The 90 Second Rule

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Vinny at the Indian Poker Legends TournamentConfessions of a Grinder

Do you often find yourself having to make a calculated decision when a hostile and tilted mongrel of sharks, fish, bipolar bears, battle-scarred seals, drunken donkeys, Aces-seeking dotards, nits, and elephants, are moments away from calling the clock on you? I have noticed that this lot has a tolerance limit of 90 seconds.

I follow a 90-second rule in similar Live Poker situations.

  1. Your Hand Strength (H) at the given stage against an average assumption of what your opponent holds, and
  2. The Pot-Odds (P) compared to your hand strength will help you
  3. Decide

a)    Hand Strength: Learn your pre-flop hand equities e.g. your AK suited has a 46% chance of winning against QQ. However, against KK, the chance is 34%. If you put him on either KK or QQ, then your hand strength is the average of the two i.e. 40%. Take 30 seconds to do this. A good poker calculator should help you prepare

b)    Pot-Odds: In the earlier hand, if he raises your bet all-in and you have to call $50 in a pot of $90, do not hesitate. Calculate your Pot Odds in 30 seconds.

P       =         Amount to call x 100          =       38.4%

Amount to Call + Pot Size

If P < H, the call is profitable in the long run.Phil Hellmuth's Million $$ SecretsDVD

c)    Decide: Take 30 seconds to study his body language. Poker DVDs such as Phil Hellmuth’s Millions Dollar Secrets To Bluffing & Tells will help you sharpen your reading skills. I make many of my profitable live poker judgments during this step.

With ample practice, this will be reduced to 60 seconds. I do not consider myself as a master poker player and I never will. I strive to learn constantly from other professionals who are much better than I am in different aspects of the game. This rule is something I formulated for myself and when the going gets tough, this rule helps me in making a wise choice. Others might follow their own rule in this situation and might disagree with mine. This is something that helps me at the current stage of my poker career, so I’m sharing it with beginners who might want to follow it.

Good luck at the tables!

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