C8C #10 – Conjecture

Poker is all conjecture.
conjecture [kuhn-jek-cher]:
1) the formation or expression of an opinion or theory without sufficient evidence for proof.
2) an opinion or theory so formed or expressed; guess; speculation.

I ask my readers, if you have poker questions about hands, general strategy, or anything else poker you’d like answered, send me an e-mail, tweet, or DM, and I will incorporate those inquiries into future newsletters. I look forward to the responses.

Today’s Poker Advice:

Poker is a game where we formulate our opinion based on assumptions and incomplete information. Over time we gain info to compute, such as what starting hands someone plays and from which positions, but this too can change over time. Because of these factors, we will usually be guessing and almost never be completely certain.

This is also the great thing about no limit holdem! Although we can’t necessarily prove our opinion, there is enough substantial material present to us to make a decision. This includes, stack size, table position, history, structure of event, players remaining, personality of opponent, capital available, and so on… There are two beliefs I want to share that go along with the word conjecture.

Firstly, we must determine what information is valid at the current moment. We must sift through all the data we’ve received to make the most accurate assumptions, which will turn into the best possible decisions. Start with what you’ve been able to prove at showdown from your opponent then build off of that. Digest what your image is, how does your opponent view you? What has happened in the last thirty to sixty minutes in the game? How might this change the way the opponent plays their hand? Don’t let one piece of information persuade you to make a decision if it isn’t supported by another. Build from the ground up to avoid speculation.

The most important thing we can learn from conjecture is not to be too hard on ourselves! Poker is a game that involves a large aspect of luck. We do our best to reduce uncertainty and make sound choices. Sometimes this goes our way, sometimes we get unlucky and lose, other times we are just plain wrong! This is the nature of the beast. Embrace it. We will be wrong, we will be wrong often. This should not deter us from our process of making the best judgment possible. Go into your games being sure that you’ll face uncertainty. Do your best to tackle the challenge. Confidence will be gained from the hard work to prove your assumptions, and a better poker player you will become.