Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Crimes Against Poker

Vacate the bracelets. You bet your ass I just went there.

Pete Rose is never going to go into Cooperstown for less.
USC Football is going to lose a BCS title for less.
Michigan Basketball and the Fab 5 have lost an entire season's wins for less.

The examples go on and on of individuals and institutions breaking the rules to gain a competitive advantage. Lederer, Ferguson, Furst, and Bitar's shenanigans, though, blow away just about every booster, point shaving, and cheating scandal combined. In my opinion they have committed treason against the industry and should receive the poker version of the NCAA death penalty.

If Caesar's Entertainment has the least shred of credibility and caring about the WSOP brand, they will strip these 4 of all bracelets they have won over their careers and ban them from ever competing under the WSOP banner again.

Maybe once every dollar is paid back to the players (fat chance), I may reconsider my position. Most likely not.

And there go another 5 minutes of your life you're not getting back...

Saturday, August 27, 2011

FFL 2011 - Draft Results

After a one year hiatus, we pulled the majority of the guys back for the 2011 version of our fantasy football league. It's a 10 team standard scoring league starting 1 QB, 2 RB, 2 WR, 1 TE, 1DST, and 1 K. I pulled the 4 spot and prepped for all of 5 minutes prior to the start.

The results:
1.04 Ray Rice, Bal RB
2.07 Hakeem Nicks, NYG WR
3.04 Matt Forte, Chi RB
4.07 Mike Williams, TB WR
5.04 Dallas Clark, Ind TE
6.07 Matt Ryan, Atl QB
7.04 Brandon Marshall, Mia WR
8.07 Marshawn Lynch, Sea RB
9.04 Greg Olsen, Car TE
10.07 Joe Flacco, Bal QB
11.04 Lance Moore, NO WR
12.07 LaDainian Tomlinson, NYJ RB
13.04 Falcons D/ST D/ST
14.07 Garrett Hartley, NO K

Nothing spectacular, but I don't think I have any glaring holes at the main positions either. Comments?

And there go another 5 minutes of your life you're not getting back...

Monday, July 18, 2011

Women's Performance in 2011 WSOP Main Event - A Deeper Dive

Poker Grump brought up an extremely interesting topic over the weekend (at least to me) where he attempted to analyze, from a statistical standpoint, whether the number of female cashers in this year's main event could be considered within the sample variance of a formal sampling test. Or whether, without any causality offered (smartly), some factor or factors contributed to their cash rate being significantly lower than their male counterparts.

Let me be clear up front. I am IN NO WAY bashing female poker players or women in general. I am looking at this solely because I find it intriguing from a math perspective and PG brought it up.

At first read, my hunch (and comment on the post) was that, statistically speaking, the sample size was sufficient to reject the null hypothesis, that the cash rate of the female players in this year's ME was within acceptable tolerance of variance from the expected value of the statistic. Upon further thought and investigation, I decided that underlying distribution used in his analysis (the binomial) was inappropriate for the question at hand (although directionally informative) and wanted to try to take the question further.

At it's root, the binomial distribution models performing some kind of experiment N times where the probability of a successful trial is p. It comes with several assumptions, however, where a few of the important ones include independence of outcome between experiments and a constant potential success rate. Essentially, it is the same as sampling with replacement from a population of size N where a success will occur with rate p.

The original analysis was done from the women's perspective, i.e. what percent of the time, if cash rates are truly the same, would there be 13 or fewer female cashers out of the 242 entrants (5.4% "sampled") when the expected value is 24 (10.1%). I decided to use the same distribution to perform the test from the men's perspective and found that, using this methodology, over 15% of the time would more men cash than there are places in the money. This clearly indicates a deficiency in the test.

So, what would the appropriate distribution be? The true answer to that question is way above my pay grade, as the odds of success for each individual in the field varies wildly, but if we assume for the sake of argument that each entry in the field has the same chance of cashing, I think that the problem is modeled nicely using the hypergeometric distribution. This distribution is frequently taught in statistics classes using examples such as 'there are a red and b blue marbles in a box; what is the probablity that if we choose c of them, that d of our choices will be red.'

So, in our example, we have 6,623 red marbles and 242 blue marbles and want to know what the distribution of blue marbles would be if we pull 693 samples from the box. Using the hypergeometric, we find that the expected mean is the same as the binomial, 24, and should occur almost 9% of the time. The distribution will return 13 or fewer only 0.562% of the time, which is very close (and even more rare) than the PG's binomial.

This was not meant to be a knock on Grump in any way. I believe he was trying to get a quick and dirty answer (and still pretty accurate), and succeeded. Being who I am, and having a little more than enough statistics knowledge to be dangerous, I attempted to see what a more rigorous approach to the problem would lead to.

What did it lead to?

Blue marbles performed less than red marbles in the 2011 main event.

