Math, Robots, Stupidity: JCW, ChipTrader, Doug Hull - a Debate on this Forum

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  • TheGameKatTheGameKat Posts: 4,070 -
    Which wrote: »
    TheGameKat wrote: »
    And while I try to simultaneously attempt to pursue excellence and do no harm as I negotiate life, I can't get round the fact that bills have to be paid, and that my second profession at a practical level is mostly advanced bum-hunting.



    If you are the best in the world at poker, do you still need to bumhunt?

    No, there's no hunting, you just sit down and the bums turn up.
    Moderation In Moderation
  • TheGameKatTheGameKat Posts: 4,070 -
    I mangled the quotations in my 12:05 pm post. The authors should be:

    Imperator: "But my point is that the pursuing bad-players so that we can make more money is not in-itself a poker decision. We may find results at the poker table from this decision but it is a moral decision about the game that we make before we enter the game."

    Kat's reply: "In that case we may be getting back to something a la Wittgenstein versus Turing again. If poker is an organic entity as Berkey asserts, it is not existing in a vacuum as some sort of detached Platonic form. To me the very decision to be a poker player is entangled with the essence of the game of poker. We don't enter a magic bubble when we sit at the table."

    Was trying to trim things down and failed.
    Moderation In Moderation
  • ImperatorImperator Red Chipper Posts: 899 ✭✭✭
    TheGameKat wrote: »

    Imperator: "But my point is that the pursuing bad-players so that we can make more money is not in-itself a poker decision. We may find results at the poker table from this decision but it is a moral decision about the game that we make before we enter the game."

    Kat's reply: "In that case we may be getting back to something a la Wittgenstein versus Turing again. If poker is an organic entity as Berkey asserts, it is not existing in a vacuum as some sort of detached Platonic form. To me the very decision to be a poker player is entangled with the essence of the game of poker. We don't enter a magic bubble when we sit at the table."

    Taking a break and relaxing with more posting: But this post is not really about Poker but about more general topics of training and thinking.

    Kat I do want to be clear about something. My ideas about "excellence" are influenced deeply by both Aristotle and Plato. Also my ideas about competition, is very much influenced by the Greek notion of agon, the root of our word agony. (I was a Physics major and a Classics minor, so go figure.) But I do not believe in Platonic forms, and I don't believe that poker exists in a bubble.

    In fact my major point about agon of poker (and I think that Berkey would make this point without my fancy classicism) is that the pressure points in these games come often from what Berkey calls "thresholds of pain" and most of those thresholds are determined individually from character, psychology, and our life experience. This is also what Aristotle or Sophocles would say about competition in general.

    This is getting very, very far from poker. But it is not very far from how we might coach, poker, chess, baseball, boxing or any rule based game.

    I know that it is hard to do but put into brackets the level of analysis and theory from the level of how we can work our ideas into practice. Practice must always come first and at the end also. Theory and practice have an intimate connection; they are analytically separate, while being psychologically vital. What we want to do is train ourselves to be the best at something and sometimes that means trying to put the game into a hypothetical bubble while we think about how the game works; experimenting practically with those theories, building our own strong ways to implement our discoveries or to prove them, or just treating the game as a very bloody and messy theoretical entity is part of the process.

    As far as the Turing vs. Wittgenstein debate is concerned on Tuesday I'm on Turing's side and on Wednesday I'm on Wittgenstein's side. The rest of the week I'm just confused. I'm also undecided about whether mathematics is a practical human "invention" or a "real existing living entity." (If anyone is interested in a short summary of the Turning vs. Wittgenstein conversation you can find it in Ray Monk's biography of Wittgenstein, The Duty of Genius,on pages 417-422 and in Andrew Hodges biography of Alan Turing, The Enigma on pages 152-154. (I am assuming the pdf files on my ereader has the same pagination as a hardcopy does.) I disagree with both Turing and Wittgenstein as far as the "Liars Paradox" is concerned.

