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Math Help - Major poker tournament demonstrates lack of basic math skills

  1. #1
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    Major poker tournament demonstrates lack of basic math skills

    At the final table of this year's World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event final table the following hand took place.

    Steven Begleiter: 24.9 million chips
    Darvin Moon: > 24.9 million chips

    Pre-flop almost 8 million chips get into the pot and two players remain. On the flop Moon checks and Begleiter bets 5 million. Moon raises to 15 million and Begleiter goes all in for 21 million total. Moon folds!

    (3.9 million * 2 players preflop) + 5 million initial flop bet + 15 million raise + (21 million total left- 5 initial bet= 16 million) = 43.8 million. The pot was actually a little larger because of antes but the next point still remains.

    Moon had to call 6 million to win 43.8 million total, giving him better than 7 to 1 odds! on the total pot, over 8:1 on the total pot with the call in. You don't have to know anything about poker to know that you cannot make the 15 million chip raise the Moon did if you can't call 6 million more on top of it. This fold is considered one of the worst folds in poker tournament history both in terms of strategy and pot odds ever.

    Some how though, Moon has made it down to the final two players and has a possibility of winning the entire tournament. Shows the luck in poker.
    Last edited by Jameson; November 9th 2009 at 03:01 PM. Reason: making easier to follow
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  2. #2
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    Holy moly the flop was 4s, 3s, 2d and Moon had 5s, 6s... Flush on and had a straight. WTF?!? Odds to win = pretty immense... Apparently it was part of his strategy though...
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Deadstar View Post
    Holy moly the flop was 4s, 3s, 2d and Moon had 5s, 6s... Flush on and had a straight. WTF?!? Odds to win = pretty immense... Apparently it was part of his strategy though...
    Haha, I can't tell if you're joking or not. You seem to have read a blog post about this that I saw before, which is a joke. He obviously would not fold the best possible hand with the flush draw on top of that. Moon has not played well in the eyes of the poker community and will continue to receive criticism for it.

    I personally hope he wins. When an everyday guy wins something like this, it makes a lot of people think they can do it too. Then they go online and dump all their money to the good players.
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  4. #4
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    not that Moon could have possibly put him dead on the hand, or calculate his odds of winning, but after the flop he was actually only 7% to win... not sure what he was to tie, but if you were superman and could see the other guy's cards, his odds of winning actually were not good enough to call, as he would've needed an 11% chance of winning the hand
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    Quote Originally Posted by artvandalay11 View Post
    not that Moon could have possibly put him dead on the hand, or calculate his odds of winning, but after the flop he was actually only 7% to win... not sure what he was to tie, but if you were superman and could see the other guy's cards, his odds of winning actually were not good enough to call, as he would've needed an 11% chance of winning the hand
    I didn't watch the ESPN show where you could see the hole cards, so thanks for posting this. Then his play comes down to just horrible strategy, where it's obvious that the bluff isn't profitable if you are going to fold to an all in. A raise to inbetween 10 to 15 would have gotten the same fold for less chips. Any pro player would have snap called the all in with any hand I assure you.
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    and I completely agree, I just think it is interesting that if Clark Kent tried that bluff and failed, he would have mathematically folded at that point (of course he'd also look through the deck and know for certain what would happen, but I digress)
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    Moon winning would have been better for the game. I don't know if you were playing online immediately after Moneymaker won the main event but...damn, those were the good old days.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by theodds View Post
    Moon winning would have been better for the game. I don't know if you were playing online immediately after Moneymaker won the main event but...damn, those were the good old days.
    I agree completely. A good poker pro won the event instead which doesn't inspire the random country bumkin to put his Friday pay check online at gamble.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jameson View Post
    At the final table of this year's World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event final table the following hand took place.

    Steven Begleiter: 24.9 million chips
    Darvin Moon: > 24.9 million chips

    Pre-flop almost 8 million chips get into the pot and two players remain. On the flop Moon checks and Begleiter bets 5 million. Moon raises to 15 million and Begleiter goes all in for 21 million total. Moon folds!

    (3.9 million * 2 players preflop) + 5 million initial flop bet + 15 million raise + (21 million total left- 5 initial bet= 16 million) = 43.8 million. The pot was actually a little larger because of antes but the next point still remains.

    Moon had to call 6 million to win 43.8 million total, giving him better than 7 to 1 odds! on the total pot, over 8:1 on the total pot with the call in. You don't have to know anything about poker to know that you cannot make the 15 million chip raise the Moon did if you can't call 6 million more on top of it. This fold is considered one of the worst folds in poker tournament history both in terms of strategy and pot odds ever.

    Some how though, Moon has made it down to the final two players and has a possibility of winning the entire tournament. Shows the luck in poker.

