 2014-11-24
Posts: 116

Re: Being conservative: Are the intial bets/antes too small?

And an ante of three would make the minimum pot size six, which fits in nicely with the theme of the game. wink

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#7 2014-11-25 18:19:59

Asminthe
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Registered: 2014-11-21
Posts: 44

Re: Being conservative: Are the intial bets/antes too small?

Raising the antes would not be good. The smaller your starting stack at the beginning of the game relative to the amount in the pot at the beginning of the game, the less room there is for skillful play.

Winning isn't about getting all your opponent's coins, it's about making a profit over the long term, and there are other ways to do that than to have hands play out to the point where people are making enormous bets all the time. Keep in mind that even good professional poker players are happy with a win rate of 5bb/100 hands, which is like the equivalent of being up 3-4 coins total after a hundred boards. Unless you're playing against someone who is so significantly less skilled than you that it's hardly even a fair game, you should not expect to be able to maintain very high win rates (although they will probably be higher than the 6-handed poker I'm used to, since the play is heads up and should therefore end up a bit looser).

You should try lowering your expectations about the average size of pots and work on learning additional ways to profit.

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#8 2014-11-25 21:16:38

Preece
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Registered: 2014-11-21
Posts: 7

Re: Being conservative: Are the intial bets/antes too small?

I agree with Asminthe. I feel that the real skill comes into play mostly with boards that are slightly advantageous. If you get < 15 on your first square, it's just not smart to keep playing that hand out. A larger ante would not maker it a better choice, just more costly.

I also feel that if the ante were larger, it would allow me to knuckle people easier, when my pot is larger. That is, being aggressive with decent hands, scaring the other person off and slowly taking away their chips. Right now it's just too slow and risky to do that all the time.

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#9 2014-11-27 01:47:14

jasonrohrer
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Registered: 2014-11-20
Posts: 801

Re: Being conservative: Are the intial bets/antes too small?

I've thought about this...

I set the antes based on fraction-of-max-buy-in that is used in poker.  You buy in with 100x the big blind, for example.

Raising the ante would have a similar effect to giving the players fewer chips (instead of making the ante 2, keep it at 1 and give each player 50 chips).  The only difference would be the granularity of bets above the ante (for example, being able to raise a 2-chip ante up to 3 by putting in one chip).  But in poker, that kind of granularity is thwarted by the minimum bet and raise rules.  You can't raise by half the big blind, for example.

Seeing people go all-in all the time down at the penny tables is a symptom of a penny being worthless.  Conservative play is the first step toward becoming more skilled.  You don't have to worry about that all-in behavior so much if you move up to a $5 table.  At a $100 table (which is more like the norm for poker), each chip is $1, and that ante stops looking so small.

But anyway, there are ways to play against an over-aggressive player who goes all-in all the time... very satisfying ways...

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#10 2014-11-27 11:58:07

..
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Registered: 2014-11-21
Posts: 259

Re: Being conservative: Are the intial bets/antes too small?

I'm willing to admit that I'm bad at dealing with large bets and bluffs, and that stakes of a few cents will make people act quite differently.

I completely agree with Asminthe that anything to reduce the number of rounds in a game would be bad. Actually, I wanted to do the opposite but I hadn't considered it carefully enough. My other suggestion which I should have focused on was a limit on bet sizes (as a per-table option?)

That would the side effect of causing people to play for higher stakes. If a player is risk-adverse (myself, admittedly), then they might not call a $20 bluff if they're only 67% sure that it's a bluff and they've only got $30 in their account. So they'll probably go to much lower stakes which work to to cents per coin (1% * 5% * $30 = 1.5c by Asminthe's rule). Again, it lets you know what amounts you'll actually be risking.


Keep in mind that even good professional poker players are happy with a win rate of 5bb/100 hands, which is like the equivalent of being up 3-4 coins total after a hundred boards.

How does that work? Surely a rake of even 1-2% would totally eat that up? (But I don't know what the average bet size in bb for professional play would be).

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#11 2014-11-27 13:30:51

AnoHito
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Registered: 2014-11-24
Posts: 116

Re: Being conservative: Are the intial bets/antes too small?

