A Hold’em Poker Quiz – Answers

As promised, here are the answers to the Hold’em quiz.  I’ve included at least one location (there may be several) for finding each answer (dependent on my printing of the books). 

The abbreviations used are:
Harrington on Hold’em Volume 1: Strategic Play (First Edition, Fifth Printing, September 2007) = HoH
Harrington on Cash Games Volume I (First Edition, Second Printing, March 2009) = HoCG  

Here are the questions with their answers:

  1. What is the “Gap Concept”, as defined by David Sklansky?
    A: You need a stronger hand to call than you would need to open the pot yourself from that position.” (HoH, pp. 38, 70, 188)
    Note: In HoCG, p. 170, Mr. Harrington writes: In Cash Games, for hands designed to play small pots, the Gap Concept applies in full; However, for hands that benefit from the massive implied odds in deep stack poker, the Gap Concept doesn’t apply.
  2. What is the “Rope-a-Dope technique as applied against a super-aggressive player?
    A: “With genuine strength, you can just call a super-aggressive player, rather than making what would be normal raises against another player. …  When employing this strategy, you make only one raise, at the very end of the hand.” (HoH, p. 47)
  3. When pursuing a “balanced strategy”, which means to vary your raises, calls, and bet sizes, what tool can be used as a random number generator to insure you’re acting truly random?  For example, with a premium pair in early position you want to raise 80% of the time, and call 20%, how can you accomplish this in a simple truly random way?  Hint:  Dan Harrington mentions this method in both of his books that I’ve listed previously.
    A: The second hand of your watch (HoH, p. 53 & HoCG, pp. 138, 250-251)
  4. A. What are the three categories of physical tells?
    A: 1. Facial expressions  2. General body language  3. Hand motions (HoH, p. 85)
    B. According to Harrington, which category is the most reliable and revealing?
    A: Hand motions (HoH, p. 85)
  5. Naturally, you should pay attention to all players at the table, but for beginners, which 3 players are the most important to watch?
    A: The two players on your left and the player on your right (HoH, p. 89)
  6. When should you limp into a pot against several players with a high pair?
    A: When you are expecting a raise behind you (HoH, p. 91)
  7. What is a “Backdoor Flush Draw”? 
    A: You need two running cards (the turn & river) of the same suit to complete your flush (HoH, p. 273)   
  8. When calculating pot odds, if you have a backdoor flush draw, how many “outs” should you count?
    A: About 1 1/2 outs (HoH, p.273)
  9. According to “Harrington’s Law of Bluffing“, the probability that your opponent is bluffing when he shoves a big bet into the pot is always at least what percent?
    A: 10% (HoH, p. 132)
  10. In relation to pot size, how much is a “normal” continuation bet?  (Note: your bets should vary to conceal your actions; however, there is a normal size).
    A: about half the size of the pot. (HoH, pp. 277-279, 293)
  11. What position at the table is the last to act pre-flop?
    A: The Big Blind (HoCG, p. 162)
  12. When you play low pairs like 3-3, what is it called when higher pairs appear on the board?
    A: Counterfeited (HoH, p. 182)
  13. You will get dealt pocket Aces about once every how many hands?
    A. 98  B. 150  C. 220  D. 378
    A: “C. 220″  (HoH, p. 210)
  14. What is The Sandwich Effect?
    A: The pot has been opened, you are next to act, and there are several potentially active players behind you.  You’re caught in a sandwich.  (HoH, p. 189)
  15. In a tournament, when the blinds are very small relative to the chips stacks, is the theoretical correct way to play very tight or very loose?
    A: Very tight (HoH, p. 205)
  16. What group of starting hands gets beginning players into more trouble than any others?
    A: Two Face Cards without an Ace (e.g. KQ, KJ, QJ, suited or unsuited) (HoH, pp. 185, 225)  Also, KT and QT are included with these hands in HoCG (HoCG, p. 155)
  17. When you have pocket Kings, the odds that someone at a full table (9 players) has pocket Aces is:
    A. 1 in 12?  B. 1 in 24?  C. 1 in 36?  D. 1 in  48?
    A: “B. 1 in 24″ (HoH, p. 241)
  18. What range, compared to pot size, does Harrington recommend for a Value Bet size?
    A: Vary between half the pot and the whole pot  (HoH, p. 275)
  19. What is The Rule of Two?
    A: “If only one card is still to come [i.e. the "river"] multiply your number of outs by two to get your winning chances.”  (HoCG, p. 38)  For example, you have an outside straight draw (e.g. you have K-Q-J, there’s a T on the board, so you need an A or 9), you are pretty certain your opponent has a pair, and there are no flush or full-house draws, so a straight will win the hand.  You need either one of four Aces, or one of four Nines.  So, you have 8 outs.  8 times 2 (i.e. “the rule of two”)  = 16; so you have about a 16% chance of winning the hand. 

