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Previous Entry The game is dominated by all-in processes; x(t) >> b(t) Wednesday 18 April 2007 @ 18:06 Next Entry

I only had time to skim this academic letter by Clément Sire entitled Universal Statistical Properties of Poker Tournaments. He primarily argues various types of observed natural phenomena in Physics and Biology evolve the same was as poker tournaments, particularly those where chips are not evenly distributed.

He does seem to make some indication that various “Kill Phil” strategies (i.e., tending to go all-in on the first betting round) have certain advantages in tournaments. However, I feel that he tends to ignore the evolution of hand play and the importance of opponents folding in certain situations. He does argue that individual hand outcomes are not particularly important in tournament play, but I am not particularly swayed by his arguments. I didn't follow every last piece of his math.

BTW, it's worlds colliding for me again: one of my undergraduate professors sent me a link to this academic article formatted in LaTeX (a free software document formatting system) about poker. I wonder how many people in the poker world have enough background knowledge to comment usefully on this article. I am sort of useless in disputing his arguments, since my math modeling and analysis skills have faded so much since my undergraduate days (and I didn't do any in graduate school, really, focusing more on Theory of Computation and other symbolic math).

Oh, and I do like how they call poker tournaments a “futile activity”. I rather like the sound of that. It reminds me that things you do only to make money are ultimately futile, and I think that's how anyone who does not love poker more than most other of life's endeavors will eventually feel about poker.

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From:patty_bush on 19 April 2007 at 03:43
Is LaTeX like Adobe and '.pdf's?
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From:shipitfish on 19 April 2007 at 12:16
LaTeX is a document formatting system. Uber-geeks use it instead of Microsoft Office or OpenOffice. The key difference is rather than using some GUI to highlight text and indicate how it should be format, in LaTeX you effectively program the format of your document. LaTeX, in essence, is a programming language for formatting and typesetting documents.
From:(Anonymous) on 19 April 2007 at 10:37
Subject: Tex and More
On the link you give, the paper can be downloaded in the pdf format.

In addition, the author summarizes the main results of the paper in a non technical notice:

(click on "Read the non technical introductory news article (in English)")

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From:shipitfish on 19 April 2007 at 12:17
Subject: Re: Tex and More
Yes, of course, LaTeX can be converted to PDF, Postscript, etc. However, it's unmistakably formatted in LaTeX. A LaTeX user can tell just by looking at it. :)
From:(Anonymous) on 25 April 2007 at 14:44
Subject: attitude change
I've read your blogs for a couple years now and I am curious - was there some major event in your life that caused your recent attitude change toward poker? Was it the downfall of online poker? Your blogs now seem so negative towards the game - and poker is just a game. I enjoy it myself as much as a game like chess, but poker pays me on top of the entertainment it offers. I actually quit online poker a long time ago after taking numerous unbelievable bad beat after bad beat leading me to believed online poker could in fact be fixed, not to mention I've actually caught numerous people colluding at tables I've played at. I enjoy live play much more for many reasons, tournaments and ring games.
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From:shipitfish on 25 April 2007 at 16:19
Subject: Re: attitude change
It's a complicated situation. One of the biggest factors is that I have a firm moral belief that life activity should always have a positive impact on making the world a better place, and I've come to realize that I was investing a time in a futile activity (as you say, a game), when I could be instead trying to make the world a better place with that time. Poker feels to me like completely wasted time. I'm all for wasting a little bit of time in life, but I think there has to be a limit. Your question has intrigued me, though, and I'll write a more complete post on the subject sometime int he next few months.

Oh, and also, poker became a job for me, and it stopped being fun once it was. I play a few times a month now, and it's just a time-killer when I can't be productive at other things. I like it better as that.
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