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Old 07-28-2017, 06:34 PM   #26
Mason Malmuth
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Re: For Those Defending the Poker Mental Coaches

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A 15 handicap golfers is pretty good, better than average. If they've recognized that their dealing with an anxiety issue that is stopping them from playing better, why wouldn't you want to help them. Early in my career I worked with a woman who had been playing for several years and couldn't break 110 (~40 handicap). Her swing was better than her score because on the course she dealt with major overwhelming embarrassment. After a few sessions she broke 100 for the first time and was thrilled. I'm not one to turn away people asking for help, once it's clear their issue is likely more mental than it is tactical. Unless their issues are beyond the scope of my expertise, like someone who has a clear gambling problem or a deeper personal issues and they'd be better served by a therapist they can see in person.
This is exactly the type of stuff I've been arguing against. What you don't understand is that you gave the woman advice that would help her in execution (timing and coordination) while poker is mainly a game of knowledge where this type of advice has little value. This is the main reason I'm so negative towards the Poker Mental Coaches. Their knowledge of poker is so poor they're not aware how worthless their advice is for most poker players they coach.

At least you're polite unlike one of the other mental coaches I've been critical of for the exact same reason.

Mason
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Old 07-28-2017, 07:32 PM   #27
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Re: For Those Defending the Poker Mental Coaches

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This is exactly the type of stuff I've been arguing against. What you don't understand is that you gave the woman advice that would help her in execution (timing and coordination) while poker is mainly a game of knowledge where this type of advice has little value. This is the main reason I'm so negative towards the Poker mental coaches. Their knowledge of poker is so poor they're not aware how worthless their advice is for most players they coach.

At least you're polite unlike one of the other mental coaches I've been critical of for the exact same reason.

Mason
Would you agree that emotions can prevent someone from utilizing their full poker knowledge to make the best play or move?
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Old 07-28-2017, 11:02 PM   #28
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Re: For Those Defending the Poker Mental Coaches

Mason Malmuth wrote in Post #16: Would you be making the same point if the game in question was blackjack?

Jared Tendler replied in Post #21: Nope.

Okay. You agree with David Sklansky and I that good blackjack players don't have this problem. Presumably it's because you realize that even emotionally stressful plays like hitting 16, splitting eights against a ten, or doubling down after making a big bet don't stop them from making what they know is the right decision. It's only when they don't have confidence in the rightness of a play where they might become indecisive.

But what you don't realize is that expert poker play has now become similar to blackjack. There are algorithmic unexploitable plays that are more complicated than those in blackjack but are still learnable and will beat almost all games. The best players not only know these strategies but also know when to deviate from them to increase their profits. Slightly less talented players will stick to the unexploitable strategies and win a bit less. But even those who never deviate will still beat almost all games just as the basic strategy blackjack player will beat a blackjsck game with favorable rules.

Thus anyone who has studied these "GTO" type strategies will find themselves in a similar emotional place as the professional blackjack player who you just admitted does not need your type of help.

Stated another way, once poker players have the correct strategies down cold, they don't need psychological counseling to always make the right play (including proper randomnization) just as you admitted that blackjack experts don't. In my opinion, you didn't realize that modern expert poker play is much more like blackjack than you thought.

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Old 07-28-2017, 11:07 PM   #29
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Re: For Those Defending the Poker Mental Coaches

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Would you agree that emotions can prevent someone from utilizing their full poker knowledge to make the best play or move?
See my Post #28.

Best wishes,
Mason
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Old 07-28-2017, 11:51 PM   #30
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Re: For Those Defending the Poker Mental Coaches

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See my Post #28.

Best wishes,
Mason
What percentage of players expertly play GTO style? Do these experts sometimes play sub GTO? If so, why do you think that is? If not, wouldn't that make the game terribly robotic and boring (as I find blackjack to be)?

