More on experience bias

by ~ September 12th, 2009. Filed under: Basics of poker, Micro level poker, Poker theory, Weaknesses.


Say you work as a high school teacher in a mid-sized city in the mid-West. You grew up in this town, so you’re quite familiar with the local issues, the local economy and the population mix. Parents of your kids work in local businesses or one of a few large manufacturers. Employment rates are and have been stable for many years, crime rates are nothing special. Some parents want their kids to go to university, others are happy if they follow their parents footsteps working in a similar blue-collar job as Mom or Dad do. When kids in your school have issues you can understand where they are coming from and how their parents view things.

Then you move to the inner city of a big city a thousand miles away. Unemployment is high, the ethnic mix of the population is something new for you. Gangs pressure your kids to join, parental support of both you and the kids is minimal to non-existent. Kids are less concerned about grades or extra-curricular school activities like sports or band or student council than finding a situation within their community to survive.

You know the material that you are supposed to teach. You have general understanding of adolescent psychology. But the background that your kids bring with them into class is totally beyond your personal experience, and totally new even from a direct observed experience perspective. Why are they here? What does it mean when they show up one day but not the next?

Sounds like material from a movie? This is the experience bias or perspective bias that I was trying to get at with an earlier post. The teacher who is technically equipped and experienced in a certain type of situation lacks the direct experience and comprehension of the circumstances that the new students bring with them. The attitudes are different. The thinking is different. Communication is difficult even though you are still using the same language.

In the movie version the teacher probably learns to connect with the kids in the new setting and helps them to create a championship cheerleading squad or something.

In my version I struggle playing new low levels at a new poker site.

At some point the comparison probably breaks down, but the lack of experience to build an understanding remains common. The rules remain the same, the math remains the same. Sklansky’s laws of poker remain in force. But what the heck does a pot sized bet on the river after check/calling the flop and checking behind on the turn mean? A slowplayed set on the flop? Bottom pair on the flop that made two pair on the river? Middle pair on the flop that thinks that I have nothing because I didn’t keep betting? Or a bluff with a busted draw, or a “value bet” with Ace high?

A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away I could play these opponents. But these days I have a tough time. Mind you, I was single tabling back then and paying a lot more attention to each hand. Plus my expectations for my end results was not as high.

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