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Thoughts on poker and PSO

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Thoughts on poker and PSO - Sun Dec 22, 2002, 11:55 PM
(#1)
Deleted user
I have not been around much at PSO during the past 3 months but my mind has been on poker quite a bit.

I've been involved in a research project that included simulating several billion hands of poker of all varieties - and doing some fairly complex statistical analysis on the results.

Much has been discussed in the past about exactly what the "long term" means. If you take anything away from this post, I'd like it to be an understanding that there is no such thing. It would actually take several hundred lifetimes of playing poker before the "long term" becomes well defined in a statistical sense. Not a thousand hands, not even a million.

In a tournament such as Big One II, the winner will play a few hundred hands. The outcome of these hands is statistically insignificant.

For me, this means that so-called "skill" is insignificant in a poker tournament. I don't care how much experience you have, how quickly you can calculate pot odds, how often you put your money in with the "best of it".

Think about it another way. Imagine that instead of the Big One II, PSO simply wrote a number between one and one million on a piece of paper. All members at PSO will guess a number and whoever is closest will win. Being a skillful poker player would be like knowing that the number is not greater than 950,000. But even with 5% of the numbers eliminated your chances of winning haven't really changed in this ONE contest.

Can you reach the long term in a ring game? Probably not. There just isn't enough time. Certainly you can get much closer than in a tournament, but I'm skeptical about just how close one person can get.

Has your game improved since joining PSO? The only way to know would be if you had millions of results from before AND after PSO. Going out and having a winning session, or even ten winning sessions means absolutely nothing. If you had chosen a different room or different times you could just as easily had ten losing sessions.

You all know I'm pessimistic by nature and can brush me off as "well that's just minpin being minpin". I'm not really saying anything new. Geezer has been preaching that tournaments are crap shoots since the beginning.

My Big One II story? Slowly built my stack to 26K after three hours. Got it all in preflop with AA and called by KK who had about 17K. King on the turn. Ten minutes later I complete the SB in a five way pot with T9. Flop comes AT9. I go all in for my last 7K. Called by Ax, ace comes on turn. There's three hours of my life I'll never get back .

Incidentally I had AK four times and lost every time with it. I had AA three times. Twice I won the blinds early in the tourney, the third time I got crushed by the KK.

..... and Bingo was his name-o.

Keep track of how many coin flip hands you win, or hands where you draw out. Next time you win a tournament, look at how many times you won the coin flip or drew out. Winning 10 or 20 coin flip hands in the course of a tournament is what it takes to win the tourney. Skill?

At any rate, I'm done with tournaments. I don't have the mentality to believe that I have any chance of winning because I've seen the statistics and they are discouraging to say the least.

How many times will Phil Helmuth make the final table at the WSOP final event before he dies? I'll take the under on any number you give me.
 
Old
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Mon Dec 23, 2002, 02:46 AM
(#2)
Deleted user
I agree with you for the most part -- but you can't negate skill completely. It's not because of luck that you see the same players at the top of the Leagues month after month after month. It would even out over time.

But for any one tournament...on any one day...ANYONE can win. :roll: I don't think anyone would disagree with that.
 
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Mon Dec 23, 2002, 03:05 AM
(#3)
Deleted user
The #1 thing to remeber about Tourneys is that you Must play well to get into a position to get "lucky" and win. Even if u play well u may not get lucky enough in any given T to win, but it does show up in the long run, and yes Ring games are a truer measure of poker skills, but except for pot limit and No limit I find them extremely Boring.


Tony D
 
Old
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Mon Dec 23, 2002, 04:17 AM
(#4)
Deleted user
i was just about to say that tony, then i read your post.

I think ring games take more skill than tourney's, when u get to a certain point in a tourney it becomes a coin flip. It's ether fold or allin by then.
 
Old
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Mon Dec 23, 2002, 06:54 AM
(#5)
Deleted user
Minpin
I dont know a lot about poker live or turney. I have only been playing for 2 years. I believe my skill level has improved greatly
since joining PSO. I believe that skill is needed to win a turney or
at least make the final table. I dont have any facts to prove this
other than take a look at professional turneys and where the pros
dont always win them. They sure make a lot of final tables. Look
at Cardplayer and look at there point system for player of the year.
The same people are winning and making the final table a lot.
No one on Earth is that lucky. Just my thoughts.

Tom
 
Old
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Mon Dec 23, 2002, 08:06 AM
(#6)
TrumpinJoe's Avatar
Since: Jun 2010
Posts: 4,557
minpin,

Given the huge number of ways a hand can playout I understand your statement that their is no long run. However, poker is not just about the cards. Poker is a battle of people using cards.

Also, it has been said that "Luck is when preparation meets opportunity".