  20. In deep-stack cash games, which hands will generally win larger pots: premium pairs or small pairs?
    A: Small Pairs (HoCG, p. 131)
  21. When making a Continuation bet, if you bet half the pot, what percentage of your bets do you need to win to break even?
    A: one-third  (HoH, p. 258)
  22. How is a Probe Bet different from a Continuation Bet?
    A: A Continuation bet is a bet made after the flop by the player who took the lead in betting before the flop.  a Probe bet is a bet made when you were not the leader before the flop, but the leader has declined to make a continuation bet.  (HoH, pp. 277 & 282, 309)
  23. Is a Continuation Bet more effective against one or two opponents?
    A: Against one opponent (HoH, p. 286)
  24. True or False – weak means strong, and strong means weak?
    A: True (HoH, p. 86)
  25. What is it called when you make a play that you wouldn’t have made if you knew what your opponent’s cards were?
    A: This is Sklansky’s Fundamental Theorem of Poker: An error is a play you wouldn’t make if you knew what your opponent had.” (HoCG, p. 117)
  26. If you are dealt Q-Q, with nine players behind you, “about” what percent of the time will one of those players have A-A or K-K?
    A. 23  B. 10  C. 8  D. 38
    A: “B. 10%” (HoH, p. 210)
  27. What is THE most important skill for a player to have in tournament no-limit Hold’em?
    A: “As the blinds and antes increase relative to your stack, your approach must change“.  Harrington calls the places where your strategy changes inflection points.  An understanding of these points, and how to adjust your play accordingly, is the most important skill in tournament NLHE according to Mr. Harrington. (HoH, p.376)
  28. According to “The Betting Principle“, a successful bet must accomplish one of three things.  What are they?
    A: 1. force a better hand to fold,  2. force a weaker hand to call, or  3. cause a drawing hand to draw at unfavorable odds (HoCG, p.20)
  29. What is The Rule of Four?
    A: “If two cards are still to come [i.e. the "turn" and "river"] and you will be able to see both cards, multiply your number of outs by four to get your winning chances in a hand.” (HoCG, p. 37)
  30. What is “M”?
    A: The ratio between your stack size and the total of the blinds and antes. (HoCG, p. 51)
    Note:  There’s a good article on the M-ratio here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M-ratio
  31. In comparing hand values, is the “value” of A-K unsuited vs. 8-7 suited the same, regardless of whether you’re playing in a tournament or a deep-stack cash game?
    A: No.  In deep stack cash games, hand values normalize; the gap between strong preflop hands and weak preflop hands shrinks as the stacks get larger. (HoCG, p. 58-59)
  32.  Is “fold equity” how much you’ll lose in the hand if you fold?
    A: No.  Fold Equity is the value you have from the fact that your opponent can fold to your bet. (HoCG, p. 231)
  33. Which carries more weight, a pre-flop bet, or a post-flop bet?
    A: a post-flop bet (HoCG, p. 105)
  34. What is the Metagame?
    A: It’s the sum of everything that you know about the other players, and everything they know about you.  In order to craft the metagame image you want, you will sometimes have to play hands in strange and non-optimal ways. (HoCG, pp. 107-116)
  35. If you are a winner over time, you win because your opponent makes more ____________ than you.
    A: mistakes (HoCG, p. 117)
  36. What is Solomon’s Rule?
    A: Solomon’s Rule is similar to the The Rule of Four, but gives an even more accurate percentage.  It states: “With two cards to come, [i.e. the "turn" and "river"] multiply the number of outs by four, then subtract the number of outs in excess of eight to get your winning percentage. (HoCG, p. 39)
    For example, if you have 12 outs: 12 * 4 = 48 – (12-8) = 44%
  37. Harrington’s First Law states: The gap in strength between strong hands and weak hands is inversely proportional to the _________  _________.
    A: stack sizes (HoCG, p. 131)
  38. Is a “paired flop” a good bluffing flop in heads-up play?
    A: Yes (HoCG, p. 231)
  39. In general, in a cash game, which will be a bigger money-maker over time; flopping top set or flopping middle set?
    A: flopping middle set (HoCG, p. 266)
  40. Harrington’s Second Law states: The likelihood that a player’s betting action represents his true strength is directly correlated to the number of _________ in the pot.
    A: players (HoCG, p. 341)
  41. True or False?  Strong starting hands, like A-A, become stronger as more players join the action.
    A: False (HoCG, p. 342)
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