Monday, January 30, 2012

Poker's anomaly : The preference of tactics over strategy

Firstly, a brief definition of tactics and strategy applied to the game of Poker :

Tactics : The operational way of how each hand of Poker is played at the moment of conflict.

Strategy : The planning and execution before, during and after to set up and lead the opponents into tactical situations that favours the planner. 

Now that the above words have been defined for today's post, do note that this is not a post on how to play Poker but rather a commentary on observations of players favoring the strange situation of tactics over strategy. It is a situation that tends to rise up during a game with some but not all of the players that take Poker more seriously. This situation that arises is illogical as those players would tend to enthusiastically inform others on how much they would love to play against a player who is weak and that they are long term profit seeking individuals but in practice show actions that pit tactics over strategy. Thus losing in most cases, value in the long run. 

For example, during a raked Poker game of the author's personal experience. There was player A who called player B's pot size bet on the flop and turn to catch his flush on the river in a game of Texas Hold'em. Mathematically, A's play was wrong, as in the long run, A will be losing money. The hand being over, this is when B started to show the strange behaviour of favoring tactics over strategy. B started to focus only on how the hand is played and angrily berate very openly how bad A had played. This in the end, made A feel angry and leave the game with his profit (including B's money). In conversations later, when asked if B would want to play more with A, B said yes. The evident hypocrisy being, if one wanted to play more with a weaker player, B should have just have left A alone, continue to play 'bad' and allow the math of Poker to gain a profit over A in the long run. Instead by annoying A, A would in future not want to play at the game B plays at and in essence, B has lost value from a uneven match up where B feels he is the favorite.  

This being said, the above situation is usually not so direct and the berating is usually put in a mild manner or even sarcastically as a joke but in the end still equates to the same result of insulted individuals. Who would then prefer not to play with the berating player in the future. This is simply because, most people are not stupid and tend to know when they are being insulted. It would seem too that some berating individuals have a more skewed view of the Math of Poker, as their reaction to losing a hand they are leading percentage wise tends to feel like they really could not fathom out of the realm of nature that they could lose at all. Losing their cool/temper in this way in one's view, equivalent to being angry that the sun rose the next day, as even losing a 98% locked in to win hand is going to happen sooner or later. Their actions from an outside perspective, seeming to state that others should play like how they want them to and then perfectly, lose to them rather than for them to adjust and counter the plays styles of their opponents.

In conclusion, one feels the focus on strategy over tactics is definitely a more profitable and happy one. As if all one does in Poker would result in a more likely profit in the end, then it makes it easier to take the bad beats and plays dished out by Lady Luck and other players. For through adjustments to each opponent and the understanding that in the long run, if one's opponents puts their money in mathematically bad and wins, the money coming back anyway. Taking each lost as the opponent having paid for this unlikely win this one of a few rare times. 

Till next word...


  1. Quite an insightful read, thanks bro ! Cheers Terence

    1. Thank you good sir and I do hope to give more good reads in the future. Cheers.

  2. Just like I mentioned previously about playing Poker being similar to life, you get dealt a set of cards, sometimes it is a good hand, sometimes it's a bad hand.judi poker online

    1. Yes indeed, it is how you run with the punches and deal with the hand or life on average that makes the difference in the long term not for just the moment.