What we are doing here is the opportunity. By playing in dozens and hundereds of events you will see most situations multiple times. As this happens you are able to recognize the situation better. Poker is a game of incomplete information. Your edge is in using the information at your disposal to your best advantage.

Lastly, in any tournament each skilled tournament player individually is a dog to the field. However, and this can be shown statistically, the set of all skilled players will not always be a dog to the field.
 
Old
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Mon Dec 23, 2002, 09:52 AM
(#7)
Deleted user
Thanks for everyone's thoughts on this subject…

Quote:
It's not because of luck that you see the same players at the top of the Leagues month after month after month.
Point in fact I don't see the same people at the top of the leagues each month. How many months did it take for a single person to reach 500 points?

Quote:
The #1 thing to remeber about Tourneys is that you Must play well to get into a position to get "lucky" and win
If you watched the final table of Big One II you might disagree with that statement. "Playing well" is not a very apt description of what I saw. This has been pointed out and discussed in other threads so I won't go into detail here.

Quote:
The same people are winning and making the final table a lot.
Those same people are playing a lot too. The same applies to PSO. Of course someone who plays 500 tournaments will win more and make more final tables than someone who plays 100 tournaments. You might get used to seeing those same names listed as money finishers in what seems like a lot of events, when in reality they are not making the money any more than you would if you played as much as them.

I've watched Phil Helmuth a few times on LNP and in other tournaments. The guy doesn't scare me in the least. Recently I saw him put in a large raise preflop with 73o. He was a short stack in the event. The guy who called him flopped a broadway straight. Phil flops nothing of course and is staring three overcards in the face. He comes out firing with half his stack and is raised. He drops the hand. This play had me shaking my head. Why take a shot with a short stack in mid position with one of the worst possible starting hands in Hold'em?

The best part is, had he won that hand he would make it sound like he's a poker genius. If the other guy would have missed the flop and folded, Phil would have turned his hand over laughing.

Poker players have backers… why? They write books… why? If skill gave players a considerable advantage over others they would be winning much more often and wouldn't need someone paying their way.

I read a lot of poker stories and one very common theme is the rampant borrowing of money from friends to get into games. The overwhelming luck factor in this game is too much to overcome, even for the best players in the world.

In a recent article Phil talks about how he had been running very bad, not finishing in the money in 20 straight tournaments. Twenty! I don't think I've ever gone 20 tournaments at PSO without finishing in the money in at least one of them.

Take any of the top 200 players (however you want to define that) at PSO and put them in as many events as Phil, Scotty, etc. and watch their names bubble to the top of the player of the year point standings.

But don't forget - a good majority of those guys are broke . A fellow PSO member recently told me that they played with Phil and Dan Negreanu. It seems that Dan is completely broke and Phil is backing him. He's supposed to be one of the young stars in this game and doesn't have enough money in his pocket to buy lunch.

In the past when someone has questioned why I like to "gamble" I've always told them that poker isn't gambling, it's a skill game. I don't think I can say that any more with a straight face.
 
Old
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Mon Dec 23, 2002, 09:53 AM
(#8)
Deleted user
When I enter a lottery, I would much rather my odds of winning be 200-1 rather than 1000-1.
 
Old
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Mon Dec 23, 2002, 10:26 AM
(#9)
Deleted user
Deleted
 
Old
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Mon Dec 23, 2002, 11:15 AM
(#10)
Deleted user
I do think the long run kicks in in tournament play quicker than you think.

Several hundred tournaments perhaps it begins to kick in.

500+, into 4th gear.

1000+, you are almost there.


Here is why:

--You cannot get away with playing T8s to huge raises and not have it knock you out of tournament after tournament.


--You cannot continue to play 479J in O8 and not have it cripple you up in most tourneys. That said, there are always at least 2-3 players at a final table of O8 who have played exactly those hands.


I think it kicks in fairly quickly in ring games. Tho, like TonyD, I find LHE to be particularly boring.


RG
 
Old
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Mon Dec 23, 2002, 11:28 AM
(#11)
Deleted user
Quote:
Originally Posted by rg
--You cannot get away with playing T8s to huge raises and not have it knock you out of tournament after tournament.


--You cannot continue to play 479J in O8 and not have it cripple you up in most tourneys. That said, there are always at least 2-3 players at a final table of O8 who have played exactly those hands.
I would tend to agree that for "bad" players, the long term catches up much more quickly than for so-called "good" players.

It's easy to figure out that if I raise all in on every single hand, regardless of my cards, I'm not going to have much success. I may never win using this strategy. The same goes for playing T8s for raises, limping in every hand, etc.

I think we can agree there.

The problem is that to justify calling when one is a favorite by saying "in the long term I will come out on top" may not be correct. The fact is, there are thousands of bad players lined up ready to call you with any two which means you will ALWAYS be facing the gamboolers.

