beachbumbabs
Joined: May 21, 2013
• Posts: 9232
April 30th, 2017 at 10:31:12 AM permalink
Quote: gordonm888

How do people (Babs and others) analyze Ultimate Texas Hold'em (UTH)?

I model games as a hobby (always looking for an edge.) I have successfully modeled Mississippi Stud, which has a sequence of decisions that is similar to UTH -but that's only a 5-card stud hand that is compared to a payout table. I have also modeled Pai Gow Poker, 8-card poker, 4-card poker, 3-Card Poker, Chase the Flush and many BJ variants. UTH is much more complicated - the total of 9 cards, the sharing of 5 cards, the sequence of decisions, the dealer opening/qualifying, etc. makes it quite complex.

I have studied the WOO page on UTH - I understand the Return table of 56 outcomes but I confess that I cannot imagine how the Wizard calculated the number of combinations for those 56 scenarios - and I'm a very smart guy who does understand combination math. I consider it to be a very impressive accomplishment and I would love to have a high-level verbal description of the approach he took.

Is there a straightforward way (other than a Monte Carlo simulation) to analyze, for a starting hand of J9o, whether one should BET 4x or not? Can anyone quote me the approximate EV for J9o when betting 4X and when NOT betting 4x? How do people in the forum analyze this?
- If needed, we can take as a groundrule the Wizard's strategy for the post-flop (2X) bet and the river decision (BET 1X or fold).

Sorry if I've misled you somehow, gordon, but I'm not a learned mathematician on your level or the Wizard's, or several others here. I usually say so, to the point of being a bore with the disclaimer.

My posts on this topic have been made by applying the James Grosjean strategy, the Wizard's kicker strategy, and forcing myself to get down in the weeds with exceptions and unusual hands. It's very complicated strategy IMO, the hardest I've learned, but worth the time. Then playing the game heavily, especially the last couple of years, and finding that those strategies work.

Adding to them, since they're pure math, with real-world passive collusion and observation, because so many people squander their good cards, and so many give inadvertent info to me that improve my odds beyond pure theory.

So I have some insights to offer here and there, and sometimes I do. But a pure mathematical analysis of the EV on a J9o? Well above my head, sorry. It's my intent in this thread to simplify the game for those who want some guidance short of perfect strategy, without giving up too much ev, so that's the basis for my suggestions. I'm making money playing pretty regularly, but the value people put on what I say should take my non-math guy background into account.
"If the house lost every hand, they wouldn't deal the game."
beachbumbabs
Joined: May 21, 2013
• Posts: 9232
April 30th, 2017 at 10:55:49 AM permalink
Here's the 10 most common mistakes I see people making in UTH.

1. Not 4x betting every ace no matter what. Doesn't matter how small the 2nd card is.

2. Not 4x betting small pairs. 2s are the only pocket pair you should check. Lots of people check 3 thru 7.

3. Not betting 1x with nothing when the board plays (hoping for a push).

4. Not folding a nothing hand otherwise.

5. Not counting the outs before deciding whether to bet 1x or fold your kicker. Overcards on the board matter a LOT.

6. Not betting a Kx 2x when there's a pair on the flop, or a Qx 2x when there's an over pair or 2 overcards on the flop. Both ordinarily are 1x bets (when you haven't already 4x bet them, of course). (Slightly in the weeds, but makes sense if you think about it)

7. Not 4x betting JTo, or even suited, or Q9o. They're good cards that make a lot of hands, at least more than they lose.

8. Thinking it's ok to EVER 3x bet a hand. 4x or check. Otherwise you're just giving money back to the house.

9. Betting more on trips than in the back. Trips is a slow bleed on your br. Best, if you're going to play it at all, is to bet 1/2 your ante to minimize the drain).

10. Not betting 4 to a flush 2x, or conversely betting 4 to a straight, with no other value, after the flop. Nine flush outs vs 8 straight outs, plus the higher flush pay on the blind, makes the difference in the EV. They're not.the same rule of thumb.
"If the house lost every hand, they wouldn't deal the game."
gordonm888
Joined: Feb 18, 2015
• Posts: 613
April 30th, 2017 at 1:04:30 PM permalink
Quote: beachbumbabs

Here's the 10 most common mistakes I see people making in UTH.

1. Not 4x betting every ace no matter what. Doesn't matter how small the 2nd card is.

2. Not 4x betting small pairs. 2s are the only pocket pair you should check. Lots of people check 3 thru 7.

3. Not betting 1x with nothing when the board plays (hoping for a push).

4. Not folding a nothing hand otherwise.

5. Not counting the outs before deciding whether to bet 1x or fold your kicker. Overcards on the board matter a LOT.

6. Not betting a Kx 2x when there's a pair on the flop, or a Qx 2x when there's an over pair or 2 overcards on the flop. Both ordinarily are 1x bets (when you haven't already 4x bet them, of course). (Slightly in the weeds, but makes sense if you think about it)

7. Not 4x betting JTo, or even suited, or Q9o. They're good cards that make a lot of hands, at least more than they lose.

