Dr. Sun's Poker Lab


Thanks to everyone who shared their numbers!

@JoeDirk, hmmmmm, OK. That makes a lot of sense. This is why I ask the better players to weigh in rather than rely on guesswork. Thanks!


It is hard to land on an optimal number in either case because dynamics change (tournament tables get short-handed, for example) and different bet sizing patterns can produce similar success rates but different showdown percentages.


What kind of game are you playing, to have such a low percentage of hands folded and high percentage won without showdown? Do you play a lot of heads-up or short-handed tables?


I’m also wondering how @GrandyB manages to win 22% of his hands with 91% of them at showdown.


me too :confused:
I have a feeling any of you could crush me (unless I got really lucky as I sometimes do :slight_smile: )


Mine is almost identical to SunPowerGuru. (Great minds think alike, but fools seldom differ.)

Pots Won: 16% (1,961

At showdown: |56% (1,101)|

Without showdown: |44% (860)|


Well, I would commend you for your efforts…


@closer look

Total hands played: 270,410
Flops seen: 118,507 ( 43.825 % , of hands played )

Pots won: 33,486
( 28.256 % , of flops seen ) ( 12 % , of hands played )

Pots won: 23,789 at showdown
( 20.074 % , of flops seen ) ( 8.5 % of hands played ) ( 71 % of Pots won )

Pots won: 9,697 without showdown
( 8.182 % , of flops seen ) ( 3.5 % of hands played ) ( 29 % of Pots won )


i do only play no limit holdem, but i do like to play al kinds of it.
i play cashgame, sngs, hu’s and mtt’s. i play 2h, 4h, 6h and 9h.
i think i do play mostly fullring, but since i play all kinds i assume that may have caused those statistics


After Action Report: Head Games

I’ve been playing with the idea of my actions influencing the actions of others for a few weeks now. Although I am convinced that this is worth doing in certain situations, I haven’t been able to quantify the effect. There’s just no way to tell if my actions from 5 hands ago have much (if any) effect on the current hand.

However, there are a few things that are probably worth doing, hard data or not.

For example, using the “show” button in a strategic way almost certainly has benefits. Showing bluffs does seem to generate more action on later hands, and showing down premium hands tends to tighten up the other players.

In general, it’s probably a good idea to show hands that are outside your current play style. If you find yourself accidentally taking a flop with something like 83o and flop a winner, you should almost always show. (One can accidentally be in a hand with any 2 cards in the BB with only limpers in the pot)

The idea here is to give out false information whenever possible. We can profit by making other people mis-read your tendencies and/or frequencies.

Conversely, you should rarely show premium holdings if you are playing tight. The same idea applies here… don’t show hands that actually reflect your approach to the game.

An exception to this is showing your BB. I would like to train people to fold to my blind, so I will show premium hands if everyone folds to me. I want to re-enforce the idea that folding is a good idea.

I’m not suggesting that such antics would be effective in the nosebleed stakes ring games against the best players on the site, but at certain stages of the MTTs I play, it’s probably worth doing.

Anyway, I will probably continue to mess around with the idea, but I wanted to share my preliminary findings. Have fun.


This concept is used in all sorts of interesting ways, few of which have anything to do with poker (I’m sure you can think of some; even domestic political parties use this). It’s called “dis-information.” The object is to create doubt in the opponent’s mind such that the opponent is never really sure what’s happening. Thus, the opponent is led to make mistakes that you can turn to your advantage. One instance at a time, the effects are usually small, but over time, the cumulative effect can be devastating.


On hand played info, here’s mine"
Hands dealt: 247,331
flops seen 131,833 (about 53%)
Pots won 34,794 (about 14%)
With showdown 73%, without showdown 27%

Hope that’s useful


Right, dis-information or mis-information is effective, if hard to quantify. It’s used to good effect in warfare, and what is poker but a war?

Thanks also to you and everyone else that shared their stats. As @JoeDirk pointed out, there can be so many factors involved in the actual numbers that it’s hard to make sense of them. I really was just curious about how my numbers compared to other people’s.




