reader says: On surrendering and using a plus-minus
count strategy we are confused in situations such
as the following: we are sitting at third base. The
dealer has a 10 up and received his hole card when
the count was -3. we have sixteen. At the time we
have to make a decision whether to surrender, hit,
or stand, the count is +2. we feel we should stand
since the dealer probably has a small card in the
hole (since he received his hole card when the count
was -3). Is this the correct decision?
For every decision
you make, use your most up-to-date count. In your
example, make your decision based on the +2 count.
Ignore the fact that it used to be -3.
there are certainly many things poker players can
do to improve their chances of winning and losing
outside of bluffing/stealing (for example, extracting
extra bets from your opponents by trapping them with
a check-raise, slow-playing a hand, setting up false
tells, finding other players' tells), stealing is
numero uno. When you get to the bottom line, you find
that the only consistent way to get to final tables
and win poker tournaments is by winning a fairly high
number of pots to which your cards don't entitle you!
If you think about it, you'll soon see that this has
to be true. If the player with the best hand always
won the pot, the player who caught the best cards
on tournament day would win the event. Poker would
be a game of pure chance, no more difficult than betting
on a coin flip.
The beauty-and danger-of poker lies in just how much
skill is involved. There's far more skill involved
than most players, even most very good players, realize.
This is "beautiful" because many players
who aren't good enough to play against you will do
so, figuring either that the game is mostly luck or
hoping that they will get lucky enough to overcome
their underestimated skill deficiency.