    Let me say that these debates may sound airy but they are not. They are at the foundation of the computer age and modern mathematics. One only has to describe the thinking behind Godel's "Incompleteness Theorems" to realize the relation to the "The Liar's Paradox."
  • TheGameKatTheGameKat Posts: 4,070 -
    I would think Freud would be more useful than Aristotle, but that doubtless reflects my broader prejudices.
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  • ImperatorImperator Red Chipper Posts: 899 ✭✭✭
    L
    TheGameKat wrote: »
    I would think Freud would be more useful than Aristotle, but that doubtless reflects my broader prejudices.
    Arisotle's writings on learning and habit formation and excellence are excellent. Seriously, a lot of what SplitSuit and Tendler talk about as goal oriented learning and habit formation was articulated systematically by Aristotle more than 2500 years ago. I am not sure how much they are aware that SMART learning goals are in Aristotle, but you only have to read what Aristotle writes about habit and learning to see it.
  • TheGameKatTheGameKat Posts: 4,070 -
    Hmmm. As you are probably aware, when a physicist describes anything as "Aristotelian" it's invariably an insult. My own experience of how people learn is that there is a frustratingly broad spectrum that renders most classroom methods useless.
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  • ImperatorImperator Red Chipper Posts: 899 ✭✭✭
    edited April 2016
    TheGameKat wrote: »
    Hmmm. As you are probably aware, when a physicist describes anything as "Aristotelian" it's invariably an insult. My own experience of how people learn is that there is a frustratingly broad spectrum that renders most classroom methods useless.

    "Classroom methods" of learning defeat themselves twice over. First that they are in a classroom; Second that they are a method for teaching a whole class instead of the individual person. I think we might agree on this.

    Unfortunately the "class" is sometimes all that we have.

    But let me point to some of the interesting work that Carl Wieman is doing in teaching physics to undergraduates in better, smaller ways, and more active ways. Or perhaps since your background is physics you do know about his arguments. (Actually Matt should also look into this a little.)

    And yes, Aristotle gets a bad rap for how the Medieval Scholastics used him as dogma. But, read him on habit formation and you will be impressed by the insights.

    Or take a look at this book by Massimo Pigliucci Answers for Aristotle: How Science and Philosophy Can Lead Us to A More Meaningful Life . In many ways Aristotle was one of the first "natural philosophers" to advocate that theory be tested by observation. What was unfortunate is that he didn't necessarily know how to test his observations. But such things came over time. Aristotle also advocated that theory should be predictive. It is unfortunate that the concepts of causation in his culture were so mixed up with concepts of "place" and "ends." But it is ironic that by time of the Renaissance period Catholic theologians were using his name to counter observation and experimentation which Aristotle would have welcomed within his own conceptual limits.

    Perhaps it would be better to write about all of this off-list. It is not really poker related but about learning theory and also the history of science. But let me say that in many ways Galileo was following the spirit of Aristotle and the Catholic theologians were simply protecting their ideological monopoly. (Historical references available if you wish.)

    I also think you do not give enough credit to modern learning theory. Simply reading a book like Daniel Kahneman's Thinking, Fast and Slow will show that we have made a tiny bit of progress. It is tiny by the way.

    And by the way, in case you are wondering I'm having a really great weekend playing poker.
  • TheGameKatTheGameKat Posts: 4,070 -
    Rather unusually I co-authored an astronomy textbook with an educational psychologist, so I'm interested and open to learning theory. My reservations about some elements of it stem from parallels in psychology where I'm convinced the emphasis on cognitive behavioral therapy over psychodynamic methods has created something of a disaster.
    Moderation In Moderation
  • jeffncjeffnc Red Chipper Posts: 5,003 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Which wrote: »
    it seems to me you are not of "an open mind".

    Nope, not even close to true.
    Which wrote: »
    To me, it boils down to motivation.

    Nope, not even close to what I'm saying.
    Which wrote: »
    jeffnc wrote: »
    I read some poker book with a strategy, I play that given strategy, it makes sense and I also make money. This has happened so I know it works.

    two problems

    1) by reading a book and just playing 'their strategy', you can never become the best. The most you can achieve would be emulating them, clones

    2) saying "it works" is results oriented thinking, and we all know it can be short lived. And time is measured looking backwards, never forward. You can be playing a flawed strategy for a long time, and never know it.

    I'm not talking about becoming the best. Are you? Do you seriously think you're going to be the best poker player in the world? Even if you do, that really is just a red herring and doesn't have anything to do with what I'm talking about.
    Which wrote: »
    jeffnc wrote: »
    Think for yourself" and "don't follow the herd" are nice platitudes, but they're not enough to bring home the bacon in the heat of battle.

