The Poker Action Flop Theory in Online NL Texas Holdem Tournaments
Poker Action Flop Theory: Hands are deliberately set up by an online Poker room to handicap the best players and benefit the bad players.
Texas Holdem tournaments on the internet attract literally thousands of players everyday to sites that offer every kind of tournament you can imagine. Freerolls with small, and sometimes very high, cash prizes, buyins from 10 cents to $1000.00, satellites to major land based tournaments, bounty tournaments, freeze outs, you name it, and you can find it. And everyone who plays online has some incredible bad beat stories - one out hands hitting on the river, etc, seemingly in much greater mathematical probability than seems possible.
This is where the "Action Flop" Theory comes in. Paul Phillips is credited with coining the phrase on the World Poker Tour. It defines an almost improbable hand result, where some great starting hands are played aggressively by skilled players that hit a flop nicely, but end up losing on the river to a vastly inferior hand. The classic bad beat suckout.
I have statistically tracked a number of sites as I play them. And on certain sites (to remain nameless, but catch me in a game sometime, and I might spill the beans) there is most definitely a higher proportion of Action Flops near the bubbles. But first, lets make a note here. Cards dealt on the online casinos are NOT randomly dealt. A true random deal is mathematically impossible. They can get close, but never truly statistically random. I am not saying any sites are rigged, but do please read on. It has already been established that some sites use different shuffles for free games and for cash games. These sites lead the free player to believe they are better than they are, hoping to encourage them to deposit and play for cash.
The theory behind action flops is quite simple. The Poker Action Flop is a flop that will encourage the good players to get very aggressive in a pot and then the new or bad player makes an unlikely river draw to suck out on the good player.
And this happens! A lot! In fact, a lot more than it should, statistically.
So why do all these bad beats happen? This is what the Poker Action Flop Theory explains.
The Poker Action Flop Theory is simply this: the online poker room wants the bad players to beat the good players. Not all the time, just at certain points in a tournament. Skilled experienced players know that bad beats happen, and they can accept them as part of the game. If they are winning overall in the site, they stay and just pick another tournament to enter. But a new player or a bad player who doesn't win once in a while will stop playing there. Thus no more poker room deposit money from them. The online casinos want to spread the winning cash prizes around, so they create action flops to do this, according to the Action Flop Theory. They deliver great hands to the good players who then boost the pot, and the bad player sucks out on the river.
Skilled and experienced winning Texas Holdem players tend to be very aggressive. They make value bets, forced calls against pot odds, high percentage semi bluffs, outright steals, and they slow play the fish right into the net. Skilled players know how to make the most out of every hand they play. Bad players are basically calling stations and have little knowledge of proper betting techniques. So if an Action Flop comes along, the skilled player has a lot of chips in the pot, and loses them to the bad player suckout.
In the real world of Texas Holdem tournament play, new and bad players are easily beaten by superior players. Most of them don't stand a chance to win in a live multi table no limit holdem tournament. They are dead money. In land based casino poker room NL Texas Holdem tournaments, the skilled players get most of their chips from the bad players as they knock them out.
So why is it different online? Action Flops!
The Theory says that "ACTION FLOPS", those flops that bring big action to a hand and hurt the skilled players who are beaten by the river miracles. Online poker room owners know that in the general course of play, the highly skilled players would decimate the rest of the players. They need something to level the playing field or risk losing the majority of their players, and then the majority of their income. The Action Flop theory says this is the way they do it, by having Action Flops during the course of play. The better skilled players are penalized by chip loses and the new or unskilled players are rewarded with chip gains, and thus are retained as customers.
The Action Flop Theory states that Action Flops are the mainstay of the online poker room business model.
Action Flops let the winning players win far less than they would normally would.
Action Flops let bad players play longer and even win money on occasion.
Action Flops benefit bad players who continue calling on a draw against the aggressive skilled player.
Action flops keep the new or bad players on the site, and the poker room makes more money.
See below for an example of how the online poker rooms could use their Dynamic Dealing to Generate a Poker Action Flop without compromising in any way the integrity of their RNG card shuffle.
How can you avoid falling into the Poker Action Flop Trap?
Action flops will occur anytime in NL Texas Holdem tournament. Generally speaking, the first few rounds are free of Action Flops, since this is the most dangerous time for the player, and the time you usually see the most all in players. No need for them here, actually.
As the game progresses, there usually will come a group of Action Flops. Watch for this as you play, and be very careful if you see the start of pattern of Action Flops. As a skilled player, you probably have an idea of who are the other skilled players at your table, and who are the new or unskilled players. If you see the later start to suckout, watch out!
And, as I mentioned earlier, as you near the bubble, expect these action flops! They may are there and they may come! Remember, the poker room wants the new players and the bad players who have survived so far to make the money bubble. And if you are a skilled player, they may not want you to make the bubble!
Your best tool is observation! Be very careful when on the button near the bubble. This is where the classic Poker Action Flop is set to give you that great hand to steal the blinds with, but may in fact be the hand that takes you out when the Big Blind sucks out in a Poker Action Flop!
Example: We have two players in a hand, a skilled player who has won a lot of money on the site, aggressively betting his AK hand, and a newbie player, with no winnings at all on the site, holding AJ. The flop is A J, 3, turn is K. The skilled player goes all in on his AA KK, the top two pair. The newbie calls with his AA JJ. On the river the random card generator puts out a King to be dealt, which would give the skilled player a winning full house. The dynamic dealing program then would set aside the Ace, not deal it, and then the program continues to set aside the randomly generated cards until a Jack appears, then deals it as the river card. The the less skilled newbie player then outdraws the skilled player to win on the river.
Even an audit of the random number generator will still validate the RNG because it is not compromised, it is the deal/distribution that is compromised.
Some players claim they have detected a slight delay in river dealing by the site software when these outdraws occur.