8. Thinking it's ok to EVER 3x bet a hand. 4x or check. Otherwise you're just giving money back to the house.

9. Betting more on trips than in the back. Trips is a slow bleed on your br. Best, if you're going to play it at all, is to bet 1/2 your ante to minimize the drain).

10. Not betting 4 to a flush 2x, or conversely betting 4 to a straight, with no other value, after the flop. Nine flush outs vs 8 straight outs, plus the higher flush pay on the blind, makes the difference in the EV. They're not.the same rule of thumb.

Very good list!!! Item #6 is the deep thought - pairs (or trips) on the board reduce the dealer's chances of pairing the board and thus increase the liklihood that the winner will be decided by kickers. And overpairs on the board are even better for the player because they chew up some of the dealers outs. Good stuff.

By the way, with 2 cards to come, Texas Hold'em poker players generally count a 3-flush or a 3-straight as 1.5 outs each when calculating the odds. I suspect that can be transferred to UTH - i.e., on the river, when the board has 3 suited cards (or 3 open-ended cards to a straight) then that should be counted as 1.5 outs when applying the "rule of 21 outs" - because the dealer could have 2 cards of the same suit to make the flush (or similarly, the straight). That's one of the things I want to look at.
gordonm888
Joined: Feb 18, 2015
• Posts: 613
May 1st, 2017 at 7:16:34 AM permalink
Again, let me say that I am hoping the Wizard will provide a brief high-level verbal description of how the combinations were calculated for the UTH outcomes on the Return table on the WOO page. I understand and use combination math but I am very impressed by the Wizard's calculation and can't conceptualize how he did it.

The reason I am asking about the EV for Bet4X/CHECK with J9o in UTH is this:

Using an on-line Hold'em Calculator I calculate that J9o against one opponent with a random hand has these probabilities:
- Win= 0.5164 Push = 0.0322 Lose= 0.4514
Thus, the EV on the Pay bet for betting on J9o is +0.065 and given a BET size of 4X, the return on the Pay Bet is +0.26 in units of the Ante Bet. (The EV on the Ante and Blind bets only has a small indirect effect on the 4X/CHECK decision, so I'll ignore it for convenience.)

So Betting 4X on J9o is a pretty profitable bet. Normally, in a casino, when you have a positive EV of 6.5% you put your money down!

The Wizard's strategy thus implies that Checking on J-9o has a larger Return on the Pay bet than 0.26. That's perfectly plausible. When you check J9o, it means that you will BET 2x after the 3-card flop whenever a J or 9 comes down or when a 4 card flush involving the J is there - and these are scenarios that generally have a Win probability of 60 to 90%. If the flop misses you, you will check and either BET 1X or FOLD on the river - thus reducing the magnitude of the negative return when you have a bad hand. The analysis of this 1X/FOLD decision does need to take into account the Push equity you have in the Ante and Blind bet, so it is a complicated calculation that must include the probability that the dealer has a pair or better.

So, I'm fascinated by the 4X/Check decision on J9o because it seems to be at the heart of many of the UTH strategy issues. I'm working through a scenario analysis for J9o and I'm simply asking whether there are some approaches to analyzing UTH that I haven't thought of.
Last edited by: gordonm888 on May 1, 2017
Flynn
Joined: Aug 18, 2011
• Posts: 95
June 1st, 2017 at 9:49:33 AM permalink
I absolutely agree we need an easier strategy. I live in Europe and UTH has become very popular over here, its offered in all casinos near me.

The Wizards or Grosjean's strategy is fine for the 1st and second decision point, but I really dislike the counting on the river, even if most of the times the calculations are the same. I prefer a kicker based strategy. Obviously Steven How's strategy is way to complicated, so I did my very best to simplify it (https://discountgambling.net/ultimate-texas-holdem ). Here is what I came up with:

River Decision (when you didn't hit the board)

Two Pair or better on Board - Call with 10 kicker or Q Board Kicker

Pair on Board - Call with J kicker or K Board Kicker (fold bttm pair with scare board)

Nothing on Board - Call with K kicker and both cards play (no flush or straight draws)

What do you guys think?
Last edited by: Flynn on Jun 1, 2017
My favorite bet: Double Down!
Romes
Joined: Jul 22, 2014
• Posts: 4284
June 1st, 2017 at 10:00:21 AM permalink
Well, if you know the counting outs for basic on the river then you should be able to equate that to a "kicker" strategy...

Example Board: J-J-6-6-2... a 10 kicker would have 6x4 = 24 outs - your other card (which is clearly lower than your 10 kicker) so 23 outs. Q = 7x4 = 28-1 = 27 outs.

Example Board: 8-8-A-2-9... a 10 kicker would have 5x4 = 20 outs - 1 = 19 outs. J = 6x4 = 24 - 1 = 23 outs... Q = 7x4 = 28 - 1 = 27 outs.