    Totally disagree with this on so many fronts, but I would start with a quote from Sun Tzu

    "“The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.”
    ― Sun Tzu, The Art of War

    I can't really imagine how you'd disagree with that, unless you misinterpreted it. Regarding Sun Tzu, again, it's nice to repeat such quotes, but it doesn't tell you how to do it.

    Let me ask you a couple questions. What is Berkey's win rate? (You can use any metric you want.) Are you the best poker player in the world? If not, then if you're already read Sun Tzu, why aren't you?
  • jeffncjeffnc Red Chipper Posts: 5,003 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Which wrote: »
    If you are the best in the world at poker, do you still need to bumhunt?

    Depends on what you mean by "need", how much money you have, and why you're playing poker. If you're talking about EV and profit, which is mostly what this forum is about, then yeah - you should seek out the worst players you can possibly find.
  • jeffncjeffnc Red Chipper Posts: 5,003 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited April 2016
    Which wrote: »
    2) saying "it works" is results oriented thinking, and we all know it can be short lived. And time is measured looking backwards, never forward. You can be playing a flawed strategy for a long time, and never know it.

    OK, so you're saying don't look at your results, and don't look at anyone's results. Let's just say I accept that. How exactly do you intend to evaluate a system of play, or for that matter any recommendation for how we should make decisions in a poker game?

    Before you answer, keep this in mind. It's very much debated whether Sun Tzu was actually the man most people think he was, and if he actually wrote The Art Of War. But since you quoted him, let's assume he was what legend claims. In that case, you have to accept the following assertion from Sima Qian: "Sun Tzu later proved on the battlefield that his theories were effective (for example, at the Battle of Boju), that he had a successful military career, and that he wrote The Art of War based on his tested expertise."

    In other words, the fact that you even know the name Sun Tzu depends on results oriented thinking.
  • WhichWhich Red Chipper Posts: 114 ✭✭
    edited April 2016
    Jeff,

    it is not often i change my mind based on forum posts, but I have read your posts and have.

    Thanks,

    which
  • Matt BerkeyMatt Berkey Red Chipper, RCP Coach Posts: 278 ✭✭✭
    Imperator wrote: »
    I also think you do not give enough credit to modern learning theory. Simply reading a book like Daniel Kahneman's Thinking, Fast and Slow will show that we have made a tiny bit of progress. It is tiny by the way.

    And by the way, in case you are wondering I'm having a really great weekend playing poker.

    Literally bought this book a month ago but haven't started it yet because I'm committed to finishing Infinite Jest before I read one more printed word (maybe even including this thread).

    Regarding Jeff's stance, your metric for judging your performance in this game are rooted in logical fallacy. Causation does not necessarily equal causation, particularly in a game of massive variance and a difficult to reach long run. However, I'm not here to change your mind. You prefer quantifiable calculations rooted in absolutes--tangible results that show the proof is in the pudding. To each their own. There's more than one angle to approach this game from; more than one way to skin the proverbial cat so long as the bums don't go extinct.
  • Matt BerkeyMatt Berkey Red Chipper, RCP Coach Posts: 278 ✭✭✭
    Wow it was late when I typed that... "correlation does not necessarily equal causation"
    The notion of an hourly in a live game is an extremely flawed metric. The variables are so vast and fluid that rarely are any 2 hours the same. The game changes so rapidly that your hourly (and edge) can be deteriorating well before you have a substantial sample size.
  • TheGameKatTheGameKat Posts: 4,070 -
    Wow it was late when I typed that... "correlation does not necessarily equal causation"
    The notion of an hourly in a live game is an extremely flawed metric. The variables are so vast and fluid that rarely are any 2 hours the same. The game changes so rapidly that your hourly (and edge) can be deteriorating well before you have a substantial sample size.

    This simply doesn't conform with my experience of playing low-limit NLHE in Vegas, and while I may be victim to a cognitive bias originating in my limbic system I don't think that is sufficient to wipe out hourly rate being a useful metric.
    Moderation In Moderation
  • KemahPhilKemahPhil Red Chipper Posts: 108 ✭✭
    The main value to an hourly rate is to determine whether or not you are making a sufficient amount per hour to justify playing poker as opposed to pursuing some other money making activity using that time. This mostly applies to players who are either playing poker for a living or attempting to supplement their income playing poker. If you're strictly in it for enjoyment then it has very little relevance.
  • zagaresezagarese Red Chipper Posts: 200 ✭✭
    Wow it was late when I typed that... "correlation does not necessarily equal causation"
    The notion of an hourly in a live game is an extremely flawed metric. The variables are so vast and fluid that rarely are any 2 hours the same. The game changes so rapidly that your hourly (and edge) can be deteriorating well before you have a substantial sample size.

