17 thoughts on “Episode 83: WSOP Update with Leo Wolpert

  1. Great to have Leo back.

    I did in fact laugh out loud when AB said “too soon” to Nate’s reference.

    • Thank you for the kind words, Russell. Glad Nate didn’t pass up on such a cream spot to drop a “too soon.” Casting like a seasoned vet!

  2. Hello Leo!
    I have similar view about my poker game and thought process.
    I am unable to identify anything that I could call “my poker thinking” -controlled activity which takes any length of time.
    Thoughts appear to come to me more or less instantaneously.
    I feel that my poker thinking is very rudimentary: no individual control over my thoughts ,no personal creativity involved.
    I am unable to identify start and end of my thought.
    There is a some time-based element – the subsequent occurrence of further related thoughts.

    Context:I currently play PLO 3-6$ with pretty satisfactory results in relaxed focus mode.
    When I lessen Andrew analysis I had impression that his poker thinking is very controlled and sophisticated activity based on intellectual effort.

    • Andy,

      I’m no cognitive psychologist, but I suspect that the vast majority of poker players’ decisions are “instantaneous.” That is, their (our) decisions are not based on any sort of rigorous, controlled, coherent, (meta)rational, logical step-by-step process that produces an extremely accurate guess at what the best decision/line is. Rather, those decisions are based very heavily on some intuitive, inarticulable reaction to a situation experienced many, many times. I think this is especially true for online poker, where the time constraints (exacerbated by multitabling) make it tough to employ such a plodding, effortful thought process. For online poker, you really have to drill and your thought process away from the table so that your intuition more-or-less comports with it.

      Live poker is different. You have practically infinite time to go through a step-by-step decision process if you want to. I would like to think the best of the best live poker soulcrushers (especially the ones who tank heaps) actually do this, but that could easily just be hero-worship, mythmaking and variance. The greats could very likely just be button-clicking chimps like the rest of us, just they’ve trained themselves to intuitively click the right button more than everyone else.

      Jared Tendler’s books go into way more detail on similar topics.

      • I remember reading something on 2+2 by some high stakes guy linking to an article about the physical responses of certain people – like fighter pilots or special forces or something, who reason better in spots of extreme stress than they do in a state of rest; my hero-worship element would like to think that some of the greats are like that, and thus are calculating it all out at the table, but my personal in-game thought process is much closer to ‘omgomgomg wth wth aaaaaaah’ most of the time. My elephant needs a lot of coaching away from the table.

        And what was the quote about the emotional challenges of being a self critical neurotic perfectionist? Love it, so true.

  3. I second Andy’s comments. The primary reason I took up poker was to try to learn to think rationally in the moment. So far, I remain instinctive. My elephant needs a lot of training.

    this blog/podcast helps, but a lot of it, is about training your instincts via experience.

    Great episode.

  4. Excellent podcast – and as piefarmer says, it’s brilliant to have Leo on the show again. He’s definitely my favourite recurring guest. A Leo Wolpert poker/quizbowl podcast would be awesome.

    • Thanks, Chris. Glad you enjoyed it. A quizbowl/poker podcast would be pretty sweet, especially for the dozen or so people who got the in-jokes and obscure references. I’m already thinking up quizbowl-themed nicknames for hands (eg AJs is “Raffles” because of noted fictional gentleman thief and bad tossup answer, AJ Raffles).

      Boy I sure hope one of the 6 people who would get that quizbowl in-joke read these blog comments!

  5. interesting stuff on bunching id never heard of before. one thing i think could be useful to think about is when someone, ‘sweats’ their 2nd card we know the first one was paint. which we should notice if we are looking left.

    • duggs,

      I dunno about that live tell. These days I tend to sweat both cards pretty slowly no matter what I have. But I definitely used to have a live tell where if I looked down at a big hand (let’s say QQ+, AK) I’d insta-stop looking at them. Like, I’d peek, see the acebirds and then just snap put em down on the table, probably due to some sort of genuine “holy moly look at the sweet sweet gift fortuna has for me” feeling. Often I think the slow-sweat can come from seeing a bad card first, then just being kind of disappointed that you’re probably going to have to fold pre, so you kinda draaaagggggg it out before folding. Maybe that’s just me.

  6. I had an interesting exchange with Barry on the old poker road forums (now defunct or at least hard to find) and he ran simulations on bunching. There is bunching (in the degree Nate suggests, it must be nonzero by definition), and it is almost almost always inconsequential.

    AB once told me in a 20 handed game folding AK utg would likely be correct (I assume so!) in a brief discussion on his disdain for bunching talk (probably bc it unnecessarily detracts from the excellent didacticism of his 6m v 9m analogy). Rizen has a blog post that is pretty ideological stating bunching doesnt exist.

    Anyways what matters is no one folds AA in a cash game, no matter how many handed, no matter what position. Nontrivial bunching will occur with respect to AA in certain situations, so said the simulation. I have already said too much!

    • I am gonna copy/paste this into Google translate and see what it means in layman. I suspect it is profound and profoundly funny.

    • Ha, I was thinking whilst listening to this episode about reading something from Barry G about bunching on poker road involving simulations, way back in the distant past, although I recalled it as him using bunching as a reason for disparaging some short stacked SB unexploitable shove advocated by online wizards, and me thinking his analysis looked sketchy as hell and bunching looked insignificant.

      • well since I was a bit not on his side in that thread, though I actually didnt add anything of value if I recall, I agree that his intent was sort of to dispel sb open shipping up to some threshold and it was a dubious adventure to do so. and yeah I dont think his simulation did apply that broadly or how he intended, again if I recall correctly.

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