A 2:1 favorite can lose 150 times in a row. In running statistical analysis the "outliers" are downright scary. I've run a simulation which resulted in pocket aces losing 38 straight times in a heads up situation with random cards in the other hand. Imagine playing over 8000 hands, being dealt AA 38 times and never winning with them.

In order to actually see a 2:1 favorite come out as a guaranteed net winner in the "long term" it can sometimes take well over 10 million hands before the variance becomes statistically insignificant. Most of us will be lucky to play 1 million total hands in our life. What are the chances you'll get to play the same 2:1 favorite hand 10 million times? They are zero - you need several thousand years .
 
Old
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Mon Dec 23, 2002, 12:50 PM
(#12)
Deleted user
Another point is that in a field of 550 players, where at least 500 are beginners/novices, it is most likely that a novice will win by making a tonne of mistakes and getting lucky. We can't draw too many conclucions about how much skill matters in tournaments. It's just the law of large numbers, or something.

Whenever the remaining field is relatively equal overall in terms of ability, whether they are bad players or the best in the world, luck will be the determining factor in the outcome of any one event. No question. Which is why you do not turn down a coin flip unless you have a large edge over the field. TJ cloutier is not good enough to turn it down in the WSOP, but he would be to turn it down against the big one 2 field.

Quote:
The problem is that to justify calling when one is a favorite by saying "in the long term I will come out on top" may not be correct.
There is no other logical basis to form your decisions on, unless you know what cards are coming that particular time.
 
Old
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Mon Dec 23, 2002, 12:52 PM
(#13)
Deleted user
Luck does play a significant part in the winning of any tournament. Luck and no skill can win a tournament much easier than no luck and a lot of skill can. BUt, as others have mentioned, skilled play can more consistently leave u in a position to get lucky.

Strangely, I think professional racing, as in NASCAR, F1, etc, makes a nice analogy to poker. Every year the hot rookies come storming into the scene win a couple of races, make a big splash, but are rarely there at the endof the season competing for the championship. On any given race day, picking the winner is a virtual impossibility (just as in a poker T). There is just no way to factor in all the variables that contribute to a win. A good car, no unforseen problems, proper tire management, no costly pitcrew mistakes, good pitstop times; all these can even be there for a racer, then he can round turn 1 and run right into a wreck and bam hes out. The guys that do compete, week after week, for the championship, though, dont run wild and win some and lose some. They focus on taking a good car/setup and a good crew (essential) and being in a position, week after week, to have things come together on the track, or at least not fall apart and keep them in the running.

One reason that so many pros are broke is they gamble on other things. Money management is the skill off the table that keeps money in ones pocket. Would Phil back Daniel if he didnt expect to profit from it at the table, what Daniel does with his share of the money is his business, then Phil gets to back him again. Some pros seem to manage their money very well, take Jennifer Harmon as an example. There are alot of factors that make a SUCCESSFUL poker player over a winning player.

Good to see u about the forum again, chris! Concerning your study, have u seen the smaller one done by Lou Krieger, published in Poker for Dummies? I was wondering what u thought about that and how does yours compare?

--Greager
 
Old
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Mon Dec 23, 2002, 02:17 PM
(#14)
Deleted user
Quote:
One reason that so many pros are broke is they gamble on other things.
Also, concerning tourney players, no-one can really have a big enough bankroll to overcome the swings anyway, in 10k buy-in events. I Don't think so anyway.
 
Old
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Mon Dec 23, 2002, 02:30 PM
(#15)
Deleted user
Minpin,

I first read your post and it immediately reminded me of similar posts I've seen here and on other forums regarding the statistical analyses of poker hands. These posts are usually made by engineers, mathmaticians and other very analytical types. It is a very one dimensional analyses of poker imo.

Your last example:
Quote:
In order to actually see a 2:1 favorite come out as a guaranteed net winner in the "long term" it can sometimes take well over 10 million hands before the variance becomes statistically insignificant. Most of us will be lucky to play 1 million total hands in our life. What are the chances you'll get to play the same 2:1 favorite hand 10 million times? They are zero - you need several thousand years .
While it is STATISTICALLY possible to lose with this hand 100 million times in a row, the what if of this happening has no significance and is just a useless what if scenario.

Quote:
In order to actually see a 2:1 favorite come out as a guaranteed net winner in the "long term"
Show me something that IS guaranteed in life. I can't think of a single job, investment or gamble that doesn't involve risk and reward.

You have chosen to focus on the unlikely but possible outcomes rather than focusing on the probable and likely outcomes. It is a very negative and pessimistic view.
 
