Phil Hellmuth would win every tournament. Apparently. If it weren't for luck, every tournament would be won by the player who had read the most poker books, or could read their opponents the best. But what would that game even be?
Maybe it would be like Texas Block ‘Em, the upcoming poker App from Thwart Poker. Their attempt will revolve around the concept of choosing your own hole cards once the flop has been dealt; much like their previous games Texas Hold ‘Em Blitz and Texas Hold ‘Em Battle.
Try to pick a card that someone else also wants? Both of you get nothing, and you've wasted one of your four chances to draw cards.
Unfortunately, both games become reduced to an elaborate version of Rock-Paper-Scissors. Do you want to make a Full House, A Straight Flush or Quads? If you pick the wrong hand, chances are you won't have the chance to draw it, and you'll lose. Pick the right hand, and you'll win. Fun, eh? (No.) (Both the apps look and sound pretty ugly too.)
Last week I mentioned that I'm going to start looking into player poker without the influence of luck. It's something that I'm going to go into further detail next week, but this week I thought I'd write about other people's attempts.
I have played a couple games of both Texas Hold ‘Em Blitz and Battle, two stabs in the dark at luckless poker, and neither of them actually play anything like poker.
It's a little presumptuous that you can remove luck from poker, or even create a new form of poker without it. Maybe you could learn a new play-style that doesn't rely on luck, though. Like Daniel Negreanu, and his patented style of Small Ball Poker.
By focusing on suited connectors and small pairs and vastly increasing the amount of hands you play, thereby neutering the ‘luck' factor of being dealt premium hands, Small Ball players look to take advantage of both the big hands and the small hands that many deem offensive to even be dealt.
Pot control is also an important factor with these players, with the objective to never let themselves be put in a situation where they could lose their entire stack. By focusing on smaller pots, and with many players never overbetting, the bet sizes also stay considerably smaller than they normally would. With no huge pots, should your opponent get incredibly lucky on the river, the damage will be mitigated with the bet sizes reflecting the size of the smaller pots.
Whilst many players before him has played in the same style, the Small Ball Poker style came to the height of its power in the huge poker fields that swelled following Chris Moneymaker WSOP adventures.
A huge increase in runners meant that the amount of things that needed to go your way to get further in the tournament increased exponentially. Any method to try and reduce the impact of luck to the game was one that could vastly increase your chances of stacking up chips.
And a third place in the all-time money list and two Player of the Year titles, definitely shows that this tactic has some merit.
Luck is paramount to Poker. It is a necessity to keep the game alive and to keep it fresh. Whilst every player remembers the bad beats that they took, they never seem to remember the bad players that they have took money off.
Every single one of those players were drawn to poker because of its luck factor, and without these new players bringing in a new influx of money, the poker world would dry out and become stale.
Good poker players will also make more money than they lose thanks to luck, even if they can't see recognise it. And yes, if it weren't for luck, all the good players would win all of the tournaments.
And let me tell you, that would be really, really boring. Poker can be unfair, stupid, confusing and incredibly aggravating at times: but it should never be boring.
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