    You will never hear it but gut feelings are a big part of poker. He may have been willing to go all in at the time of his bluff raise and simply had a change in gut feeling. If you watch the pros thruout a tournament you will see them shy away from the math and go with the gut. I dont think you could be among the best if you dont have a good gut. Doyle Brunson speaks of a flat out psychic abilty in one of his books. Obviosuly you cannot quantify this but the best of the best have proven that there is a mechanism outside of the math to win in these things. In short you dont play every hand in math alone. He may have just gotten a hunch that he was about to lose at the point that the all in got shoved.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MumuTrader View Post
    You will never hear it but gut feelings are a big part of poker. He may have been willing to go all in at the time of his bluff raise and simply had a change in gut feeling. If you watch the pros thruout a tournament you will see them shy away from the math and go with the gut. I dont think you could be among the best if you dont have a good gut. Doyle Brunson speaks of a flat out psychic abilty in one of his books. Obviosuly you cannot quantify this but the best of the best have proven that there is a mechanism outside of the math to win in these things. In short you dont play every hand in math alone. He may have just gotten a hunch that he was about to lose at the point that the all in got shoved.
    As it happens the maths shows that this is the opposite of the case. If you can do the calculations any departure by opponents from the game theoretic solution/s can be exploited for gain.

    Now I doubt anyone at the table can do the required calculations (they are not what you might think anyway) and I'm not sure that they have even been done in a model but that is just an academic quibble.

    What you describe a gut feelings is evolutions solution to the decision under uncertainty problem for when there are too many factors to make an objective decision. It is not generally optimal but can be effective in the situations it evolved to handle.

    CB
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainBlack View Post
    As it happens the maths shows that this is the opposite of the case. If you can do the calculations any departure by opponents from the game theoretic solution/s can be exploited for gain.



    Now I doubt anyone at the table can do the required calculations (they are not what you might think anyway) and I'm not sure that they have even been done in a model but that is just an academic quibble.



    What you describe a gut feelings is evolutions solution to the decision under uncertainty problem for when there are too many factors to make an objective decision. It is not generally optimal but can be effective in the situations it evolved to handle.



    CB
    Maybe in online poker where people play up to 20 tables at once, id be willing to say something like "I agree with you 100%. But if you watch the high celebrity professionals agaisnt each other, you will see straying from poker basics VERY frequently.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MumuTrader View Post
    You will never hear it but gut feelings are a big part of poker. He may have been willing to go all in at the time of his bluff raise and simply had a change in gut feeling. If you watch the pros thruout a tournament you will see them shy away from the math and go with the gut. I dont think you could be among the best if you dont have a good gut. Doyle Brunson speaks of a flat out psychic abilty in one of his books. Obviosuly you cannot quantify this but the best of the best have proven that there is a mechanism outside of the math to win in these things. In short you dont play every hand in math alone. He may have just gotten a hunch that he was about to lose at the point that the all in got shoved.
    You shouldn't defend Moon's play. He is, by his own admission, awful and his play was a running joke all throughout the last few tables all the way up to the end. It's true that it takes a tremendous amount of instinct to be able to play the game at the elite level, particularly in aspects of the game where the maths required to determine the efficacy of a play is rooted in assumptions about things that are next to impossible to quantify to begin with, and would be virtually impossible to do even if you could. But all the pros that I know personally have a high level of mathematical understanding of the game, including those that also have all the intangibles.

    There are situations where the mathematics become so simple that anything other than a single play is an absolute blunder. For extreme cases of this, see Sit-and-Go (which you can find Nash Equilibrium charts for, though there is still some room for maneuvering if you think your opponent isn't thinking as deeply as you are) or Satellite endgame strategy (where it can potentially be correct to fold AA preflop in Holdem).
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by MumuTrader View Post
    Maybe in online poker where people play up to 20 tables at once, id be willing to say something like "I agree with you 100%. But if you watch the high celebrity professionals agaisnt each other, you will see straying from poker basics VERY frequently.
    Maybe you should learn to read before straying into other fields.

    CB
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainBlack View Post
    Maybe you should learn to read before straying into other fields.

    CB

    Well you left a very unclear picture of what you meant so maybe you should learn to write?

    "It is not generally optimal but can be effective in the situations it evolved to handle."

    Are you talking about picking tomatos at the super market or the final table of WSOP? The reader may never know.
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by MumuTrader View Post
    Well you left a very unclear picture of what you meant so maybe you should learn to write?

    "It is not generally optimal but can be effective in the situations it evolved to handle."

    Are you talking about picking tomatos at the super market or the final table of WSOP? The reader may never know.
    Maybe it refers to what immediately precedes it.

    CB
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