Explaining Poker to My Co-Workers

    • maythany
      maythany
      Bronze
      Joined: 18.10.2011 Posts: 1,189
      Hello,

      I'm looking for an easy way to explain poker to my co-workers without me sounding like someone who doesn't know what he's talking about. I still want to get the message through about +EV, position, bankroll, etc. I don't have much time on my hands so I bring my laptop to work and review played hands there on HEM2.

      I work for a contractor so the boss picks up all the co-workers and we all travel together to and from work. It takes about 50 minutes for me to get to work and I can use that time to review my hands rather than sitting there in the van doing nothing (I'm not a construction worker). My co-workers see poker and the lottery as the same thing (gambling).

      A little about my co-workers: Simple minded, majority are women, play the lottery (6-49, lotto max - Canada), minority, great people, respectable, etc.

      Thanks,

      MB
  • 23 replies
    • spreeboy
      spreeboy
      Bronze
      Joined: 06.09.2010 Posts: 223
      You can start by showing them your winning graph and explaining the numbers of hands played, winnings, etc. This will show, that unlike lotto, we could win consistently in poker.

      From there, you can ask any questions from them. This approach is better than explaining things directly which they are not interested or are too advanced for them to understand yet. Let them ask first. :f_grin:
    • Akcus
      Akcus
      Bronze
      Joined: 22.12.2009 Posts: 156
      You can tell them that there is both skill and luck in poker, but skill prevails long-term, so many players make lots of money playing.

      Then you can stop trying to explain anything further because you're still going to your day job and not playing poker full-time for income :D
    • MatejM47
      MatejM47
      Black
      Joined: 21.01.2010 Posts: 1,193
      Originally posted by maythany

      A little about my co-workers: Simple minded, majority are women, play the lottery (6-49, lotto max - Canada)

      MB
      Why would you even care to bother with people like that? Unless you want to F*** them that is in which case you don't have to talk poker with them.
    • ninuu
      ninuu
      Bronze
      Joined: 04.04.2010 Posts: 205
      It's like christian fundamentalists trying to explain to nonbelievers the religion. It's the same thing with poker. One group is pretty stupid, the other is not.

      Guess who's who.
    • metza
      metza
      Bronze
      Joined: 28.01.2012 Posts: 2,220
      Just tell them you're very good at both poker and lottery and that they should be jealous of you.
    • alphabeat
      alphabeat
      Bronze
      Joined: 30.04.2010 Posts: 728
      Aye, I have the same problem sometimes, although my surroundings are a little different.

      My colleagues are mostly highly educated tech folk. A lot of em dabble in shares and real estate, but still think poker is gambling. Very strange.. But I explain risk/reward and some of em get it. But they wont do it, cos its gambling :D
    • zumpar
      zumpar
      Bronze
      Joined: 05.02.2012 Posts: 1,185
      it will take a long time since poker will kinda be accepted as a "knowledge game" overall... for now, even in my generation, 85-90% of people are convinced its a roulette and the opinion is just so much buried into their minds there is no chance to prove them otherwise, they will just refuse to accept it (and these are people i regularily play home games and stuff)


      just let them think what they think, u will just waste your time trying to explain

      noone will ever be convinced otherwise, until they have studied and played the game for long enough by themselves
    • CountBrass
      CountBrass
      Bronze
      Joined: 22.08.2011 Posts: 20
      It is almost never possible to change someone's belief by simply producing a rational argument. I agree with Ninuu's point about it being like religion, however, I don't agree with the idea that one side of the argument is "stupid". It is simply that each side looks "stupid" from the other's PoV because they won't accept your "obvious" rational arguments. That is also partly why people who argue beliefs resort to ad hominem approaches and attack each other personally - you see politicians doing that all the time, for example. The arguments alone have no effect.


      The way to change someone's belief is often to appeal emotionally. Create cognitive dissonance repeatedly by showing hard evidence that conflicts with their belief - not opinions. The trouble is in poker that becomes mathematical and peoples' eyes then glaze over. However, showing your winning graph is an excellent idea, also show them all your friends winning graphs. But also talk about all the wonderful things you have done with the money and make it clear that you also have the winnings stable for the longer term - buying a house, or whatever is appropriate in your life stage at the time.

