Las Vegas Gambling Tips: Poker Theory vs. Reality — Part One
On The Town With Vegas Vic
By: Victor H. Royer
Welcome to Las Vegas! My name is Victor H. Royer, but everyone just calls me Vegas Vic. I was named after that famous neon sign in Downtown Las Vegas, that cowboy with the hat on top of the Pioneer Club, always waving his hand and beckoning to his long love, Sassy Sally, on the other side of the street. I will be writing a few articles for AccessVegas.com, so I hope you enjoy them.
Poker Theory vs. Reality — Part One
In order to become good at any kind of game, poker included, it is not only necessary to learn the required rules of the game itself, but it helps if you also learn the game theory behind your game of choice, or perhaps the general game theory as that may apply to such relevant game concepts. Game theory itself is a universal concept that spans and transcends the human animal’s instinctive and innate propensity to engage in such activities, which we as sentient human beings tend to describe as “playing”, or “games”. Most animals in the universe as we now understand it, and particularly what we call “more evolved” mammalian species, engage in some form of nonfatal combat that we all described as playing, or game playing. We humans, who are the most evolved of such mammalian species, and who consider ourselves to be not only self-aware but also intellectually sentient, have taken these concepts further and evolved from them structured methods of nonfatal combat which we universally call “games”. From this we have further evolved what can probably be considered as two basic forms of such games, categorized as “physical” and “intellectual”.
Physical games are games that used to be played in arenas where such combat was very often fatal, such as in the arenas of the Roman Empire or the jousts of Arthurian England legends. In our modern-day civilized nation we still continue with such physical games, but we no longer play them as a fatal form of combat, and instead use numerical scoring to determine a winner. Such are the games that we know as football, baseball, cricket, soccer, tennis, basketball, as well as other games such as Olympic sports, boxing, skiing, and the other multitude of such physical combat sports. These days no one usually dies as a result of losing any such combative games, but the winner is still heralded for the achievements he or she has made.
On the other side of this game calling, of course, are the intellectual games. Intellectual games are games such as, for example, chess, backgammon, all traditional casino games, and of course most forms of card playing, which include poker. They are defined and classified as intellectual games because they require more brainpower than physical prowess to achieve success and determine a winner. Although someone can be a highly successful Olympic decathlon winner, or can easily triumph in a triathlon, those very same and great physical skills that allow such champions to be so very good at these physical games — which we now mostly call by the moniker “sports” — such physical skills are within themselves insufficient to make such champions also equally as good at perhaps championship chess, or championship poker.
Of course the converse also applies. While it is true that there are many examples of people who are great champions in sports who are also champions in intellectual games, as well as champions of intellectual games who are also great athletes and champions in sports, the fact nevertheless remains that the skills used to become a champion in one are not necessarily the very same skills required to become a champion in the other. Physical games require great physical prowess, but not necessarily the equivalent application of individual intellectual skills, because those are usually reserved for the managers or coaches. On the other hand, intellectual games such as chess and poker very often also require the application of physical strength, and in particular stamina.
This is particularly true for poker tournaments, especially many of the major events that often take several days to complete. It is the successful combination of applied intellect and managed physical prowess that together combine to allow the knowledgeable poker player to withstand and continually succeed in such exceptional activities as lengthy poker tournaments demand.
All of this is necessary for us to understand, particularly when we begin to apply ourselves to understanding the concepts behind game theory and the reality of the world in which we will actually be playing. For the brief discussion that will now follow, we will dispense with physical games or sports, and instead concentrate purely on that side of the coin which we have identified as the intellectual games. Poker is one of those games, and it also partakes of those aspects of game theory as such generally apply to this particular form of gaming.
General game theory are often mathematical and behavioral constructs that illustrate the perceived behavioral abilities within the constructs of the theoretical models to which they may apply. More specifically, game theory as applied to poker, and in particular to Texas Hold’Em, tends to focus and compartmentalize such generalities into that very finite slice of the overall universe which we consider the rules of that poker game. Since I assume that you already know the rules of Texas Hold’Em, as well as most likely all of the relevant data, percentages, applied concepts related thereto, and all the other numbers that are relevant to the mathematical and statistical analyses of Texas Hold’Em, I will not repeat nor enumerate them here. Instead, I will concentrate on illustrating the differences between such theoretical concepts and the realities to which they are meant to apply.
Click to read Poker Theory vs. Reality — Part One (Continued)
Victor H. Royer, known as Vegas Vic, is the author of 42 books. Mostly known for books, articles, and columns on casino games and gambling, he is also the author of New Casino Slots, Great Gamblers: True Stories and Amazing Facts, The Great American Joke Book, as well as his works of Fiction, which include: Another Day, and the Western: Riders on the Wind. Versatile and multitalented, Royer is the creator, producer, and host of the Web-TV show Great Casino Slots, now showing at www.LasVegasLiveTV.com. He also composes music and performs under the names Glenn Diamond, Pappy Jones, Hans Dorfmann, and Miguel Armandaiz. For more information, please visit him at www.MoreCasinoDeals.com and www.GamingAuthor.com. Sign up for the Insider Advantage Newsletter at: http://www.accessvegas.com/membership
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