Example Board: 2-5-8-J-A... a 10 kicker would have 5x4 = 20 - 1 = 19 outs. J = 6x4 = 24 - 1 = 23 outs... Q = 7x4 = 28 - 1 = 27 outs.

You can do this right now, not at the casino, and then you could gauge based on an "average" boards (notice I used high and low pair in the 2 pair, then a middle pair in the 8's...) to make your "kicker" rule instead of counting outs. Do note that you'll be pretty accurate and it might be easier to remember, but that comes with the cost of not always being accurate.

Then again, remembering different kickers for "2 pair boards," "1 pair boards," "no pair boards" sounds like just about as much work as just counting the outs.
Playing it correctly means you've already won.
beachbumbabs
Joined: May 21, 2013
• Posts: 9232
June 1st, 2017 at 11:15:04 AM permalink
Quote: Romes

Well, if you know the counting outs for basic on the river then you should be able to equate that to a "kicker" strategy...

Romes, on a kicker, you're going for win OR push. The magic number for over/under is 21. Your examples all overcount the outs by ignoring overcard values.

Quote:

Example Board: J-J-6-6-2... a 10 kicker would have 6x4 = 24 outs - your other card (which is clearly lower than your 10 kicker) so 23 outs. Q = 7x4 = 28-1 = 27 outs.

2 pr is 7, + 12 cards higher than the 10, so 19 cards to beat you. Play the 10.

Quote:

Example Board: 8-8-A-2-9... a 10 kicker would have 5x4 = 20 outs - 1 = 19 outs. J = 6x4 = 24 - 1 = 23 outs... Q = 7x4 = 28 - 1 = 27 outs.

1 pr is 11, + 12 cards higher than the 10, for 23. Fold the 10.

Quote:

Example Board: 2-5-8-J-A... a 10 kicker would have 5x4 = 20 - 1 = 19 outs. J = 6x4 = 24 - 1 = 23 outs... Q = 7x4 = 28 - 1 = 27 outs.

No pair is 15, + 8 cards higher than the 10, for 23. Fold the 10.

Quote:

You can do this right now, not at the casino, and then you could gauge based on an "average" boards (notice I used high and low pair in the 2 pair, then a middle pair in the 8's...) to make your "kicker" rule instead of counting outs. Do note that you'll be pretty accurate and it might be easier to remember, but that comes with the cost of not always being accurate.

Then again, remembering different kickers for "2 pair boards," "1 pair boards," "no pair boards" sounds like just about as much work as just counting the outs.

IMO, remembering either is harder than just counting. Practice for less than an hour, you'll do it at a glance. Both of you are making this harder than it is.
"If the house lost every hand, they wouldn't deal the game."
Romes
Joined: Jul 22, 2014
• Posts: 4284
June 1st, 2017 at 11:31:05 AM permalink
Sounds like we count outs backwards BBB... I count "win" outs, or things I can beat. As in poker when you refer to outs they are cards that win you the hand.

Thus when I have 10 high, I don't count higher cards as if I put the dealer (or another player) on having those then there's no reason to play because you can't win. Thus if the board is J-J-6-6-2, and you have 10-7, how many WIN outs do you have? ...3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9... times 4 each... 6x4 = 24, minus the 7 in your hand = 23 outs.

You're correct I did not count "push" outs, which would be inclusive of your card as well (and add another 3 outs to each scenario basically). This is much easier for the typical time I'm playing the game, and not playing basic strategy =P.
Playing it correctly means you've already won.
beachbumbabs
Joined: May 21, 2013
• Posts: 9232
June 1st, 2017 at 11:41:34 AM permalink
Quote: Romes

Sounds like we count outs backwards BBB... I count "win" outs, or things I can beat. As in poker when you refer to outs they are cards that win you the hand.

Thus when I have 10 high, I don't count higher cards as if I put the dealer (or another player) on having those then there's no reason to play because you can't win. Thus if the board is J-J-6-6-2, and you have 10-7, how many WIN outs do you have? ...3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9... times 4 each... 6x4 = 24, minus the 7 in your hand = 23 outs.

You're correct I did not count "push" outs, which would be inclusive of your card as well (and add another 3 outs to each scenario basically). This is much easier for the typical time I'm playing the game, and not playing basic strategy =P.

Outs is a pretty specific poker term. It refers to cards yet to come that will improve a hand that's not yet full. In this game, your hand is full after the river. You have no more outs. But if you have cards that improve the board, evaluating the kicker value is essential.

The dealer, by default, is playing the board, until his hand is seen. He has outs, where his hand will improve the board, possibly beating you in doing so. By counting the board vs. your kicker, you're checking what chance he has to do so. You only need to win (including push) a little more than 1/2 the hands to make it worth trying kickers. So those are the hands you're trying to find.
"If the house lost every hand, they wouldn't deal the game."
Romes
Joined: Jul 22, 2014