Omnibus Nonsense

Nonsense Debunked

August 13, 2007

On the way back from Vegas last Thursday I grabbed a copy of the Poker Player newspaper as airline reading. Much to my horror, it contained numerous obvious pieces of nonsense, as if the editors had gone out of their way to collect bottom rung poker writing.

Yeah, That’s Gotta Be Worse…

Stanley Sludikoff checks in with what is aparently the first in a long series of criticisms of the 2007 world series. While there were many things Harrah’s could have improved upon, the one he chose to lead with is laughable. Get this: the primary sponsor of the WSOP was Miller Brewing Company. Sludikoff claims this can’t stand, because Miller once gave $30k to a group that supports illegal immigrants. Now, I am all in favor of enforcing immigration laws. I think Miller’s in the wrong here. But it has nothing to do with the WSOP. And Miller is exactly the kind of sponsor the game needs to encourage the public to view it as a legitimate pastime and not a borderline criminal enterprise. Lest we forget, we’re only 2 decades removed from having a convicted multiple murderer and federal felon as the defacto sponsor of the WSOP. Certainly Miller is a step up.

If You Can’t Beat ‘Em…

Mike Caro correctly points out that wearing sunglasses is an advantage in live poker play. However, he gets it wrong when he claims it’s an UNFAIR advantage. In fact it’s perfectly fair – sunglasses vendors are the epitome of equal opportunity. Furthermore, it’s ridiculous to claim that poker was “meant” to be played with eyes uncovered. As long as astute players have watched their opponents’ eyes, Stetson has offered a solution. Appropriate eye cover has always been one of the advantages thinking players claim over their rivals. I suggest Mike buy some shades and get back to a more interesting topic.

Was that 25.6% or 25.7%???

Sam Mudaro’s “Omaha Guru” column strikes me as a crowning example of everything that is wrong with the application of mathematics, computers, and simulations to poker. This one is no better or worse than his other columns, but as long as I’m exposing nonsense in Poker Player, he has to take his lumps. The tables of win % numbers he presents are, well, nonsense for several reasons.

  1. The underlying assumptions and methodology aren’t clear. Supposedly he’s not just doing hot and cold to the river win% simulations, but what exactly he IS doing with Turbo Omaha H/L isn’t clear. Reporting the results of an experiment without clearly explaining what you did in the experiment and why is bad science.
  2. The goal of poker isn’t winning pots. It’s winning money. What matters is not how many hands A26Tr wins, but how much money you can expect to win every time you play it. To be fair, I think Mudaro’s trying to explain that, but his wording is so muddled I can’t follow.
  3. He doesn’t give the player anything to take away. For example, he claims that you win with A26Tr goes down substantially when you flop a 2. That’s counterintuitive. I want to know why. Is your opponents’ backup low on average better than a 6? Are opponents bringing more A3xx hands than you’d think even in the face of a raise? Without knowing WHY A26J is losing the low when a 2 flops, it’s hard for a player to make any kind of rational decision, or to apply the information.
  4. The level of accuracy being claimed is absurd. Fractional % points on the win number? Give me a break. No one’s memorizing this or making play decisions off of it. That extra digit after the decimal point is an ego thing, and probably isn’t stable in the face of even tiny changes in assumptions anyways.

In other words, this is an example of how NOT to do poker math. I’ll explain how it should be done in a future column.

One Legged Albino She-Midget World Championship

Jan Fischer has this gem: apparently she was criticized by some of her fellow entrants in a women’s only tournament for being too skilled after she won it. Fischer defends her entrance into the tournament, of course. Now, I don’t really care what goes on in women-only tournaments, but I do have one thought. The format is designed specifically to shelter women players form the more skilled body of male players. Fischer shouldn’t be surprised that her opponents want her out of the tournament – it’s the same spirit that created the women-only tournament format in the first place. If women-only tournaments are right, then even more restrictive formats with even weaker fields are simply an extension of the same line of thought. If Fischer really wants to turn this nonsense thinking on its ear, she should adopt the policy of the top tier women players, and play open events.

Anyways, I’m sure that there’s more nonsense to be found in this issue of Poker Player, but my flight was blessedly quick and I have other things to read.

Like this article? Subscribe to the CardSharp RSS Feed

Comments are closed.