Your comparison greatly minimizes the effect competing against other players who are trying to trap you, bluff you, bully you, and exploit your weaknesses for their personal profit has on your emotions and psyche versus the effect of playing a game against a faceless house. You're acting as though wit and cunning has no bearing on how one plays poker. It's a very poor comparison with the exception of maybe the top .01% of math oriented poker players who robotically play every hand optimally.
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Old 07-29-2017, 01:18 AM   #31
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Re: For Those Defending the Poker Mental Coaches

GTO style is here to stay, and it's growing. Poker is no longer cowboys and indians. GTO perfect is still utopic for now, because AI algorithms are relatively new in computer science.
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Old 07-29-2017, 02:41 AM   #32
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Re: For Those Defending the Poker Mental Coaches

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What percentage of players expertly play GTO style? Do these experts sometimes play sub GTO? If so, why do you think that is? If not, wouldn't that make the game terribly robotic and boring (as I find blackjack to be)?

Your comparison greatly minimizes the effect competing against other players who are trying to trap you, bluff you, bully you, and exploit your weaknesses for their personal profit has on your emotions and psyche versus the effect of playing a game against a faceless house. You're acting as though wit and cunning has no bearing on how one plays poker. It's a very poor comparison with the exception of maybe the top .01% of math oriented poker players who robotically play every hand optimally.
Hi Dr. Meh:

The fact that you're asking this question, especially in the way that you're asking it, says to me that you're confused in this area. What I would suggest is that you get a copy of The Intelligent Poker Player by Philip Newall and read his discussions on Game Theory paying special attention to Dr. Newall's chapter on "The Two Schools of Poker."

Best wishes,
Mason
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Old 07-29-2017, 02:58 AM   #33
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Re: For Those Defending the Poker Mental Coaches

How much a human can implement GTO style is questionable though. We're not computers, and we're quite likely to make plays based on emotion rather than an RNG.
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Old 07-29-2017, 03:22 AM   #34
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Re: For Those Defending the Poker Mental Coaches

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How much a human can implement GTO style is questionable though. We're not computers, and we're quite likely to make plays based on emotion rather than an RNG.
This.

And I'm familiar with GTO and how they still haven't cracked it because of the large number of unknown variables with the exception of heads up limit, I think. And again, even if they come up with optimal play, people are people, not machines. Remembering the optimal play in every situation with every possible variable would be virtually impossible and even more so when factoring in emotions and fatigue.
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Old 07-29-2017, 03:41 AM   #35
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Re: For Those Defending the Poker Mental Coaches

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This.

And I'm familiar with GTO and how they still haven't cracked it because of the large number of unknown variables with the exception of heads up limit, I think. And again, even if they come up with optimal play, people are people, not machines. Remembering the optimal play in every situation with every possible variable would be virtually impossible and even more so when factoring in emotions and fatigue.
No. Whenever I see this argument it just tells me that the person making the argument needs to improve his understanding of GTO play. So in addition to Dr. Newall's book I would also recommend Applications of No-Limit Hold 'em by Matthew Janda where you'll see that many situations are well worked out.

Best wishes,
Mason
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Old 07-29-2017, 03:44 AM   #36
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Re: For Those Defending the Poker Mental Coaches

I think the psychologists are right on this one. If humans could implement GTO away from the poker tables, then they would not procrastinate. They would not eat unhealthy food, smoke or drink. They would exercise more. They would put more effort into their careers and their personal relationships. They would not rage when someone cut them up in traffic, or take it out on their spouse when their favorite team loses.

Even in lab studies, people refuse GTO situations. This effect and others similar have been replicated many times.

There is therefore no reason to believe the majority of people can consistently implement GTO at the tables.
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Old 07-29-2017, 04:50 AM   #37
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Re: For Those Defending the Poker Mental Coaches

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Your comparison greatly minimizes the effect competing against other players who are trying to trap you, bluff you, bully you, and exploit your weaknesses for their personal profit has on your emotions and psyche versus the effect of playing a game against a faceless house.
It's also worth pointing out that the ultimatum game taps directly into this concept. People would rather forgo receiving a small amount of money for themselves, to prevent another person from gaining a larger amount in what they perceive to be an unfair distribution.
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Old 07-29-2017, 07:35 AM   #38
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Re: For Those Defending the Poker Mental Coaches

What I am saying is that bots will beat GTO humans and GTO humans will beat humans in the long run because these algorithms are very complex and counter intuitive. Many poker players will not have the aptitude to implement the condensed version even after reading about it.

