Saturday, August 09, 2014

The math of monster stacks

Jonathan Little has an excellent blog post, in which he dissects the nutty idea that so many amateurs apparently got this year that the new "Monster Stacks" event at the WSOP was a better value to enter than events with the same entry fee but shorter stacks. Little shows why this is exactly the opposite of the truth; in fact, the pros' edge over the amateurs increases with bigger starting stacks.

There's an old saying among trial lawyers: "If the law is on your side, pound on the law; if the facts are on your side, pound on the facts; if neither is on your side, pound on the table."

In poker, there's a tension between the skill factor and the luck factor. If you're at a skill disadvantage, you want to increase the relative role of luck in a tournament. You do that with smaller starting stacks, with faster blind structures, with more aggressive all-in betting (as opposed to the pros' preferred "small ball" approach), with taking more coin flips, and so on. If you have a skill edge, you want the exact opposite on all of those variables.

Of course, it's possible that the mistake the enormous field of amateurs made in selecting Monster Stacks over more conventional tournaments was not in having a misunderstanding of the effects of stack size on the skill/luck dimension, but a misapprehension of where their skill lay with respect to the whole field. It is a truism that most poker players think they are much better than average, and the great majority of them are simply wrong in that assessment.

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Living in Las Vegas

This article about living in Las Vegas is almost entirely true:

It kind of glosses over some points, but still.

It also fails to mention one of the nicest things about living there: friends and family travel to see YOU, you don't have to travel to see them. Almost everybody, sooner or later, has some reason to go to Vegas, and you get to see them with little or no effort. (Of course, the other side of that coin is playing tour guide a few times a year, but it's worth it.)

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

PokerNews article #25

On tipping:

I am exceptionally flattered that Andrew Brokos, of Thinking Poker, read the article and tweeted, "Best I've read on a controversial subject."

Monday, August 04, 2014

Go to jail. Go directly to jail. Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200.

That's what a court in Germany said (well, approximately) to one player who had repeatedly cheated at poker, and was brought up on charges of criminal fraud.

(This was a couple of weeks ago, but I missed the story until now.)

Maybe it has happened before, but I can't think of another time that a player has gone to prison for cheating at poker. I wish it would happen more. The prison thing, not the cheating thing.