Well it’s been awhile. I was going to write a polemic on the stupidity of poker site management and then low and behold, Party Poker finally did something right. Now I won’t trawl over dead news, but thankfully I did predict that this would be good for Party in private mails and I will buck the trend and say “publicly” that this will be a very successful move. 2+2 was interesting during this time. After the “apocalypse now” response, came the “well, they NEED us multitablers so everything will go back to normal” response. Uh huh. Maybe not. Although multi-ers do provide sizeable chunks of rake they also provide the anathema of online poker profitability – better than breakeven play. In fact often downright good play. As my dear friend Chaos has been saying for some time, and now the public nature of Party’s results clearly show, bad players burn fast. Widespread poker ineptitude is the management mantra. Let’s show those 2+2’ers the road!
Some other things that have caught my eye. A new poker magazine in the UK, completely aimed at the mainstream. Crap. So crap I actually put it in the garbage and pulled out my treasured Card Player Europe issues instead. And just today, in desperate search of poker content I found “Poker Player”, which has so many adverts that it makes Card Player look like the Bible in format. And content so bad even Paul Samuels at Poker Pages was shaking his head.
Anyway. The point of this particular missive was that I caught some interesting WPT shows the other night. The amusing Aviation one, where Surinder played like a meditator on valium. If Paris had undergone a thermonuclear attack by Martians, Tony G had revealed himself to be Beyonce and demanded instant sexual gratification, and the legs had fallen off the table, Surinder would have twitched, looked into the horizon and quietly said “call.” The very next show I saw was the Carlos Mortenson win. Incredibly, some great poker seems to have been played AND actually captured too. But in the aftermath I remembered that His Highness of Rightness, Paul Philips had commented on this show, so I dutifully looked it up. Putting aside his typical, easily denied if necessary, vague assertion of collusion, he was pretty damning about the amateur calling allin on Carlos with TT when David Pham basically had not even a blind left. There was $250,000 difference between 3rd and 2nd. Anyway, pretty sharpish the maths weenies came out of the woodwork and quite rightly showed that this wasn’t a bad call after all, and mathematically it was probably correct. So PP made a full and gracious retraction and apology and that was that. Heh :)
But something stuck in my craw here. It does STILL seem bad, doesn’t it? Regardless of the maths it just does not feel right. And this is the important, if there is one, idea today. There is maths and there is maths. And a little learning is dangerous thing. After those madcap world-ending guys finished inventing Game Theory, one of the problems they quickly faced was that their original view provided for a linear progression of outcomes. In plain speech, something with twice the value should be twice as important or give twice the satisfaction. But the real world doesn’t work that way. One million dollars is often much more than 10x one hundred thousand dollars in terms of value and impact. And being five times dead doesn't necessarily feel much worse than just once dead. (The term mathematician’s use for this is Utility, btw.)
And this was the choice facing our amateur friend. On the one hand was $250K, not insignificant by any measure, on the other $500k. For a student, and we were led to believe not a wealthy one, the opportunity deriving from the second figure is potentially massive. If you factored in utility into the equations, then the seemingly ok call was very, very bad indeed. And it also shows that sometimes you have to trust your gut over supposed “maths.”