I would just like to say, that personally, I am 100% in favor of tables with higher buy-ins and low bet limits. But then again, I'm trying to find ways to break the game, so that's probably not a good sign. wink

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#12 2014-11-27 17:37:50

Asminthe
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Registered: 2014-11-21
Posts: 44

Re: Being conservative: Are the intial bets/antes too small?

.. wrote:

How does that work? Surely a rake of even 1-2% would totally eat that up? (But I don't know what the average bet size in bb for professional play would be).

Win rate calculations are post rake. 5bb/100 means that you're actually up 5 big blinds per 100 hands, taking everything into consideration.

Last edited by Asminthe (2014-11-27 17:56:05)

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#13 2014-11-27 17:48:24

Asminthe
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Registered: 2014-11-21
Posts: 44

Re: Being conservative: Are the intial bets/antes too small?

As far as limits go, I think no limit was really the right choice for this game. Maybe an argument could be made for a pot-limit version (where the maximum bet is the current size of the pot), but it would really hurt the last betting round in this game, since the range of scores is so small at that point it can take some extreme bets in certain situations for play to be interesting there.  Additionally, it is being advocated here mostly in a "I want to be playing for more money but not playing for as much money" way that doesn't really make sense and suggests to me that people should be adjusting the size of the game they are playing rather than trying to get new rule options.

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#14 2014-11-27 22:19:25

jasonrohrer
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Registered: 2014-11-20
Posts: 801

Re: Being conservative: Are the intial bets/antes too small?

The reason this game is no-limit is pretty simple:

I play no-limit Holdem exclusively, and have no experience (not a single game's worth) with limit Holdem.  There's a lot of smoke blown about "no-limit being an art" when compared to limit.  See the film Rounders---I think there's a quote in there about that.

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#15 2014-11-28 10:24:51

..
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Registered: 2014-11-21
Posts: 259

Re: Being conservative: Are the intial bets/antes too small?

There's a lot of smoke blown about "no-limit being an art" when compared to limit.

I guess that makes sense since there's greater breadth of betting strategies. And not just making big bets; pot-limit betting for example wipes out the possibility for slow-fast play which would, well, suck.
I've heard no-limit is also harder for bots, I guess because it's more decisions and more opponent modelling.

Anyway, I was (though not obviously)  asking for a discussion rather than rule change, so, OK.

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#16 2014-11-28 10:32:34

Asminthe
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Registered: 2014-11-21
Posts: 44

Re: Being conservative: Are the intial bets/antes too small?

.. wrote:

I've heard no-limit is also harder for bots

Yes, much harder. The best limit hold'em bots can do pretty well, even against strong professional players, while most solid amateurs with a good grasp of the fundamentals can beat no limit bots as long as the stacks aren't too small.

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#17 2014-12-10 01:28:39

mzo
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Registered: 2014-12-09
Posts: 50

Re: Being conservative: Are the intial bets/antes too small?

Why allow folding on the first bet? I like how Pandante (Dave Sirlin's take on poker) prevents you from folding too early to encourage you to bluff more and salvage a bad start. That game has a lot more ways to increase your chances late game, but many still related to bluffing. I have salvaged and won even some CM games where my first # was a 1. If someone is going to fold on me all the time I'd want to get at least 2 coins from them.

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#18 2014-12-10 13:04:28

..
Member
Registered: 2014-11-21
Posts: 259

Re: Being conservative: Are the intial bets/antes too small?

Yes, it's not that unlikely to end with a decent score even with a 1. Plus winning with bad numbers is normal because the other player may have even worse numbers, so if the other player never folds on bad starts then there's no need for you do the same (but it might be to your advantage to do so anyway).

How would not allowing folding work? You have to allow not matching a bet/raise, otherwise there's no choice. I assume that you mean a low limit on bet sizes in the first round too.

Last edited by .. (2014-12-10 13:06:53)

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#19 2014-12-10 16:13:36

mzo
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Registered: 2014-12-09
Posts: 50

Re: Being conservative: Are the intial bets/antes too small?

Yeah I'd assume a limit of some sort on the first bet. There's rarely much point to raising on the first bet anyways and most agree raising early is generally a bad idea unless you're trying to appear like a newb.

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