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Old 11-06-2015, 02:30 AM   #1
Mason Malmuth
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Real Poker Psychology Excerpt

Hi Everyone:

As some of you probably know, I have written a new book called Real Poker Psychology that should be out in just over a month. One of the chapters is named after this forum and is on a subject which I think that many participants in this forum would be interested in. So for your interest, here it is and all comments are welcome:

That’s What She Said


A few years back on our website we started a new forum called “That’s What She Said” which is about women’s issues concerning the game of poker and other related subjects. So far the forum seems like a great success with a number of women poker players participating not only in the discussion, but getting to know each other in a more social way.

One of the topics that has come up is the idea that women, in live games, have certain advantages playing in a game where the majority of participants are men. This has been an idea that has been around a long time, probably since the beginning of poker itself, and is also a question that came up at several seminars that David Sklansky and I gave years ago. And the answer, which was usually given by me, never seemed to satisfy anyone. So since I’m the one writing this book, here’s another shot at that answer as well as two other topics.

The answer is simple. In my years of playing where there is one or more women at the table, I have found that their overall results are really quite similar to the men. Those women who learn to play well have good results, and those women who don’t play well have results consistent with poor play. There are no exceptions. And if you think about it, this is the way it’s suppose to be.

Anyway, as I said, this answer did not usually go over well. Some people felt there was a little more to this, and that’s probably true. The more precise answer is probably once you’re an excellent poker player, there should appear some strategies, usually unique to you, that will allow, if implemented correctly, for a little higher win rate, and being a women can certainly be part of this.

So what strategies can a woman, who already plays poker well, can take advantage of to win a little more? Let’s take a look at two ideas in this area.

However, before we start, it needs to be stated that what follows are just my opinions and are not necessarily facts. In addition, even if what I am to state is usually correct, there are always exceptions, so for all women poker players reading this, before you make any changes in your strategy, try to make sure that what is stated does apply to you and the games you play in.

First is the idea that women can play more hands since their male opponents are less likely to raise. This is something that I believe to be true. There are a number of men out there who tend to treat women nicely as opponents while they are much tougher on their male counterparts.

Why this is true might have something to do with the idea that women are playing a male dominated game, or it just might be because some men, especially those from some of the Southern States (of the United States) were just brought up to be polite to all women. But in any case, it’s consistent with my observations.

What this means is that an excellent woman poker player can play a few more hands and make a few more marginal value bets than their male counterparts. And obviously, if this is the case, their win rate should be increased by a little bit.

However, this idea should not be carried too far. Against a poor player who has little awareness of his opponent, it won’t make any difference as to your gender, and against an expert player it can have reverse consequences. But against the right players, especially if they are seated on your left and thus will act after you, it can add (again a little) to your overall win rate.

The next idea has to do with being called too often. Specifically, it states that since men can’t stand losing to a woman, they will make desperate calls in an attempt to win the pot. Thus it becomes right to value bet some extremely marginal hands that most of your opponents could not bet for profit. This idea, however, in my opinion, is false.

The reason why I feel it’s false is simply that all players always have an out when they throw their hand away and thus lose the pot. They can always say that their excellent draw didn’t come through and their final hand had no value. This can be the case even if the woman shows a bluff (which by the way is something that I recommend against doing in almost all situations, but that’s a different topic that will not be addressed here.) The man can almost always say that his final hand was even worse.

So assuming my analysis is correct, why does this myth exist. It may have something to do with the fact that some players just call too much. They see that their hand has a little value and that there are a lot of chips in the pot, but they are not able to analyze the play well enough to understand that their situation is essentially hopeless, or at least not positive enough to make the call strategically correct, and when this happens, some women incorrectly perceive it to mean that “men always call a skirt” as it has been stated to me.
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Old 11-09-2015, 09:08 PM   #2
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Re: Real Poker Psychology Excerpt

There's a typo in the last sentence of the 3rd paragraph: "suppose" should be "supposed."

Agreed that women can play more hands and vbet thinner against a lot of villains. I do this all the time.

Disagree that men aren't apt to call women light. You wouldn't believe some of the garbage these guys turn up with at showdown. But I could be wrong because I've never been a man at a poker table so I guess it's possible that I'd get called just as light if I were male and it has everything to do with how I play and nothing to do with my gender.
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Old 11-10-2015, 06:01 AM   #3
Mason Malmuth
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Re: Real Poker Psychology Excerpt

Quote:
Originally Posted by HiFi View Post
There's a typo in the last sentence of the 3rd paragraph: "suppose" should be "supposed."