    So what _is_ a valid/not-flawed metric?
  • zagaresezagarese Red Chipper Posts: 200 ✭✭
    TheGameKat wrote: »
    Wow it was late when I typed that... "correlation does not necessarily equal causation"
    The notion of an hourly in a live game is an extremely flawed metric. The variables are so vast and fluid that rarely are any 2 hours the same. The game changes so rapidly that your hourly (and edge) can be deteriorating well before you have a substantial sample size.

    This simply doesn't conform with my experience of playing low-limit NLHE in Vegas, and while I may be victim to a cognitive bias originating in my limbic system I don't think that is sufficient to wipe out hourly rate being a useful metric.

    I expect that time in Vegas is one of the few places where hourly has a chance of being valid simply because you can get hours in - you can actually compare 40 hours a week to a real job.

    Whether it's a valid measure of the game in the long run is still in question, i expect.
  • jeffncjeffnc Red Chipper Posts: 5,003 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Interesting comments on win rate metrics. I agree with all of it, if that is possible. You are never playing in the same poker game twice. You are a different player today than you were yesterday, as are all the players you're playing against. Yet in some of my games, my results are pretty consistent. Yet in other, they are very inconsistent.

    It leaves us in a very fuzzy place when it comes to evaluating results and/or evaluating any system of decision making in poker.
  • KemahPhilKemahPhil Red Chipper Posts: 108 ✭✭
    zagarese wrote: »

    I expect that time in Vegas is one of the few places where hourly has a chance of being valid simply because you can get hours in - you can actually compare 40 hours a week to a real job.

    Whether it's a valid measure of the game in the long run is still in question, i expect.

    You can get in 40 hours a week in pretty much any city that has one or more casinos and in a lot of places that have no casino at all.
  • KemahPhilKemahPhil Red Chipper Posts: 108 ✭✭
    Maybe the most valid benchmark for determining whether an hourly win rate playing poker is good is a comparison to the hourly rate for dealers. Anybody know what a typical dealer makes per hour?

    My thinking is that, if you are trying to make a living (or supplemental income) sitting at a poker table then, if you can make more sitting in the dealer's seat than you can actually playing, dealing would be a better option for you.
  • jeffncjeffnc Red Chipper Posts: 5,003 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Well, there is also the growth and learning curve. You can't make much more being a really good dealer. In fact I've heard in the really biggest game, the tips can be downright stingy. On the other hand, if you're improving your poker game as you play, the sky's the limit for future earnings.
  • ChipXtractorChipXtractor Red Chipper Posts: 1,193 ✭✭✭✭
    jeffnc wrote: »
    Well, there is also the growth and learning curve. You can't make much more being a really good dealer. In fact I've heard in the really biggest game, the tips can be downright stingy. On the other hand, if you're improving your poker game as you play, the sky's the limit for future earnings.

    By the same token your not going to leave for work as a dealer and come home with *LESS* money than you left with. Just sayin...

    p.s. In no way am I a fan of becoming a poker dealer over poker player. I can think of a few worse jobs...but not many.
  • jeffncjeffnc Red Chipper Posts: 5,003 ✭✭✭✭✭
    By the same token your not going to leave for work as a dealer and come home with *LESS* money than you left with. Just sayin...

    Oh, no doubt. That's one of the things that sucks about poker. But I was using Phil's assumption that you had a long term hourly (positive) rate.
  • TheGameKatTheGameKat Posts: 4,070 -
    KemahPhil wrote: »
    Maybe the most valid benchmark for determining whether an hourly win rate playing poker is good is a comparison to the hourly rate for dealers. Anybody know what a typical dealer makes per hour?

    My thinking is that, if you are trying to make a living (or supplemental income) sitting at a poker table then, if you can make more sitting in the dealer's seat than you can actually playing, dealing would be a better option for you.

    The problem with dealing is you have to be polite to poker players.
    Moderation In Moderation
  • ImperatorImperator Red Chipper Posts: 899 ✭✭✭
    Observational Bias

    "The Streetlight Effect."
    It is often extremely difficult or even impossible to cleanly measure what is really important, so scientists instead cleanly measure what they can, hoping it turns out to be relevant. - David Freedman.

