Live tournament players and long-term luck

MichaelBMichaelB Red Chipper Posts: 211 ✭✭✭
Given the nature of poker tournaments, the turn of a single card can mean the difference between a knockout and a six-figure payday, and considering that you only see a maximum of about 300 hands a day in a tournament, the number of actual hands required to set you on either the path to glory or obscurity are alarmingly few.

In my mind, given the numbers, is it possible that the most skilled live tournament player in the world could spend an entire 'career' never cracking the big time, while some of the biggest names in the game might more accurately be described as the beneficiaries of a 'long-term' lucky streak?

I mean, how often do we hear that you need tens of thousands of hands to see past short-term variance? Realistically, how many hands will a live tournament player see over 5 years? 10? More?


  • TheGameKatTheGameKat Posts: 2,027 -
    The way I tend to phrase this is that it's unlikely the results of a live-only tournament player ever converge to their intrinsic ROI. Now as a former statistician there are so many caveats and qualifiers to this that I'm slightly embarrassed to even present it here, but it's a start.

    In the context of your specific question, it depends sensitively on what you mean by "never cracking the big time." And even if we define that carefully, it's still dependent on volume. My gut instinct is that a world-class traveling tournament pro could go a career without winning a major title, but they would make enough big FTs to be on everyone's radar.

    Note that the gap between skill and ROI is further skewed by big live tournament winners getting converted into online site shiils ambassadors. The fact that someone with a "Cinderella story" is by definition not typically great at poker, but ideal for the ambassadorial role apparently, just magnifies this distortion of the poker economy.
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