Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Limpede

Don't rock the boatI’ve begun reading Annie Duke and John Vorhaus’ new strategy text, Decide to Play Great Poker. Have completed the first of the book’s three parts, the one dealing with “Pre-Game and Pre-Flop Play.” Next up (“Play on the Flop”) is a lengthy part full of chapters concerning how to proceed following various flops/scenarios. Then comes the final part (“The Rest of It”) which looks like it focuses on some river situations and “Other Matters” including reviewing some additional concepts plus a last chapter on bankroll management.

There’s a term used in the first part, one I believe Vorhaus employed in his earlier Killer Poker books though I don’t know who deserves credit for coining it. Kind of sounds like a Tommy Angelo-type neologism, in fact, although like I say I’m not sure where it originated.

The term is “limpede” and refers to that scenario that sometimes occurs in no-limit hold’em in which a player limps in from early or middle position, thereby encouraging others to limp behind as well, thus creating a stampede of limpers or a “limpede.”

It’s a funny-sounding word. The sound of the word -- as well as the behavior to which it refers -- kind of makes me think of “lemmings,” too. And the scenario to which it refers is common enough that it probably represents a concept worth knowing about.

It does happen. Limping up front will sometimes encourage limpers all around. And I suppose you might say that whenever you have a bunch of limpers seeing a flop, any hand is likely to be “run over” by the herd. (Thus is limping with a premium hand up front generally not recommended.) Of course, sometimes amid all the limping it will happen that a player -- having been dealt a real hand and/or correctly sensing weakness all around -- will instead raise and (often) scatter the lot.

Been thinking further about this idea of the “limpede” and how it applies outside of poker. Kind of recalls those terrible stories from introductory psychology about the so-called “bystander effect.” You remember those? A violent crime is committed with numerous witnesses, yet no one intervenes or calls the police, the presence of others (also passively resisting any action) weirdly keeping everyone from acting.

We the sheepleJoining the “limpede” could be said to satisfy many desires -- to “play along” or participate in a non-conspicuous way, to avoid upsetting the status quo, to belong. Can be a powerful, highly influential force, as readily evidenced in politics and government, the business world, and elsewhere.

In other words, it’s hard sometimes for us to resist the urge just to follow along. But we must. Or rather, I must. You can do whatever.

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Blogger angeroo said...

Interesting, but I doubt "re-limping" in this context has much of anything to do with a desire to belong. It's about pot odds, a desire to see a cheap flop, and a fear of going with one's read of weakness and raising with a marginal hand when others have shown some kind of interest in the pot.

8/16/2011 1:37 PM  
Blogger Short-Stacked Shamus said...

Yeah, I agree -- usually not. But I guess there's that idea of "belonging" that comes from "keeping the game friendly" by not raising (as some will occasionally say when limping behind to join a so-called "family pot").

8/16/2011 2:11 PM  
Blogger angeroo said...

Right. Sorry to state the obvious. You prob have a point, but I can only really see that being a factor, conscious or not, for pretty weak players.

So can you settle the Girah issue for us? There's a book in there, you know, and God help us if Haseeb is the first one to try and write it...

8/16/2011 7:59 PM  

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