I was recently having a beer with a few poker players, and we were talking about poker, which sometimes happens unfortunately. I guess there was nothing really going on in this particular bar we were at, so it kind of made sense just to talk shop. The conversation was primarily about whether or not there was something in the water supply of some european countries, particularly those in Scandanavia. Although i've never been to Scandanavia, I have an overactive imagination, allowing me to construct a very realistic image of exactly what happens there.
For starters, there is an evil enemy who is trying to poison the water supply like in the movie BATMAN BEGINS. In that movie, thats a psychiatrist dude, called 'CRANE'. He's a bit of a wackjob, and I like it.
I think i should dress up like this more often.
There's a part in the movie where all the wackjobs who are going crazy are all on an island, and Crane is running about, i think he might even be riding a horse or something. He's clearly at home amongst the crazies. But he's a crazy psychiatrist, so you know he knows his ****. It's really a case of 'in the land of the blind the one eyed man is king'. In Scandanavia, like i alluded to earlier, there is something in the water.
And this is what street poker is all about. I understand that i've just jumped from my metaphor of Batman to talkin about the streets, but Batman wears Black and black people ARE black, so it's really not that different.
I will define Street Poker in italics here, because it is important that you understand the difference between playing Street Poker, and playing a loose aggressive play style. All good players will play LAG when it is most profitable, and they will play TAG when it is most profitable. Great. The thing is, that is a very superficial analysis of the possible ways 2 players can play the great game of heads up poker.
Street Poker is what occurs when two players enter an unspoken agreement to play far more aggressively than normal. This is not exploitable, because as soon as one player tightens up, the game will return to the TAG state of play (at least most of the time). However, so long as one player calls in position with 94s, the other player can do so, and it is not -EV. Both players have agreed that their skills will be better tested by entering more marginal situations, and their proclivity towards degenerate gambling will be satisfied in a much larger way.
The bottom line is that, as i have mentioned earlier, once both players are playing any 2 in position for a reraise, the better player is going to have an extremely high winrate. This is how you run the streets.
Street Poker is all about game flow dynamics. It's impossible to analyse the amount of future winnings you can make after you bluff someone in a spot they would call 80% of the time, or when you call them in a spot you're only good 15% of the time when they shove pot. I'm not supporting these plays, i'm just saying that when you analyse them on a case by case basis, they are bad; i know they're bad; but it is impossible to really quantify their true effects against players who play in many different ways (they might cause a crazy euro to become even MORE crazy; imagine that!!!).
There are a lot of games you can play with people in this environment. In fact, a lot of playing the streets, is about playing games! 'Imagine how bad my enemy will play if i stack his AK with 56s all in preflop!'. 'How annoyed is he going to be if i just donk bet into him on 6 flops in a row?'. 'How's he going to respond if i check raise HUGE on every paired board?'. 'How can I use variance to tilt my opponent, to make him question whether or not he's playing hands in an exploitable way?'.
Look at my chain; I MUST be street!
Here are the standard counter arguments a nitty reader will use:
ARGUMENT: Well he can just fold his 94s some of the time, and call some of the time; thus he will never realise i have tightened up.
ANSWER: This is one of the keys to being a good street poker player. Folding the 94s sometimes, but calling it other times. This way your enemy will think you are playing it every time, and he will play it every time. If you have a completely irrational reason to support your call when you do call, this just adds more equity.
ARGUMENT: Well, I'm sure if i played in a TAG way against these players I would win. I mean, if i play 25/18 oop against someone calling rrs with 94s, i can't lose!
ANSWER: If you're of equal skill as your street poker enemy, and they don't adjust, you will win. However, the street poker player probably isn't going to call 94s all day if he keeps losing against you, or if you just play like a huge nit. And he will probably stop playing you forever. No one's like 'OH MAN KOBE BRYANT WOULD TOTALLY OWN THE BEST STREET BALL PLAYERS'. Of course he would. But Kobes not down in the streets getting his hands dirty. He's in his little world of optimised training and 'making the perfect play'.
You see, Crane was still Bat **** Insane. But on that island, he was ridin a horse and acting like a wild man. He was in his element. If he stayed there forever, he'd probably become a god. Lord of the Crazies. He'd probably even take up smoking cigarettes, and we all know what that says about a person.
Known to smoke a cigarette occasionally
Basically in the land of poker, which has some similarities to Gotham City really (its all turning to ****, people are trying to suck out as much money as possible before it does, there's a crazy Ninja trying to sleep with any cute brunettes he can find), the top Euros are like Crane, ridin around on their horses, makin gold. Sure, Batman comes along sometimes and kicks their asses, but they just get back out on the streets and keep making those bills.