March 12, 2011
Tommy Angelo introduces the concept of reciprocality in his series, The Eightfold Path to Poker Enlightenment. While I was thinking about poker today, this concept came to mind as a really cool and educational piece of poker theory. I want to bring it to your attention. Please read his article at the link below:
The basic concept is this. In poker, you can get all-in preflop witih pocket aces against pocket kings. That situation, in a 200 big blind pot, will make you something like 162 big blinds on average due to your equity. Sounds great, right? The thing is, every other player can do that, too. Therefore, in the long run, who wins? It's a draw -- everyone is playing that situation the same way, and it happens to everyone evenly. Because life is just one long session, everyone will be dealt the same gamut of hands with the same frequency. You can win with AA>KK just as often as you lose with KK<AA. Now, on the other hand, say you're in a live game at a casino, and whenever any of the players at your table folds a hand, he closes his eyes and goes to sleep until the next hand is dealt; you, on the other hand, continue paying attention and observe everyone's play when you are not in the hand. It is not merely this behavior that benefits your game: it's the behavior DIFFERENTIAL between you and the rest of the players. Unlike getting in aces vs kings, you are doing something in your game that is different than what opponents are doing, and that difference is profitable.
Reciprocality is the process of doing something differently than other players in a way that benefits you.
I didn't mean to summarize the whole thing, but oops, I did! Please click the link and visit Tommy's article. If you don't, you're already missing out on reciprocality.