      Many people who play the lottery don't get probability and EV, but you could also explain a little how the chances of winning at poker are much better, in ways they can understand.
      The thinking behind that:
      I'm not familiar with the Canadian lottery but if it is a similar 6/49 format as here, the chances of winning are 1: 14 million ( but adjust to whatever it is - the thinking is the same).
      So, for a $1 ticket explain that unless the "pot" is 14 million or more, you are not getting good odds on the bet, and even if the pot is >14 million there is also the possibility you have to share the pot which reduces your value further.
      For simplicity's sake with regard to the lower prizes, I'd suggest ignoring that but if asked, point out that it increases the benefit a bit but not hugely. Actually, if you feel inspired to, calculate the total EV of the lottery including shared pots and lower prizes, and then trot it out in terms of the minimum jackpot required for a positive return if challeneged - but better still, show it in physical terms ( see pyramids example below) they will relate to.

      However, even with a positive EV there is also the actual probability.

      So what I tell people about the lottery is that if my ancestors started buying a weekly ticket at the times the Egyptian pyramids (or stonehenge, a local feature here) were built, and continued down the generations to the present, then on average they might have expected to have won the jackpot once in all that time. But its a coin flip, with a reasonable chance that they wouldn't have won it at all. Most people seem to get that when you put it that way.

      And then explain that with Poker on the other hand, you get to set the odds yourself for others to bet as well as to bet on the odds presented, and the odds are much better. And thats the difference between poker and lotteries and casino games.

      Although with beliefs, by the time you bring it up with them again a week later, chances are they will have forgotten that you told them. ;)

      So if they still don't get it. Well as they say (nothing personal to anyone, just an expression) don't try to teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time and it annoys the pig..
    • lodinn
      lodinn
      Bronze
      Joined: 04.10.2010 Posts: 1,276
      Just as Matej said, why bother? Personally I don't like to talk at all about it if they don't know much about it. In general you won't give out a good impression either.
    • DrDunne
      DrDunne
      Bronze
      Joined: 29.12.2010 Posts: 3,338
      Originally posted by CountBrass
      don't try to teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time and it annoys the pig..
      so much win :D

      great post CountBrass!

      and yeah i'm of the opinion that, like religious debates, these sort of situations go nowhere for anyone - so i don't bother discussing it and if anybody tries to bring it up with me i try my best to be as vague as possible and not talk about it. don't really see the point tbh simply because it will go nowhere and even if it does they will end up forgetting everything by next week lol.
    • UPAY4DINNER
      UPAY4DINNER
      Bronze
      Joined: 27.09.2009 Posts: 21,923
      Originally posted by DrDunne
      Originally posted by CountBrass
      don't try to teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time and it annoys the pig..
      so much win :D

      great post CountBrass!

      and yeah i'm of the opinion that, like religious debates, these sort of situations go nowhere for anyone - so i don't bother discussing it and if anybody tries to bring it up with me i try my best to be as vague as possible and not talk about it. don't really see the point tbh simply because it will go nowhere and even if it does they will end up forgetting everything by next week lol.
      +1
    • CountBrass
      CountBrass
      Bronze
      Joined: 22.08.2011 Posts: 20
      Yes, and another one is the extended warranties comparison. Even people who don't believe in "gambling" at all, eg for religious reasons, take out extended warranties.
      I tend to use this against salespeople rather than to argue the case of poker - but this is another example of how poker thinking helps us in life.

      A few years ago I was travelling in the US and bought a new mouse at Best Buy for $12.
      At the checkout, the assistant asked me if I would like to take out a 2 year extended warranty on the mouse, for an extra $7 covering it for all kind of mishaps.

      My response: " So are you telling me that there is a greater than 50% chance that this new mouse will fail within two years?"

      Blank stare from assistant.

