November 20, 2009

The EV Graph-Line, Losers, Whiners and Winners

Hi there
I really never understand people posting their boring whines about running below EV. The EV line in tracking software such as PT and HEM indicates when you get your money in good, as a favourite. It’s like posting all your AA hands that were crushed by KK all-in pre-flop. Yawn…....

Anyone that whines about being unlucky has "loser" written all over them in my mind, and who probably persuades themselves eventually into seeing monsters under the bed, gorging on their bad-beat-jackpot stories and continuing their boring downward spiralling vicious circle and compounding their bad luck.

Lets just think about it for a second…….

Conversely, of course you can only run above EV when you consistently get your money in bad....makes sense no? getting your money in bad is baaaaad. Getting your money in good (ie at least 51%, but usually at least 68% upwards) means you can only be sucked out on. You can’t give the bad beat.

If you want to whine about running below EV you should see my graph, it is mouth-watering how much I should have won, a healthy 4-figure sum over the past 50k hands at my little micro limits. But I am still winning. And I still consistently get my money in good.

That’s poker is it not? And I am happy with it that way. Because I think I have an edge in poker, and that horrid EV line proves it, as does the upward winnings line over a healthy hand sample.

And you should be happy too.

I have no problems saying I think I am an excellent player, who can progress far in the game by the way. Because I believe that. And if I didn’t, I wouldn’t be playing No-Limit. Especially No-Limit, self-belief is everything, as you can’t hide behind the maths as much as you can in Limit (unless you short-stack, and you know my thoughts on that fucked-up strategy). In order to beat the psychology of the game, knowing you have an edge on even the better players is part of avoiding fear and instead making them fear you. I aspire to become better at No-limit because I honestly believe it makes me a better, stronger person.

So forget about the EV line. And Instead........?

Hate them, kill them off. And you’ll win. No friends at the tables.


  1. Sorry, I don't get it. I'd like to because I'm sure that I'm missing something important from a meta-thinking perspective. But it just doesn't sit right with me yet. The HEM graph shows AI EV, ie after the action is complete.

    I agree that equity on different streets is subject to positive manipulation by great plays/reads or negatively by mistakes.

    But ... after we're AI, over the long term, it is equally likely that we get lucky or unlucky. Let's assume that there is $100 in every AI pot with exactly 70/30 equity split.
    If we get it in good, we have a supposed entitlement to $70 over the long run.

    30% we will lose that $70 and 70% we will gain another $30. Every time we win, we essentially got lucky. Over 100 trials, we make on average $2100 above expectation in wins but lose $2100 on losses for break even. In $$$s we should end up with $7000, on average.

    In HEM, my AI EV line will be a straight line throughout the trials between zero and $7000. Depending on whether I get lucky or not, the thin green line will rise and fall according to my fortune.

    Not well stated, but am I missing something?

  2. thanks for your comments, excellent points.

    of course your maths is correct. except i dont understand how you can get "lucky" as you say when you get your money in as a 70% favourite. Its you who is the favourite in that scenario. strictly speaking you can, if you want, argue you got 30bb lucky if it was a 100bb AI pot and you win. The point i make is you can only get 30bb "lucky" but your dumb opponent can get 70bb "lucky" and has a far greater chance therefore of bumming with your line in the short term if he in fact wins it. and thats where the bad-beat-jackpot stuff starts, which, in my view, is losing stuff.

    however, and most importantly, to get in to pedantics, the AI EV line takes no account of fold equity, which is a HUGE part of no limit, and should push your EV line even further up, as the donks should fold their AQ v your AK 100bb shove, changing that 70-30 scenario to something like 90-10 for anyone with half a brain, and provided they dont have the pot odds.

    but it doesnt actually matter.

    the point i make is not one of "metagame" but one of thinking ahead, or in the long run, and avoiding being caught in the trap of the bad-beat-jackpot whining that we all, including myself, indulge in now and then.
    all you can do is get your money in good, which the AI EV line shows.

    as you correctly point out, it evens out in the long, long run, so why worry? worry takes away the focus etc etc

  3. the AI line has nothing to do with FE!
    nor does it show whether you've been getting your money in good.
    it simply shows how you've been running. and it doesn't always even out in the long run, all that happens is it should tend to less standard deviations from the mean.
    ie if youre 100 buyins down after 1M hands, after 2M hands, if you were 120 buyins down in EV then youre now less unlucky than you were after 1M hands, even though youre down further in buy ins.

  4. hey mudwig, i know Ai line has nothing to do with FE. thats precisely my point. it doesnt tell the whole story

  5. oh i see, i misunderstood what you meant.
    fwiw, i agree with the essence of what you wrote, that ev doesn't tell the story at all.
    internetpokers had a good post about it, but again he implied that ev was wrong.
    it's the only mathematical way of seeing how youre running, but it doesn't take into account any of the story such as coolers etc
    in essence he said, assuming you play your a game, your winrate of that session relative to your actual winrate is the only way of measuring how youre running. (sadly though those can't be measured properly)

  6. Thought provoking post; I've written up a reply on my blog.

  7. I think if we were speaking in person we could work this out. In the meantime, here is a much more eloquent explanation ...

    I find the concept of the EV line and Sklansky dollars a very useful way of managing tilt. I get lucky, I'm happy but not carried away with dillusions of grandeur. If I get unlucky, I realise that I just got unlucky.

  8. In conclusion:

    and if you're sad, too
    until the angel sings and touches you
    don't confuse my only life

    In otherwords, don't get blewn away ;-)

  9. wow well done for stating the obvious and sounding like a dick at the same time.

  10. You are absolutly wrong.

    the EV line has nothing to do with getting your money in good or bad just how well you fared afterwards.

    "Conversely, of course you can only run above EV when you consistently get your money in bad....makes sense no?"

    NO it doesn't
    FYI if I get my AA AI to your KK pre and I win Im running aprox 20% above EV

    how can you blog about poker and not even understand this most basic concept

  11. yeah, your right, i made a mistake in the EV description, and your repeating the comments made earlier in the thread, where i acknowledged that and gave exactly the same example that you then parrot, if you cared to read. it still doesnt deflect from the point of the thread, which was relating that graph line to the bad beat whine jackpot, which is the key point of the post, which you seem keen on ignoring, and which micro players struggle with, where i think they should try to ignore.

    the rest of your comment is just you being an arsehole, whoever you are.