182914 hands played
143742 folded 79%


( you go on to get to … information, disinformation/missinformation …)

Your darn right I hope my actions influence other future actions.
My best example is 1 of my best tricks, so… hmmmmm … My question back to you SPG is : Are you only thinking in terms of 1 Table/MTT/SnG , or are you thinking “globally” across everything… or both ? You could say, I almost have a script I use… like most NFL teams for the 1st 15 plays… But SPG, I’m talking locally and globally @ the same time…

A integral part of poker is psychology… playing “head games” with your opponents is not “optional”, I would say its “manditory”. Its also why in Tournaments, so many have a problem “calling an All-In” … ( fear )… When I show someone what I had for free… There is a direct reason why, 99% of the time, even when some players say that its stupid to do so.

I remember you saying awhile ago, you wanted a certain table presence to follow you around like a puppydog, making it easier to pick off your prey… You said you took certain actions to develop such a presence… thats “acting locally” but “thinking globally”.

Now there are simpler examples of this, and yes … hand to hand, it is very possible to manipulate your opponents / the table by your direct actions on the table. I am not talking about anything against the rules in any way, shape, or form. Thats “acting & thinking locally”.


Well, my focus is almost exclusively MTTs, but I think that many of the things I do could also apply to other tournament formats, such as SnGs. I ,mostly play with tournament strategy, which is an additional layer “on top of” regular poker strategy, so I’m not sure if these things always apply to ring games.

One of the main reasons I stick to specifically medium MTTs is that this allows me to see the same players over and over. This maximizes any persistent “reputation” type benefits. Those who have played against me know I can have any 2 cards from any position, and that my bet sizing is no indication of what I might have.

I think this is a huge advantage in tournament play. Yes, I might have air, but I could also have quads, and if you guess wrong, you could be sent to the rail.

There are players who simply won’t enter a pot against me because of this. If these players DO enter a pot, I know they have a premium hand. This makes it much harder to trap me, though I know people will try.

The way I see it, this forces some people to make more mistakes, and how could I not benefit from that? For example, if you limp a big pair trying to trap me, you let me see a flop cheap. This could be a big mistake if I hit the flop hard enough, or if the board looks scary.

For example, you limp AA and the flop comes 944, I c-bet, and you raise. and now I move in. How do you like that 2 pair now? As Clint Eastwood might say, “Do you feel lucky, punk?” Hahaha

Anyway, stuff like that is fun for me.


Well, you get away with it, ( yet I can’t, or I get yell’d at ) … but
It corralates perfectly with your “PotsWon without showdown” stats.
It also eliminates the need to foster your “rep” everytime you get
rebalanced or when you start most MTTs. I see 3+ different exploits
just in your description, thats awesome. I meant in 1 MTT or across
groups/all MTTs, and you answer’d that.

Equally fun for me, is the challange of each new promotion format.
Identify’n the objectives, planning my attack strategy, then proper implementation.
It just adds that xtra layer of complexity, to the whole equation.

Both are an intelluctual indeavour, as well I think we both enjoy the
psychological aspect of poker, still that takes brainpower… lol


Actually, I have found you predictable to play against, because you usually fold when you are beaten instead of relying on miracle cards on the turn and river when you do not have the odds in your favor.


As much as some people would like to think, poker isn’t just a game of numbers. The dread of facing an allin, even when you think you have the best hand, the doubt of calling with 2nd pair, and many other situations we face are more psychological than mathematical. Just because these factors are psychological and difficult to quantify, one shouldn’t assume they are unimportant or based on some sort of “touchy-feely” pseudoscience.

What I refer to as “head games” are an attempt to “train” the other players to behave in a way that benefits me. While playing any hand perfectly can have immediate benefits, teaching other players to make specific mistakes in specific situations can have far reaching and long lasting benefits.

These concepts are nothing new, and ultimately trace their roots back to Thorndike’s 1898 work on what he called “The Law of Effects.” This pioneering work was later expanded and refined by BF Skinner (1938) in what he termed “Operant Conditioning.”

Operant conditioning added the idea of “reinforcement” to Thorndike’s original work. The basic premise is that people tend to repeat behaviors that give them pleasure and abandon behaviors that result in undesirable outcomes. Reinforcers can be either positive or negative, and can be as simple as showing cards that reinforce the desired behaviors.

An in-depth examination of the subject is obviously beyond the scope of the forum, but for anyone interested in exploring the topic, I have given you enough to get started. Here’s a short video to start…