And there go another 5 minutes of your life you're not getting back...

Monday, May 2, 2011


September 11, 2001 was a day that irreversibly shifted the worldview of just about every American that was old enough to understand what happened. Sitting in my office space almost 10 years later, I find it not just a little difficult to focus on the daily tasks for which I am paid to perform. Since the announcement last night, I have been flooded with decade old feelings and memories.

Fear. Loathing. Helplessness. Anger. And the images. Oh, the images. There weren't that many visuals to broadcast, so we kept seeing the same ones over and over and over again.

Similar to this very morning, I got to the office earlier than usual on that day, before 8:00 AM. Less than an hour later, the 3rd floor was abuzz and had nothing to do with selling mortgages. Eventually, I was able to catch the word hijacked from the other side of the wall and was horrified at what I found on the CNN homepage.

In 2001, there was still very little in the way of live streaming of audio or video via the web. I spent about an hour reading and refreshing my browser. Click. Read. Previous. Refresh. Over and over again. By the time of the Pentagon strike, there was absolutely no way I would be working even one more minute on that day and left.

Inevitably, I tuned the radio in the car to the news station and was greeted with the news of a fourth known jet and reports of several more. The news outlets were blindly reporting every nugget of information they came across, most of which would never be retracted. The cumulative and net effect on me was, however, non-retractable. The damage was done.

I was familiar, academically of course, with terrorism. Hijackings were chiefly hostage taking operations in order to achieve some other goal. Now, after decades of playing for increasingly larger sized pots, the jihadists went all-in. (see what I did there? this used to be a poker blog, after all)

All I wanted to do was be as close to my wife and 11 week old daughter as possible. We laid in bed together, my wife and I in horror at what continued to be reported on tv, our daughter between us, blissfully ignorant of anything other than being near mommy. When she was born, exactly 11 weeks prior, she spent 14 days in the NICU while fighting persistant pulmonary hypertension. During those 2 weeks, I had no doubts that everything would be ok. Just over 2 months later, I knew that nothing would be ok again.

It actually took a week before the nightmares started. I thought I had managed to avoid them but I guess, eventually, my brain needed an outlet to purge the badness that was accumulating in there. Needless to say, I slept quite poorly for about 4 nights in a row. Looking back, some of the dreams were actually fairly comical, though disturbing at the time. In one, a 747 came crashing through my grandparents' house in Northeast Philly. Why that house? I'll never understand my subconscious.

Anyway, what was the point? Here we are 10 years later and I feel like the killing of Osama bin Laden is nothing more than the tying up of one loose end while the whole damn thing is still unraveling. For now, it is a not-so-subtle reminder of what happened on that day and how great our country became in the aftermath. If we can hold on to that for a little while, I will happily accept the painful memories that have returned from exile.

Unfortunately, I think that the mission (brilliantly carried out by our military and intelligence, btw) will be quickly politicized and spun into talking points. For now, we got him, good for us, but there are actually a few (thousand) more important things for us, as Americans, to focus on. Let's see if we can get anything accomplished before the current zeitgeist inevitably wanes.

I won't hold my breath.

And there go another 5 minutes of your life you're not getting back...

Friday, March 11, 2011

Politics As Usual

Political climate in the U.S. is so incredibly tense that it's almost impossible to get the real story on anything. Objective and reasonable doesn't sell papers, ad time, etc. so it's almost impossible to get to the facts to formulate a non-biased opinion.

To that end, I have developed a filter that allows me to immediately discount what I am hearing as agenda driven and to be ignored. The following words and terms will immediately find you on my muted list:

Tea Bagger
Lame Stream Media
Faux News
George Soros
Koch Brothers
"Big" Anything

I'm sure I'm missing a bunch.

And there go another 5 minutes of your life you're not getting back...

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


Online Poker

I have registered to play in the PokerStars World Blogger Championship of Online Poker! The WBCOOP is a free online Poker tournament open to all Bloggers, so register on WBCOOP to play.

Registration code: XXXXXX 834046

And there go another 5 minutes of your life you're not getting back...

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Why Yes - WPBT 2010 in Short Form

Why yes, I did take 2nd in the blogger tournament at Aria over the weekend. (ok, I was in the chop but 2nd in chips)

Why yes, Lagasse's was absolutely unbelievable, eclipsed only by the people I had the privilege of hanging out with.

Why yes, I did get dealt quads in pai gow, with JJ up top no less.

Why yes, I also remembered to bet the fortune bonus.

Why yes, I slept no more than 8 hours total for the 3 nights checked in.

Why yes, it was a blast watching Eagles/Cowboys with fans both friendly and not so toward my team.

Why yes, I do miss everyone already, even the ones who by now have already forgotten me.

Why yes, I'm already counting down to next December.

And there go another 5 minutes of your life you're not getting back...