Agreed that women can play more hands and vbet thinner against a lot of villains. I do this all the time.

Disagree that men aren't apt to call women light. You wouldn't believe some of the garbage these guys turn up with at showdown. But I could be wrong because I've never been a man at a poker table so I guess it's possible that I'd get called just as light if I were male and it has everything to do with how I play and nothing to do with my gender.
HI HiFi:

Type-o fixed. Thanks for that.

As for your disagreement, it's my experience that I get called the same way. I don't think it has to do with how you play but more with how badly some others play.

Best wishes,
Mason
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Old 11-10-2015, 10:03 AM   #4
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Re: Real Poker Psychology Excerpt

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Originally Posted by Mason Malmuth View Post
Type-o fixed. Thanks for that.

Nittery is one of my specialties

I liked it though.
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Old 11-15-2015, 12:57 PM   #5
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Re: Real Poker Psychology Excerpt

There are also several instances where you use "women" when it should be the singular "woman".
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Old 11-16-2015, 05:35 AM   #6
Mason Malmuth
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Re: Real Poker Psychology Excerpt

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Originally Posted by Freewill2112 View Post
There are also several instances where you use "women" when it should be the singular "woman".
Hi Freewill2112:

Thanks. I made four fixes.

Best wishes,
Mason
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Old 04-17-2016, 01:18 PM   #7
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Re: Real Poker Psychology Excerpt

Mason,

I don't believe in the "men always call a skirt", but men definitely always think they can bully a woman. They are like salivating wolves when I sit down lol.

As soon as a sit down, I know a guy will shove against me on the first hand I play. I sit back and play super tight. When I get my hand, I snap call their "bully raises". After that I can bluff the **** out of em. (I bluff about 40% of the time)
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Old 04-17-2016, 09:22 PM   #8
Mason Malmuth
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Re: Real Poker Psychology Excerpt

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Originally Posted by MeLoveYouLongTime View Post
Mason,

I don't believe in the "men always call a skirt", but men definitely always think they can bully a woman. They are like salivating wolves when I sit down lol.

As soon as a sit down, I know a guy will shove against me on the first hand I play. I sit back and play super tight. When I get my hand, I snap call their "bully raises". After that I can bluff the **** out of em. (I bluff about 40% of the time)
Hi MeLoveYouLongTime:

While I understand your point, I suspect that playing super tight in no-limit hold 'em is not the best strategy. I would look to also play hands that will occasionally make a big hand since your implied odds in these spots should be quite large.

You also bring up another point which I've been wondering about but am not certain it's accurate. It seems to me, and this is based on what I observe, that much less women are playing cash games than they once did, and I suspect that the reason for this may just be that women don't like no-limit hold 'em. And I also think that the aggressiveness of the game, which you're describing in your post, has something to do with it. Do you have an opinion?

Best wishes,
Mason
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Old 04-18-2016, 11:00 AM   #9
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Re: Real Poker Psychology Excerpt

Mason,
Thanks for the advice!
I mostly give the allusion that I am a typical tight woman player that never bluffs. I do play tight, but I generally take down the hand regardless if I hit. When I have the right odds I chase.

I think you are wrong in that women don't like NLH. I use the men's aggressiveness during play to my advantage, and I love the (rare) excitement of the game and the strategy.

What women don't like is the aggressiveness of the men in general. I played tournaments all weekend, and at three separate tables guys berated me and other women.
One guy told me to"wipe that smile off your face" I wasn't even in a hand with him or looking at him!
Another guy I bluffed:
"Raising 99s, what book did you read that in....can you please teach me; you just making **** up as you go along"
And, I was at a table with two other women that were having a conversation about their nails, and a guy was being extreamly aggressive saying, "what has poker table talk come to; y'all need to take that somewhere else, that doesn't belong here."
The men act like women are not wanted and don't belong. It's like a hit to their ego when a decent woman player sits down.
Even my own boyfriend told me a girl at his table was getting on his nerves.
It's like poker is guy time and women are in the way. The problem is that men are too worried about their egos and not focused enough on their bankrolls.
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Old 04-27-2016, 04:18 AM   #10
Mason Malmuth
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Re: Real Poker Psychology Excerpt

Hi MeLoveYouLongTime:

Please accept my apologies for taking so long to respond. My comments are embed below.