Right now chess bots absolutely trounce the Super GM's. It's going to be them same with poker. It's not like "omg they didn't read the latest on chess". It's that humans don't focus on algorithms as easily as computer programs do. A human can read anything they want about chess, and practice opening prep for years, and still will not beat Komodo.
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Old 07-29-2017, 07:56 AM   #39
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Re: For Those Defending the Poker Mental Coaches

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It's also worth pointing out that the ultimatum game taps directly into this concept. People would rather forgo receiving a small amount of money for themselves, to prevent another person from gaining a larger amount in what they perceive to be an unfair distribution.
I think the ultimate game is GTO and some of the best poker coaches are going to be computer programs to help grasp it as much as possible, and poker is becoming like chess. You don't go to a chess tourney nowadays and not see the GM/IM first defer to the computer's analysis and then try to translate it into a layer of human understandable terminology.

AI does not think of a bluff as a bluff because there is no ego involved, and it merely balances a range out to an expectation, and all plays are for balance.
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Old 07-29-2017, 12:00 PM   #40
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Re: For Those Defending the Poker Mental Coaches

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No. Whenever I see this argument it just tells me that the person making the argument needs to improve his understanding of GTO play. So in addition to Dr. Newall's book I would also recommend Applications of No-Limit Hold 'em by Matthew Janda where you'll see that many situations are well worked out.

Best wishes,
Mason
You're right. I'm not a GTO expert by any means and probably can benefit from improving my knowledge about it. I'll consider reading your recommendations but I would appreciate a more detailed response as to why I'm wrong rather than getting book recommendations. I know the response won't be as detailed as the book but I would like a broad explanation for why you find my points to be moot.
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Old 07-29-2017, 12:11 PM   #41
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Re: For Those Defending the Poker Mental Coaches

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I think the psychologists are right on this one. If humans could implement GTO away from the poker tables, then they would not procrastinate. They would not eat unhealthy food, smoke or drink. They would exercise more. They would put more effort into their careers and their personal relationships. They would not rage when someone cut them up in traffic, or take it out on their spouse when their favorite team loses.

Even in lab studies, people refuse GTO situations. This effect and others similar have been replicated many times.

There is therefore no reason to believe the majority of people can consistently implement GTO at the tables.
Good points. The Monty Hall Problem is another example in that even when people are aware they should switch doors, they still find it difficult to do so. They're conflicted about the "what if" scenario of having the right door in the first place then switching to the wrong one. People would rather commit an error of omission than an error of commission and I see no reason why this would change for people attempting to utilize GTO in poker.
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Old 07-29-2017, 01:50 PM   #42
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Re: For Those Defending the Poker Mental Coaches

Intelligent people would play the ultimatum game correctly after some study, which would be a mixed strategy. AFAIK the study on how people play it does not give them time to study it first, so not analogous to poker.
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Old 07-29-2017, 02:02 PM   #43
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Re: For Those Defending the Poker Mental Coaches

It is, though. Just because people know what the statistically optimal decision should be doesn't mean they'll follow through with it regardless of how much they've studied. The emotional investment clouds their judgment. People play the lottery despite knowing they'll statistically never win but the "what if" factor is just too great for them to pass up. For 99.99% of poker players, that same force will drive their poker decisions even if they have studied GTO. It won't happen on every decision but it will happen.
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Old 07-29-2017, 02:13 PM   #44
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Re: For Those Defending the Poker Mental Coaches

^^ Agree

The ultimatum game is a really simple concept, so I'm not sure how studying the game would improve decision making, and obviously most of the studies carried out are on undergrads, so a reasonably intelligent population.