Old
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Mon Dec 23, 2002, 03:11 PM
(#16)
Deleted user
Quote:
Originally Posted by minpin
I've run a simulation which resulted in pocket aces losing 38 straight times in a heads up situation with random cards in the other hand. Imagine playing over 8000 hands, being dealt AA 38 times and never winning with them..
Well, if you've run millions of such simulations, then the AA might get slaugtered in this way once in a while. But, given that AA is about 3-1 on (I forget the exact odds) against the best possible anti-AA hand (65s as I recall), wouldn't getting beaten 38 straight times be astromonical odds against? You can't base a playing philosophy on this, or the casinos would start worrying whether they can make money from roulette

Quote:
Originally Posted by minpin
In order to actually see a 2:1 favorite come out as a guaranteed net winner in the "long term" it can sometimes take well over 10 million hands before the variance becomes statistically insignificant.
What do you mean by 'variance' here? That the 2-1 on favourite, every hand, might blow some notional bankroll, headsup, before running into profit? Well, that would depend on the bankroll and the limits/betting structure, no? If the bankroll were in any way adequate these odds would win quickly and massively. Exactly equivalent to having to cut a black card from a deck where the hearts have been removed.

I don't really understand the figures you're quoting here Chris. Are they the worst possible cases from jillions of simulation runs?

cheers

Glenn
 
Old
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Mon Dec 23, 2002, 03:34 PM
(#17)
Deleted user
Quote:
While it is STATISTICALLY possible to lose with this hand 100 million times in a row, the what if of this happening has no significance and is just a useless what if scenario.
It is not a "useless what if scenerio". I am talking about actual data from real simulations, not theoretical probability.

Saying a given hand is a 2:1 favorite IS a theoretical probability. A simulation will rarely (if ever) show an exact 2:1 win rate.

Quote:
You have chosen to focus on the unlikely but possible outcomes rather than focusing on the probable and likely outcomes.
I guess this is my nature. When going into a situation, especially involving money, I need to know what I'm getting into. Considering the worst possible scenario should always be a concern IMHO. That is a big part of the risk/reward factor. If we didn't consider the worst case scenario when making choices I have a feeling the world would be a very different place. If I want to steal a car I better consider the consequences. Assuming I'm a good car thief, I think I have a good chance at getting away with stealing a car. I better be ready to face the consequences though, no matter how remote.

The very foundation of laws governing us is "worst case scenario". People are hesitant to commit murder because of the outcome.

A lot can be said about context here. Playing casual poker with money one can afford to lose because of the entertainment value is one thing. I'm talking about something completely different - a belief that playing long enough will cause the theoretical probabilities to "allign". What I'm saying is that I don't know that we can ever approach those theoretical probabilities and thus luck is the overwhelming factor in poker that nobody can ever overcome in a lifetime.
 
Old
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Mon Dec 23, 2002, 03:42 PM
(#18)
Deleted user
Glenn,

'variance' in a statistical sense, not in the BR sense.

Quote:
Well, if you've run millions of such simulations, then the AA might get slaugtered in this way once in a while. But, given that AA is about 3-1 on (I forget the exact odds) against the best possible anti-AA hand (65s as I recall), wouldn't getting beaten 38 straight times be astromonical odds against? You can't base a playing philosophy on this, or the casinos would start worrying whether they can make money from roulette
Good point here. Yes, there are long odds against such a thing happening, but it will happen.

I think the big difference between the casino and me is that during a ten year period the number of poker hands I am able to play is insignificant compared to how many bets will be placed at their roulette tables.

In other words, they ARE able to approach the theoretical probabilities their game is offering them. As a poker player, I don't think I can ever begin to approach the theoretical probabilities I've learned to pattern my game after.

If a casino opened it's doors, let someone bet $100 on 7 and it hit, then the casino closed that same day they would obviously be net losers in roulette.

The reality is the "long term" for the casino happens at a radically faster pace than it does for a poker player.

Imagine 100,000 poker players playing flawless "theoretical" poker on the same bankroll. Now we're talking about possibly hitting theoretical long term for that particular bankroll.

From the numbers I've been analyzing, a "winning streak" or "losing streak" could potentially last hundreds of years. If I go to my grave as a net winner in the game of poker it really doesn't say much about my ability... it's probable that I was on an eighty year lucky streak and skill had very little to do with the cumulative outcome.
 
Old
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Mon Dec 23, 2002, 05:24 PM
(#19)
Deleted user
I like ice cream.
 
Old
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Mon Dec 23, 2002, 06:37 PM
(#20)
Deleted user
Minpin, my advice to you would have to be that you only ever play Limit Poker. If you follow my advice your statistics will be very valuable.

When it comes to big bet tournament poker you are barking up the wrong tree. There are certain types of people that do very well in Big Bet poker games. They are NOT the mathemeticians. Those are the guys grinding out a living in the limit games.


Quote:
I would tend to agree that for "bad" players, the long term catches up much more quickly than for so-called "good" players.
hmmm

Mark
 

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