Monday, July 10, 2006

A little math

Clearly I'm a little disapointed with my performance so far at the WSOP, but how bad was it? Let's look a few exmaples to put it into perspective. Imagine the player who is in the exact middle of the field, let's call him Middleton. Half the players are better than him and half the players are worse in every event he plays. Middleton shoud have exactly a 10% chance of making the money whenever he enters. So if Middleton played 9 events (just like certain other players we know and love) what are the chances of him finishing in the money in ZERO events (the math for 1 money finish is a little more complicated so we'll stick with this). Who said 10%? Nope. 26.57%? Now you're just guessing. The real answer is actually 38%. 38% of the time Middleton would have no money finishes after playing 9 events even though he's better than half of the other players.

Now lets look at a great player. We'll call him captain 20! Captain 20 is better than almost all of the players he plays against and makes the money 20% of the time he enters an event. What are the chances of him going o for 9? Who said 19%? Nope. It's actually 13.5%. Even a great player can still expect to get totally blanked almost 14% of the time he enters 9 events.

Now let's look at a player that makes the money 30% of the time. We'll call him the figment, because guess what he doesn't exsist. There's just too much short term luck and too many other good players for anyone to make the money this frequently. Even if you put Phil Ivey (who many think is the best player in the world) into a mythical $50 tournament (let's assume you agree to give him 100 times what he actually wins so he's interested) where they gave you plenty of time to play (a normal $50 tournamnet would have about 100 players and will usually be over in 4 hours or less) with a bunch of total amatures he still wouldn't make the money more than about a third of the time.

So where do I fit in. When I play tournaments on the internet that pay 10% of the field with buy-ins ranging from $50-$300 (which other than special events is as big as they get online) I've finished in the money about 22% of the time (in 2005 I played 606 tournamnets of this type). At the WSOP I'd put myself some where in betten Middleton and Captain 20, but it's hard to say and I may never really know where I fit in. In order to get any kind of idea statistically I'd have to play AT LEAST 100 events (and probably more like 500 or 1000). The problem with that (along with the insane cost) is after playing 50 events I'll be much better than I was when I started and after another 50 I'd be much better than I was after the first 50. So I really just have to guess where I stand. The real question is "If I played this tournament 10,000 would I have more money than I started with." At the WSOP if the answer is yes then I should play. In smaller tournaments the answer has to be yes and then we have to look at how much. I could go beat the shit out of some $20 players all day every day, but it wouldn't get me much.

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