What Percentage is that?

For those of you who don’t know me personally, I am a huge fan of The Simpsons.  I have seen every episode several times and know many of them by heart.  There is an episode where Lisa, skeptical, practical, middle Simpson child, goes with her class to see how a newspaper is created and is being shown around by an editor.  Their exchange goes like this:

Newspaper editor: …And to protect Mother Earth, each copy contains a certain percentage of recycled paper.

Lisa: And what percent is that?

Newspaper editor: Zero.(Lisa frowns)  

Newspaper editor: Zero’s a percent.

I often feel like Lisa sitting at the poker table.  Over the past year or so, newer poker terminology, that was mainly used on the internet to describe better play has permeated all the way to the amateur player.  Terms like “pot committed,” “having equity,” and “against his range” regularly fly out of my opponents mouths and are used to justify their play in a hand.  Unfortunately for them, many players have not learned the true definition of those terms and how to apply them.  They are merely window dressing, much like the editor who spoke to Lisa, and are merely making the same plays they always have with fancier new names.

It is really important to get to thoroughly understand an idea and its application, and to know specifics.  It’s not enough to say “he is bluffing some percentage of the time there,”  without having a good idea of what that percentage is.  Often times, that percentage is zero, and when doing calculations, need to include it as such, and not an unknown.

I am in Las Vegas for the World Series of Poker and will try to blog regularly while I am here with interesting thoughts and hands.

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