January 20, 2010

Advanced Poker-Drinking:
Rule V—Prioritize Booze Over Poker

Why just get drunk in Vegas, when you can get paid to get drunk in Vegas?

We rejoin the discussion of poker-drinking, already in progress ...

Rule V: Use drinking profits to offset poker losses.

In evaluating your total poker-drinking costs, the fixed costs (FC) (blinds and antes) are only one-half of the equation. Many professional poker-drinkers can turn a small but consistent drinking profit by simply folding every hand, thereby keeping their betting costs (BC) at $0 (the "muck and slurp" strategy noted earlier). For those poker-drinkers willing to accept the risk of greater variance, however, actually playing poker can offer greater profits (as well as the risk of greater losses).

An important concept to remember is that poker winnings are actually –BC. Thus, poker winnings directly reduce the total PC, and directly increase expected drinking value (EDV). In other words, poker winnings are +EDV. Conversely, poker losses are +BC and thus are –EDV.

These concepts can be helpful in evaluating marginal poker-drinking opportunities. For example, say you are at a poker room where you can play only 4-8LHE, and the maximum drink value is only $5. Your booze-to-blinds ratio is just under 1:1, and this room cannot be a profitable situation unless you have an extraordinary DR (>1 drink/orbit). However, if you are able to win >$1/orbit from poker, a marginal poker-drinking situation suddenly becomes slightly profitable.

Tight-aggressive poker-drinking strategy includes folding your blinds even when there is no preflop raise. A more loose-aggressive approach, however, is to see the flop in those no-raise situations, hoping to hit a monster poker hand and gaining a large –PC / +EDV windfall. This approach does cost an additional small blind per orbit, and thus your FC increases accordingly; this effect can be offset by drinking faster, thereby increasing your drinking rate (DR).

Rule V(a): Bad and unlucky poker players must drink more expensive booze at a faster rate.

Because poker losses increase your PC and are –EDV, you must offset those poker losses in some fashion to maintain +EDV. This can be accomplished by increasing your value of booze consumed (VBC) (i.e., ordering more expensive booze), or by drinking a faster rate (increasing your DR). In the case of large losses, you will need to drink ultra-top shelf booze at a frat-party rate (two drinks per orbit in some cases). In fact, switching to pure ultra-top shelf hard alcohol (e.g., single malt scotch on the rocks or premium tequila straight up) is your most profitable move as these drinks are pricey and can be slammed. Getting a bottle of comped Dom Perignon by claiming it is your first anniversary is an alternative approach for those wimps who cannot stomach the hard stuff (hey, it’s always the first anniversary of something in your life!).

As an example, assume you are playing 1-2NLHE or 1-2PLO. A bad beat that cost you $50 can be offset by consuming an additional five $12 drinks in two orbits ($60 in booze, less $6 in blinds, gives drinking profit of $54, which more than offsets your poker loss). The extra booze push will also limit additional poker losses as you will accelerate your pass out / thrown out point (POTOP)—defined as that point in a poker-drinking outing when your intoxication level terminates your poker-drinking activities due to either passing out or being thrown out of the poker room.

Speaking of passing out, we have arrived at the most critical finding in our poker-drinking analysis—the consideration of position.  So grab another beverage and joins us as we discuss:

Advanced Poker-Drinking: Rule VI—Focus on Poker-Drinking Position

Stay tuned true believers!

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