Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Why am I so unlucky?

The cry of every poker player as they exit a tournament after losing a race or, worse, with the overpair or the dominating hand.

In my admittedly limited experience, there are two classes of poker players:
(1) Players who believe they have average luck: it all balances out
(2) Players who believe they have less than average luck: "I'm so unlucky"

While I accept that given variance at any given time there must be some players "behind" in the overall luck stakes (and the same number approximately who are ahead: this is a zero sum game), I don't think it's quite as many as seem to believe it. I think most "unlucky" players just have a limited field of vision and/or selective memory. They see only the races they lose.

If you are involved in 3 70/30 races which you win, and then you lose an 80/20, yes, you were unlucky in that last one, but overall you were lucky. Just because you're ahead doesn't mean you should win every time. Your overall expectation for those 4 races was 2.9, and you won 3: therefore you were lucky overall. Furthermore, if you were all in all four times, then you were even luckier, because you won them in the correct order. If you'd have lost any of the first 3, you'd have been out of the tournament earlier. And your chances of winning all the first three was less than 35%, you luckbucket.

The other thing is you have to consider that you were probably lucky to be in those races in the first place. Lucky to have AK when an AQ was prepared to go or call an allin, lucky to have Jacks that time yer man had 9's, lucky someone else didn't have Q's etc. etc.

So yeah, I'm still not up to retyping the Masters report I lost in the crash (I'll get to it though) so you'll have to put up with this piece of nonsense instead for now.


you've obviously met Bad Beat Joe...


Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More