Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Fair Ball

I went for a run in the rain tonight. I looped around part of the Makiki neighborhood -- up the hill toward Punchbowl Cemetery, down Prospect and Winder, toward the freeway on Pensacola and then back up the Ward Street artery.

I got this picture in my head of the rain drops representing millions of cards falling from the sky. With that many cards, any number of combinations is possible -- uncountable bad beats, pocket Aces, ugly boards and multiple outs.

I won't take the analogy too far, but what I'm getting at is that over time, with so many hands dealt and so many possible combinations, even the unlikeliest of circumstances will occur. But over the long run, everything comes out relatively even -- you'll get pocket Aces once every 220 hands, you'll hit a set off a pocket pair on the flop roughly one in eight times, you'll hit your flush on the river one in five times.

In its essence, poker is fair.

Of course, outside influences can alter the fundamental equality of poker. The rake causes a constant drag on player revenues, colluders try to get an uneven edge, random number generators used to distribute cards may not be as accurate as they should be.

These are all legitimate concerns.

And while it's important to be aware of them, worrying about them isn't going to solve any of your problems.

Finding patterns when they don't exist will lead to tilt. Rationalizing that you're due for a win induces misguided plays. Paranoia that a site is rigged encourages fatalism. Belief in poker gods distracts from faith in statistics. Results-oriented thinking detracts from making the best play for the right reasons.

There's no way to force poker to do what you want it to do. The only way to play is to do your best. When that isn't good enough, it's time to study your game harder.

It isn't going to stop raining any time soon.


Victor_Enriq said...

"If the rain comes they run and hide their heads.
They might as well be dead.
If the rain comes, if the rain comes."
"Rain, I dont mind"

Rain- The Beatles

Thought it was appropiate. (rigged... only videopoker!)

kurokitty said...

What happens if you get too drenched to continue? What happens if you believe that cats are kitty R2 units who help you in poker?

cc said...

I was actually thinking of a new type of online/computer tourney: everyone plays the exact identical cards in the exact same simulator (say 1,000 hands) and you see who wins. I'm not sure what it has to with your post, but it popped into my mind again.

deliverator said...

Is it raining men? All I know is that it is raining kitten this Tuesday at my APT.