Friday, August 31, 2007

Math and Hoy

Day 7 is in progress, I'll finish it up tonight.

Math, not MATH, despite Hoy's involvement.

I will make the assumption that anybody who cares about poker that reads my little speck of the Internet is already reading Hoy's blog, and is therefore already following the posts regarding Bayes' Theorem. So there is absolutely no need for me to repost anything from them here, including my rather lengthy comments attempting to show Bayes' theorem applied to the Monty Hall problem. Go look at them there.

What I do want to comment on is that I think this series of posts and the discussion they've caused is fantastic. It goes without saying that most of the bloggers know about those pesky things like "outs" and "M" and "EV" and "pot odds" (am I the only one picturing Chris Farley here?), but more advanced statstical math is often ignored. I fall in that camp as well. I can DO the math, but I set knew standards for laziness.

The other problem is that people fall into ruts. I've mentioned this before. It makes things predictable.

I was surprised by the number of people who hadn't heard of the Monty Hall problem before, but then again, it falls into the realm of trivalities that I find fascinating. What it DOES do is force people to start thinking differently. With luck, some of us will start looking at ways of applying this to our games. It CAN become second nature. Poker isn't a game of precision mathematics, you just need to "get" it and estimate and apply to help you with decisions.

The false positives vs low rate in population question was also good, but the math became very easy to follow and easily explained intuitively once hard numbers were used.

I won't post my thoughts on where Hoy's going with this, because this is his show, and he can reveal the ending at a time of his choosing. But I will repeat what I said in the comments:

Think, "Where in poker would I find a situation where I knew the odds, and then received additional information that I could apply back to my original choices and help me make my next decision?"

Yes, it's a very general answer.


In a similar vein is Blinders' post about satellites being -EV and a waste of time. Go read it if you haven't already. I see his point, but disagree with it. He's right that a solid way of moving up in levels is to dominate at one level, then move up and repeat. You gauge your skill more easily this way, and improve your chances of success.

Here's the thing though. I like satellites. I especially like them because they're often easy. I especially love the $2 and $3 rebuys for the Fifty-Fifty, mostly because I've won my seat in probably 80% of the ones I've played, with almost minimal investment. The $8 level 1 peeps and the token frenzies are also great.

Why? Because I'm better than most of the players in them.

I'm not going to claim I'm about to go pro or anything. I know I generally suck at poker. But I also know I'm better than the competition at these levels.

I think Blinders missed that aspect. If you're a decent player who CAN be +EV in the bigger games, then why not satellite your way in? I'll continue to use the 50-50 (although the $55 entry is far from prohibitive) as an example. Your options to get in are: $2 rebuy, $3 rebuy, $7 SnG, $14 freezeout, 1200 point freezeout, and maybe a few other options in the same price range. I generally spend $4-$8 in the $2, or $6-$12 in the $3. So I can lose 6-13 $2 or 4-9 $3 tourneys before I've already paid for the 50. I haven't won a 50, or hit the big cash, but I HAVE cashed more than I haven't, so I'm +EV on this system, and would have to hit a terrible run to change that.

I agree that if all you can win is an $8 tournament, then there's no point in using that to get into bigger money games. If, however, you can consistently cash in a bigger game, then why not use your skills to dominate the lower levels to maximize your profit? When you start consistently getting the big cashes, then you can stop with the satellites because the difference in buy-ins becomes relatively minor.


Regardless, I think both Hoy's recent posts and Blinders' have been great for fostering discussion and forcing people to start thinking again. Every once in a while, we need a kick in ass to jumpstart things.

1 comment:

Julius_Goat said...

Though it's totally douche-y to comment simply to point out typos, I have to love the irony of:

"I can DO the math, but I set knew standards for laziness."

Heh, laziness including proofing. Beeeee-auty.

Anyway, agreed that these posts are fascinating. Hopefully I myself won't be too lazy to write up a bit on the topics myself.