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Getting the Right Price: Recognizing Good Investments in Poker

Getting the Right Price: Recognizing Good Investments in Poker 0001

Poker strategy is often compared to decision-making in the business world, particularly when it comes to making choices about investments in which one is guided by the desire to enjoy a positive return for a financial commitment.

This week Thinking Poker podcast co-host Andrew Brokos explores that very idea in a new column for Learn.PokerNews in which he explains how thinking in terms of cost and potential return can help clarify the decisions you make at the table.

Andrew starts his discussion by presenting that comparison, then immediately begins to apply the investment analogy to particular choices made during a poker hand. As he explains...

A common bit of financial wisdom says that there is no such thing as a good or bad stock, only a good or bad price. Strong companies can be overvalued and weak companies can be undervalued, so what matters is not only the ultimate profitability of the company but what you pay for your share of it.

Much the same applies to poker, where there is very little you get to do for free. Even checking or folding comes at the “price” of a lost opportunity. Checking when you could have profitably bluffed or bet for value costs you money just as surely as does folding the best hand or calling from behind.

It’s a common mistake for poker players to focus only on the potential upside or downside of a wager and not pay enough attention to the price. This often leads to seemingly contradictory mistakes of sometimes paying too high of a price to play speculative hands and other times declining a very good price to play so-called “trouble hands.”

From there Andrew explores common errors players make with such an inconsistent “investment strategy” at the tables, pointing out examples that show players either paying a price incorrectly (say, when calling preflop raises with speculative hands) or failing to pay a price when the odds are favorable to do so (say, when not defending one’s blind against a raise).

As he points out, “thinking in terms of price requires more effort, including some study away from the table, than just going with your gut about whether a hand feels like a winner.”

Get a start on such study by heading over to Learn.PokerNews and investing some time reading Andrew’s recommendations in “Thinking Poker: Everything Has Its Price.”

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Martin Harris

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