Tuesday, September 18, 2007

High Stakes Poker

Warning post contains spoiler information on one hand of High Stakes Poker!

On last nights episode the amateur (referred to as Quiet Mike) raised pre-flop with a 23. I believe Phil Helmuth called raise with 44 to set mine the flop. The flop was 4 5 K and I believe betting action was then check by Phil bet by Mike, Phil raised to $30k (leaving $30k-$60k behind) and Mike shoved and Phil did one of his patented quick calls. Final Pot was ~$202k.

At this point Mike offered to run it twice. Phil declined but offered Eli Elezra the chance to "insure the hand" for $30k at 2.6:1. I felt fascinated by this on so many levels.

Running hand twice as 3:1 favorite means ~56% of time Phil wins both times, ~5% of time Phil loses twice and 39% of time they chop.

Insurance means Phil nets $170k 76% of time and nets $78k 24% of time.

If I am Eli Elezra and my bankroll is deep enough I insure Phil every time, he has just been presented a game of chance with a 13% house edge.

If I am Mike I am pissed because if Phil does not want to run it twice then I would actually prefer to offer him insurance as now instead of making $202k 25% of time I make $30k back and can make an additional $94k 25% of time.

I can now understand why the other pros are so giddy when they see Phil sit down at the cash table. He makes great reads and plays well but he has aspect of his game where the variance scares him and he is willing to give up +EV at payoff odds in line with house edge on casino bonus bets.

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