A couple of weeks ago, a MLB player broke a controversial “unwritten rule”.
With his San Diego Padres up 10-3 in the 8th inning Fernando Tatis Jr. stepped up to the plate with one out and the bases loaded. His first three pitches were balls. Facing a 3-0 count Fernando blasted his next pitch into orbit for a grand slam. Outrage ensued.
The pitcher threw behind the next batter, Manny Machado, and subsequently got ejected and suspended. Fernando and his manager sheepishly apologized after the game and all the talking heads exploded with debate.
Personally I couldn't care less about following “unwritten rules,” and wanna look at this from a strategic perspective:
- You’re up by 7 with 1 1/2 innings left so you’re a heavy favorite to win. Still, it’s not a 100% lock.
- Because it’s a 3-0 count and a walk equals a run, the pitcher is heavily incentivized to throw you a strike.
- If the “unwritten rules” say you aren’t supposed to swing then it becomes even more likely the pitcher is going to throw you a hittable pitch.
The decision on whether or not to swing away should hinge only on these strategic points. Everything else is just noise.
When you're able to break down situations with clarity and have confidence in your ability to execute you get to make decisions that "break the rules".
In poker the Grand Slam equivolent can mean getting away with three-betting an opponent with any two cards or exploitably folding your entire range in a spot where you know your opponent is never bluffing. Breaking both of these "unwritten rules" of poker can be equally powerful and equally valuable.
But with great power comes great responsibility.
In order to execute these exploits in real time without getting yourself murdered by the Green Goblin, you have to deeply understand the strategy behind the rules.
When you know exactly why the rules are in place, you get to start breaking them when you see players making massive blunders.
You can’t just three-bet 28o because it “feels” profitable...
You three bet 28o because you KNOW it’s profitable. The only way you can know it will be profitable is by fully understanding optimal preflop strategy.
If you'd like to dramatically improve your preflop game so that you can punish your opponent's relentlessly, I have something that should be right up your ally:
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Talk to you tomorrow,