Poker Strategy : Anchoring And Bet Sizing
Poker Strategy : Anchoring And Bet Sizing
if ask a group of people how much is it for a beautiful headset? . You take a group of people and divide them in two. You ask the first group, “How much do you think these headphones are worth?” and take down their answers.
You ask the second group two questions. First, you ask, “Do you think these headphones are worth more or less than $200?” Then after they answer that, you ask, “How much do you think these headphones are worth?”
Even if everyone in the second group says the headphones are worth less $200, you can still expect that group to give a higher valued answer to the real question, “How much are they worth?” Maybe the first group will give answers that average to $40 and the second group to $60.
By tossing out the number $200 before you ask the real question, you’ve anchored your audience. They have that $200 number in their head and even if it’s not a realistic number, people will tend to answer the second question in relation to the $200 rather than come up with their own number out of thin air.
Even though I couldn’t articulate the anchoring concept until I read the book, I have used a similar idea in no-limit games for many years.
In live no-limit games, the stacks are often very deep compared to the size of the blinds. Like in a $5-$10 game you might have players playing $3,000 or $5,000 stacks or even more. The trick to it is to figure out how to get your opponents to put that money in the pot, and to do it in a bad (for them) situation.
Many live games these days are played fairly tight and solid. Yeah, there’s $5,000 on the table, but the bets are $40 and $100 and $300, not $3,000. If all the money ever does go in, it’s likely to be a nuts versus second nuts situation. (I’m not saying all live games play like this, obviously. Just some, and more these days than in the past.)
When you’re in a game like this one, playing smaller than the stacks, you usually want to try to open it up. The reason that everyone is playing smaller than the stacks is because that’s what they’re used to, and that’s the level where the poker math makes intuitive sense to them. When the bets get bigger, they lose their intuition, start making mistakes, and potentially end up getting stacks in bad.
What I do is I look for situations where I can make extra-large bets and it’s unlikely to hurt me. One common situation is where I am in position and have a much stronger hand range than my opponent is marked with. This comes up often on the turn when a card I know is bad for my opponent’s range hits.
When I bet, I know that my opponent is very likely to fold. And if he calls I’m still likely to be in fine shape with position and one betting round to go. It really doesn’t matter then much how much I bet in this situation—the outcomes run fairly close together in value for me. So I’ll throw out a big bet and announce the size verbally.
The goal isn’t to get anything to happen on this hand. I’m likely going to get a fold and win a modest pot. The goal is just to get that bet size number out there where people hear it. The hope is that my opponents’ future bet-sizing decisions will be influenced by the number I threw out and the game will open up a bit.
Even if that doesn’t work, I think this idea can help in a related but slightly different way. Other players, particularly better players, may have noticed the weird bet size and come to the (correct) conclusion that it’s a bit wild and oversized for the situation. They can draw a fallacious conclusion from this observation.
They could assume that the bet is weirdly-sized because I’m bluffing. Or they could assume that the bet is weirdly-sized because I’m going for value. This assumption will then affect the future hand-reading they do on me
by Ed Miller
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