Best wishes,
Mason

Quote:
Originally Posted by MeLoveYouLongTime View Post
Mason,
Thanks for the advice!
I mostly give the allusion that I am a typical tight woman player that never bluffs. I do play tight, but I generally take down the hand regardless if I hit. When I have the right odds I chase.
That sounds good.

Quote:
I think you are wrong in that women don't like NLH. I use the men's aggressiveness during play to my advantage, and I love the (rare) excitement of the game and the strategy.
Well, I can only go by what I see in The Bellagio. There, a much higher percentage of the players, by my observation, in the limit games are women when compared to the no-limit games. In addition, I know that in the world of management types in the poker community there is conversation as to why so few women play. And third, years ago when stud was a popular game and no-limit didn't exist, it seemed like there were a lot more women playing.

Now with the above being said, my observations are basically just limited to Las Vegas and things can be much different elsewhere.

Quote:
What women don't like is the aggressiveness of the men in general. I played tournaments all weekend, and at three separate tables guys berated me and other women.
I agree with this and it's just my point. While aggressive play is important in all forms of poker, it's also my opinion that a passive stud player can survive, and this may explain why there always seemed to be a bunch of women playing. But there's also no excuse for the type of behavior that you describe.

Quote:
One guy told me to"wipe that smile off your face" I wasn't even in a hand with him or looking at him!
Another guy I bluffed:
"Raising 99s, what book did you read that in....can you please teach me; you just making **** up as you go along"
As you know, poker is a game of taking advantage of weaknesses that other players may exhibit. I think you have a couple of targets here.

Quote:
And, I was at a table with two other women that were having a conversation about their nails, and a guy was being extreamly aggressive saying, "what has poker table talk come to; y'all need to take that somewhere else, that doesn't belong here."
Once 2+2 finished with the no-limit books we had planned to publish, I returned to limit play a few years ago and virtually never see behavior like this. In addition, at no-limit, I have also observed similar bad behavior that had nothing to do with women. So perhaps it's just something that the game itself brings out and it appears in many forms. I don't have an answer.

Quote:
The men act like women are not wanted and don't belong. It's like a hit to their ego when a decent woman player sits down.
This is an interesting comment. I'm now much older than most of the players I play against and in no-limit I use to hear similar comments relative to being old and out of touch. But I never hear anything like this in limit. Again I wonder why.

Quote:
Even my own boyfriend told me a girl at his table was getting on his nerves.
It's like poker is guy time and women are in the way. The problem is that men are too worried about their egos and not focused enough on their bankrolls.
If that's the case, at least part of their bankrolls should become part of your bankroll. Would you want it a different way?

Best wishes,
Mason
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Old 05-05-2016, 01:53 AM   #11
LektorAJ
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Re: Real Poker Psychology Excerpt

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mason Malmuth View Post
If that's the case, at least part of their bankrolls should become part of your bankroll. Would you want it a different way?
Male (pig) here.

This reminds me of something I've heard Andrew Brokos say a few times. That in poker if you are (non-famous and) playing with people worse than you, some of the things you do will look weird to them (otherwise they would also be also be doing them), and they will assume you are playing badly/getting lucky. It's then different to chess or tennis where a good player gets recognition for winning or playing well.

My first wild generalization is that whether due to nature or nurture, probably more women than men are bothered by not getting recognition from the people around them.

My second wild generalization is that where men treat women differently, for most men its going to depend on the age of the woman. As a 38 year old man I don't see a 30 year old woman in the same way as I see a 65 year old woman so if it affects my play then it probably doesn't affect it in the same way.
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Old 05-08-2016, 05:10 PM   #12
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Re: Real Poker Psychology Excerpt

I think people are just harboring more anger as of late, rather than play poker for fun players are playing for money even rec players. These players often are not very good and don't understand why they are losing so they take their anger out on those around them and unfortunately women can be a target solely because men think they can physically intimidate women or out smart them.

Honestly live low limit poker tables have become unpleasant for everyone not just women you see these miserable dbags complain to the floor non stop and these players that look like they rather kiss a meat grinder then play at the table.

With that kind of environment why would anyone let alone a women want to play poker.
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