      I didn't take up their kind offer. Mouse still working five years later, never had a thing wrong with it.

      More recently: Phone call. " According to our records your washing machine is now out of warranty. For only 5.75 a month we will provide warranty for any washing machine of any age. Have you got a m inute and I'll explain to you all the benefits...

      I interrupt. "Just before you do.. if I had taken out a contract for 5.75 a month at the time my original warranty expired, 22 years ago (I was Very young at the time :D ), I would have paid enough for five or six new washing machines by now. Over that time it has never needed a repair. So I'll take my chances"
      That ended the conversation.

      Thing is, that insurance and warranties have to be a negative EV bet, because otherwise, insurers and warranty providers would not make a profit..
      Better to just bung 5.75 into an account monthly yourself, earn a little interest, and have the money for repairs or new kit when you need it.
    • elchipriota
      elchipriota
      Bronze
      Joined: 06.06.2012 Posts: 438
      How I do it:


      1) Explain to them how in lottery you have no influence on how the numbers are going to come out every week (the outcome). Your only choice is the numbers you will predict. (input)

      2) In poker "the outcome" is the five community cards and your two hole cards. You have no influence on any of those.

      So far so good, lottery and poker are the same.

      3) In poker though you can use your brain, and your action to influence the outcome. I.e by betting or folding when it is right!

      Therefore this makes poker a game of skill. The same way if a normal person goes to play tennis against rafael nadal he will loose.


      Ta daaah!!!

      Here is your explanation. Or at least how I explain to people that I dont have a gambling problem :D :D :D
    • zumpar
      zumpar
      Bronze
      Joined: 05.02.2012 Posts: 1,185
      Originally posted by elchipriota

      Here is your explanation. Or at least how I explain to people that I dont have a gambling problem :D :D :D
      they still dont get it and think ur a gambler though :coolface:
    • SPeedFANat1c
      SPeedFANat1c
      Gold
      Joined: 04.01.2009 Posts: 5,068
      Thing is, that insurance and warranties have to be a negative EV bet, because otherwise, insurers and warranty providers would not make a profit..


      wahsihng machine is not expensive so I agree.

      But with car, I bettero pay insureance even ifs its -EV, but its plus ev for my calmness - if I hit the car which is wotht 50K $ lets say, I would have a real trouble.
      Also I would need to drive very carefully.

      While with insurnace, I can drive less carefully, just be sure not to hurt people in the traffic.
    • i5bet72o
      i5bet72o
      Bronze
      Joined: 17.06.2010 Posts: 1,615
      Honestly I wouldnt tell my co-workers about playing poker. I only tell close friends about poker.

      Think about the 2 likely outcomes of telling them:
      1) they think you are degenerate
      2) they think you have a cool hobby

      The harm caused by (1) is far greater than the benefit from (2) and (1) is far more likely.

      Based on your discription of your coworkers I would guess you work at Tim Hortons? Am I right?
    • progPoquer
      progPoquer
      Bronze
      Joined: 26.07.2011 Posts: 279
      No sense on explaining anything to them. If someone is interested, then explain him/her. If they prejudge, let them alone talking.
    • maythany
      maythany
      Bronze
      Joined: 18.10.2011 Posts: 1,189
      Originally posted by i5bet72o
      Honestly I wouldnt tell my co-workers about playing poker. I only tell close friends about poker.

      Think about the 2 likely outcomes of telling them:
      1) they think you are degenerate
      2) they think you have a cool hobby

      The harm caused by (1) is far greater than the benefit from (2) and (1) is far more likely.

      Based on your discription of your coworkers I would guess you work at Tim Hortons? Am I right?
      Very close!
    • thazar
      thazar
      Bronze
      Joined: 14.09.2009 Posts: 6,560
      Originally posted by SPeedFANat1c
      ...

      While with insurnace, I can drive less carefully, just be sure not to hurt people in the traffic.

      Is this +EV?


      on topic though. did explain at work a bit about poker and after got a stake for weekly MTT schedule that i now play from my collegues.


      I work in a really cool place though :P
    • 1
    • 2