I've done a quick WoS search, and there are no fewer than 266 studies with "ultimatum game" in the title. I would be surprised if any assertions we might think of here have not been tested empirically, and so any claims about what the UG does or does not represent should be supported with relevant citations if we really want to explore this topic in any depth.
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Old 07-29-2017, 02:55 PM   #45
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Re: For Those Defending the Poker Mental Coaches

Yes but poker is profitable specifically because they do not make the right decision and are in a state of imbalance.
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Old 07-29-2017, 02:57 PM   #46
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Re: For Those Defending the Poker Mental Coaches

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It is, though. Just because people know what the statistically optimal decision should be doesn't mean they'll follow through with it regardless of how much they've studied. The emotional investment clouds their judgment. People play the lottery despite knowing they'll statistically never win but the "what if" factor is just too great for them to pass up. For 99.99% of poker players, that same force will drive their poker decisions even if they have studied GTO. It won't happen on every decision but it will happen.
An intelligent person computing the NE would play it correctly.

I do see good players have clouded judgement, but I tend to agree with MM that a knowledge gap would fix this and even further that computer coaches will play a larger role, much larger, than the psychologists. I do think, however, humans can at best master a condensed version of GTO.
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Old 07-30-2017, 02:52 AM   #47
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Re: For Those Defending the Poker Mental Coaches

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Originally Posted by Dr. Meh View Post
It is, though. Just because people know what the statistically optimal decision should be doesn't mean they'll follow through with it regardless of how much they've studied. The emotional investment clouds their judgment. People play the lottery despite knowing they'll statistically never win but the "what if" factor is just too great for them to pass up. For 99.99% of poker players, that same force will drive their poker decisions even if they have studied GTO. It won't happen on every decision but it will happen.
People who are serious about being winners in big games are almost as unlikely to fall into these psychological traps as professional blackjack players. Not if it is clear in their minds that doing so is the difference between winning and losing.
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Old 07-30-2017, 03:07 AM   #48
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Re: For Those Defending the Poker Mental Coaches

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What percentage of players expertly play GTO style? Do these experts sometimes play sub GTO? If so, why do you think that is? If not, wouldn't that make the game terribly robotic and boring (as I find blackjack to be)?

Your comparison greatly minimizes the effect competing against other players who are trying to trap you, bluff you, bully you, and exploit your weaknesses for their personal profit has on your emotions and psyche versus the effect of playing a game against a faceless house. You're acting as though wit and cunning has no bearing on how one plays poker. It's a very poor comparison with the exception of maybe the top .01% of math oriented poker players who robotically play every hand optimally.
When loball draw was the main game in California, every single successful pro played the game rather robotically (which include bluffing and bluff catching) even though it was not against a faceless house. They deviated from optimal strategy when facing poor opponents but they always knew, approximately, what that optimal strategy was. And when they did deviate it wasn't based on emotion.

But the converse was also true. Not only did every successful pro play robotically, but virtually every single player who knew how to play that way did in fact do it (except for possibly during a few moments of insanity). To think otherwise is ridiculous. Do you really think that someone who knew loball basic strategy wouldn't have the self control to stick with it if the alternative was being a (serious money) loser?

Thirty years later we have reached a similar situation in other games.
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Old 07-30-2017, 03:17 AM   #49
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Re: For Those Defending the Poker Mental Coaches

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. You're acting as though wit and cunning has no bearing on how one plays poker.
Just in case you or others here don't fully understand what GTO does, it COMPLETELY NEGATES the opponents wit and cunning. Admittedly that has now made expert poker less interesting. But there is no way to get around it. That is why the world's best players are now losing to computers heads up.
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Old 07-30-2017, 03:25 AM   #50
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Re: For Those Defending the Poker Mental Coaches

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I think the psychologists are right on this one. If humans could implement GTO away from the poker tables, then they would not procrastinate. They would not eat unhealthy food, smoke or drink. They would exercise more. They would put more effort into their careers and their personal relationships. They would not rage when someone cut them up in traffic, or take it out on their spouse when their favorite team loses.

Even in lab studies, people refuse GTO situations. This effect and others similar have been replicated many times.

There is therefore no reason to believe the majority of people can consistently implement GTO at the tables.
The reason why you are wrong is that in all the examples you give there are VERY STRONG emotional reasons (or addictions) which sometimes make you make the wrong decision. In poker any emotional reason to tempt you to make the wrong play is rarely anywhere near this strong. Especially if you have studied the game and have familiarized yourself with the concept of EV (or, as they say, winning Sklansky bucks.)
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