Wednesday, May 26, 2010


Futile Attempts To Impose Order On Variance

The weekend went pretty well, ran up about $18k of buyins for a smallish profit. A lot of things about putting this grind in were quite surprising ; I'll probably comment in more detail once I've done it for a bit longer. So far I've felt fine when playing, just a bit spaced out the rest of the time. Even with this volume, 80 tournaments in one weekend doesn't mean a damn thing in terms of results or ROI. It's kind of funny when people say "I'm going to 3-bet a bit more aggressively and see how that goes", and we all say things like that, when any differential effect would be like a ripple in a tsunami.

More to the point right now is that I'm following up my idea to try to track some players in the WSOP. Now that a) so many players are on Twitter and/or blogging and so on and b) there are no rebuy tournaments, it's a lot easier to track how much money people have spent, which is of course a completely necessary half of the equation. The other important thing to do is pre-select your players. This isn't just to pick out "the best players" like in a Fantasy League, and I stress at this point that the lists below are not meant to be the best players, just quick top-of-the-head lists of people who are likely play a lot of events and be featured in news updates. The idea of the pre-selection is to cut out all of the bias that arises after the fact. "Year of the Pros" and all that bollocks. So, stressing once again that these aren't "best of" lists and so I don't give a flying fuck if your heroes (or even you) aren't in them :)

TV Pros : Benyamine, Bloch, Corkins, Cunningham, Ferguson, Greenstein, Hachem, Hansen, Hellmuth, Ivey, Lederer, Liebert, Lindgren, Matusow, Mortensen, Negreanu, Men Nyugen, Scotty Nguyen, Raymer, David Williams

Euro Pros : Akenhead, Bansi, Black, Channing, De Wolfe, Dempsey, Duthie, Eastgate, Grospellier, Jorgensen, JP Kelly, Kravchenko, Luske, Mahrenholz, Minieri, Moorman, Obrestad, Pescatori, Marty Smyth, Ulliott

2+2 + co : Aaron Gustavson, Andrew Lichtenberger, Christian Harder, Clayton Newman, Cliff Josephy, Eric Baldwin, Gavin Griffin, Jason Mercier, Jason Potter, Jeff Williams, Jon Aguiar, Justin Bonomo, Mike Watson, Phil Galfond, Randall Flowers, Shannon Shorr, Steve Gross, Steve O'Dwyer, Terrence Chan, Thayer Rasmusson.

Also I don't care if Annette is a TV pro or Jason Mercier doesn't post on 2+2 that's not the point. Stop being a nerd. The only point is that I have pre-selected the players, however arbitrarily, and we observe how they perform, thus eliminating survivor bias. Join in ! Make your own futile predictions :). I predict that group 2+2 wins, group TV Pro wins small/breaks even, group Euro Pro loses. But that's probably my own bias at work !

Update : Just for fun, check out this list of cognitive biases and think about how many of them show up in poker reporting. My estimate would be an absolute shedload :)

Futile prediction:

The Europros group looks stronger (at modern, tournament poker) than the TV Pros group. Set against that, the TV group will have home comforts in Vegas which might make some subtle difference. And a deep run in the Main Event could happen to any of them and completely skew the results, which makes futile predictions for the whole series even more futile.
Fair enough, main event doesn't count, but mostly because it doesn't finish till November. Any one event can skew the results. That's the whole point. I mean I'm perfectly happy to accept that the above is futile, as long as people realise that showering praise on people after the event is EQUALLY FUTILE AND PROBABLY MORE SO.

I mean if <2010 Player Of The Year> is as fucking amazing as you [the poker media] are going to tell me he is, shouldn't you be able to point him out to me right now ?

would probably be a good exercise to drum up the last couple of years with these guys to compare to. (I ain't doin' it - looks like a buttload of work to me)

Team TV Pro might have an edge just due to volume.

Don't most of these guys make their real $$ in the side games anyway? (well, besides Hellmuth - his cash cow is the sponsorships). Seems it would make the tourney buyins a wash, and only worth doing for the face time to keep the fish near you.
I remember last year (or year before) on 2+2 there was a lot of "Ha, look at the internet superstars tanking in the real world" vs. "Do you live pros know nothing about variance?" when 2+2 posted collectively below-expectation results. But, to quote William Goldman, "Nobody knows anything".

That said: 1) 2+2 2)Euros 3)TV.

This is betting without Ivey, obviously.

Fair point above about Vegas Pros being at home. I mean, I know it's not football but if we were in some bizarro world and the WSOP was in Watford then wouldn't you feel more of an edge going home every night than being in a hotel/rental?
BLAAARGH - any reference to the last year or two simply runs into the same problem of selection bias ; we're more likely to pick players who have done well during that time. And volume shouldn't be a factor ; it will all be net of buyins, and apparently all entries are going to be listed on the WSOP site which should help with that.

Anon - I thought about betting without Ivey but he isn't a superhuman and, even though he almost certainly is the best player, I think he has run over expectation in recent WSOPs. Will be interesting to see.

And yes, I do think "home advantage" is very significant.

2+2 will take it easy!
I'm thinking Terrence Chan and Shannon Shorr will both perform v well....
ye 2+2 safe prediction i reckon- steve gross is a strong fave of mine to perform strongly.
I was just following Pokernews and it said something like, a lot of Pros have been knocked can you tell??? In this world, where more is gambled, won and lost online, what the hell does Pro in that media-gay sense mean! (End of rant.) Tg I dont still do writing...definatly another gom article in that. I still think u should go Andy, just to see if you can catch some lightning :)


Good to hear from you Dave, would love to read more of your blogs !

Anyway, I was kind of thinking that, you read these reports on a $1K tournament that lasts five days when people like Mickey Petersen (mement_mori, sick Euro grinder), who isn't even 21 yet, put $5K in play every night and $10K on Sundays.

I am seriously thinking about giving it a real go next year. Getting some mixed game coaching (coach me Omaha 8 Dave ??) and having a go at the various $10Ks.

Interesting post and really awesome thread of comments following on. I agree with Blaargh! that the way the media cover it means that a lot of people forget how much cash is made in the side games. Obviously there's an element of jealousy insofar as I know that I'll never make it to the WSOP myself!
Good start for the Euro pool. 3 Brits in the 5k 6-max shootout too. Must be all that LNP we used to watch. Oh, wait...
My prediction: Twitter traffic will be down as people dig themselves into a hole.

Who is coaching you for 8game?

Once this WSOP is over I may approach a couple of American guys, one of whom told me last year he could coach me for that.

I'm playing a lot of 8 game on Stars so if u want me to sanity check any names, just let me know.


What do you do with Tom Dwan after his 2nd in that donkament? Clearly he is chasing hard for a bracelet now. I didn't see him on any list, would he be 2+2 or TV? I'd go 2+2 but I guess its too late for this year anyway.
Yes, it is too late. If I had known he was going to play so many events (he might end up playing more than everyone else) I'd have put him in somewhere, but of course now we have to stick to the rules, preselected players only.

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