Like it? PLEASE +1 it! Thanks! Evan Signature
Evan Carmichael Top Header about About

Poker, Unpredictability, and Going on Tilt

I had an interesting experience tonight playing Texas Hold'em Poker. Despite having virtually no poker experience, I ended up winning a decent-sized pot. The morals of the story:

* Unpredictability is a highly useful competitive strategy. By repeatedly going "all in" and giving the appearance of not having any idea what I was doing -- which was admittedly at least 75% true -- people were unsure how to respond. If you win a few times following this strategy it is demoralizing to opponents, as pointed out in an insightful 2003 paper about unpredictable poker-playing computer bots:

The bot routinely makes unconventional plays that confuse and confound humans. Invariably, some of these "bizarre" plays happen to coincide with a lucky escape, and several of these bad beats in quick succession will often cause strong emotional reactions (sometimes referred to as "going on tilt"). The level of play generally goes down sharply in these circumstances.

* When you have a lot of chips, being relentlessly bullying despite having weak cards is rational. In the limit, when there is only one other player left, you only have to win a single time to end the game, so playing repeated all-in hands (even without even looking at your cards) is optimal. Given that your competitor will almost certainly be somewhat risk averse, you will a) win repeated antes, and b) win more pots than is your due. Call it competing based on balance sheets.
* It helps to be lucky. I knocked out the last two competitors (on different hands) on the last card turned. That was absurdly lucky, but it was also more probable than might have been expected given the number of hands that get quickly played toward the end of a game.
* Even if following a rationally irrational strategy, it still helps to have good cards.

Related Articles

  Online Poker Makes its Welcome Return to the U.S.
  The Top Ten Signs the Valley is on Tilt Again
  Lesson #5: Think Of It As A Game Of Poker
  Winning Poker Lessons for Life and Business
  Sizing Up Success: How Hsieh Found The Shoe That Fit
  Successful Selling, It\'s a Lot Like Playing Texas Hold\'em
  Lesson #3: “Table selection is the most important decision you can make”
  Lesson #4: “Remember that it’s a long-term game”
  Are There Legal Real Work From Home Jobs
  From Busker To Billionaire: How Guy Laliberté Achieved Success
  The "Tilt" Thing and the Case for Journalist Entrepreneurs
  Poker – a Metaphor for Business
  Leadership Lessons from a Poker Ride
  Quote of the Day
  5 Tips to Kick Your “Time-Wasters” Habits
  What to Give Your Clients for the Holidays. . . A Marketing Firm’s Perspective.
  Lesson #5: Knowing When to Engage is Half the Battle
  iSeeVideo Application for Securing Office Premises
  Want to Change Employee Behavior? Change Yourself First

Home > Entrepreneur-Advice > Paul Kedrosky > Poker Unpredictability and Going on Tilt >

Free PDF Download
Sorry, You Can’t Be My Online Friend
By Paul Kedrosky

About the Author: Paul Kedrosky

RSS for Paul's articles - Visit Paul's website
Dr. Kedrosky is currently the Executive Director of the William J. von Liebig Center in San Diego, California. Using an innovative seed capital program, the Center catalyzes the commercialization of technologies from the internationally-ranked University of California, San Diego. Dr. Kedrosky is also a venture investor with Ventures West, Canada's largest institutional venture capital firm, where he is most active in consumer technologies and software. He is currently on the board of Marqui Corporation, a marketing automation software company.
Click here to visit Paul's website.
Dashed Line

Infectious Greed
More from Paul Kedrosky
Teachings of the Wii Generation
Better Off Now Than Five Years Ago
Is Canada the New China for VCs Or Just the New Colorado
Altucher College is Abhorrent
Kodiak vs Battery Adventures in VC Culture

Related Forum Posts

Share this article. Fund someone's dream.

Share this post and you'll help support entrepreneurs in Africa through our partnership with Kiva. Over $50,000 raised and counting - Please keep sharing! Learn more.
Share for a Cause

By: Evan Carmichael

Like this page? PLEASE +1 it! Evan Signature


Subscriber Counter
  Supporters: Thank you Sharon Galor of Toronto Salsa Lessons / Classes for your suggestions to make the newsletter look like the website and profile younger entrepreneurs like Jennifer Lopez and Sean Combs! 
Connect with Evan google plus facebook Twitter YouTube Contact