    I see that there has been a lot about "hourly rate" on this forum.

    Hourly rate is just one metric we use to measure ourselves and our game. But it is a tiny metric that may tell us a little about opportunity costs and a little about how we are playing on any given day or any given table. It is useful but it can often become a fetish.

    If we could always measure the tangibles at the poker table we would begin to know a little bit more about the things we are not able to measure. I'm talking about tangibles such as other player's hand ranges and, after the fact, their actual whole cards, exact pot-size, exact stack-size etc. Television and the internet has allowed us some insight into these things. But we are still not measuring all the tangibles and we don't even know what many of the intangibles are that we can't measure at all. (An example: In the past good players had a feel for SPR but not one actually realized its full significance and measure it consistently until, I believe, our own Ed Miller actually established the concept. Someone correct me on my history.)

    If you will remember this thread began with my old physics professor's thoughts about the accuracy of measurement.
    Any measurement that you make without the knowledge of its uncertainty is meaningless.

    There are so many corollaries to this proposition that I would like to challenge the people on this thread to come up with their own.

    But let me emphasize we only measure things and events we know how to measure. The rest of the possible universe we leave alone or pretend to measure or research ways that we might measure them if we only knew how. And we also never measure things without some conceptual framework to make us realize that measurement is possible. (Viz SPR.)

    To put it ironically: We measure the things that we can measure and often decide that the things we can't measure are not as meaningful. It is useful to think about this tautology as a corollary to my physics professor basic proposition on measurement. Or perhaps measurement is like the old joke about the man looking for his lost keys:
    A policeman sees a drunk man searching for something under a streetlight and asks what the drunk has lost. He says he lost his keys and they both look under the streetlight together. After a few minutes the policeman asks if he is sure he lost them here, and the drunk replies, no, and that he lost them in the park. The policeman asks why he is searching here, and the drunk replies, "this is where the light is."

    This joke in various versions goes back to the 1920's at least.

    This joke became very popular among scientists in the 1950's. And in the mid-sixties was called "the drunkard's search" but is today called "the streetlight effect."

    Can I suggest that a lot of our measurements in poker follows "the streetlight effect."

    What is good about measuring our win/loss rate is that it gives us an opportunity to see how much we are engaged in a rational pursuit of good gaming or are simply involved in a gambler's delusion.

    Similarly, what is good about all of our computer aids, such as Flopzilla, etc is that it allows us to make estimations of our observations of ourselves and other players, that might help us to be better thinkers over-the-felt.


    But no one tells us how to measure "better thinking over the felt."

    After coming off a weekend where I had one day of very good thinking over the felt, and two days of very confused thinking over the felt I would like to be able to self-evaluate accurately so that I can eliminate bad thinking and increase good thinking.

    But self-evaluation is not measurement. Self-evaluation is an intangible.
  • jeffncjeffnc Red Chipper Posts: 5,003 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Imperator wrote: »
    An example: In the past good players had a feel for SPR but not one actually realized its full significance and measure it consistently until, I believe, our own Ed Miller actually established the concept. Someone correct me on my history.

    I don't know if it was Miller, Flynn or Mehta who came up with this, or what combination thereof, but Professional No Limit Holdem Vol. 1 is essential for describing SPRs, stack commitment, and thresholds.
    Imperator wrote: »
    But self-evaluation is not measurement. Self-evaluation is an intangible.

    Yeah.

  • ChipXtractorChipXtractor Red Chipper Posts: 1,193 ✭✭✭✭
    Imperator wrote: »

    But no one tells us how to measure "better thinking over the felt."

    My understand (admittedly very limited) of how scientists try to solve problems is that they first develop a concrete method of 'studying' the problem. Is this correct? The answer I am going to assume is sometimes. lol.

    The reason I ask is that I have spent a lot of time thinking about my actions at the tables. Both physical and mental.

    I have also tried to set up a sort of pre-set program that I run for each hand. A method of play if you will. I try very hard to replicate my actions both physical and mental for all hands I play. Doing this allows me in some small fashion to get a feel for when a situation or action (by me or my opponents) does not feel comfortable to me in some fashion. This is a signal that I need to investigate what is going on at that point. Sometimes I do it in real time and sometimes I do it away from the table.

    I understand that the above may be a bit all over the place, but what I am trying to accomplish is to create a routine in which I can more easily identify situations during play that I need to more deeply think about.

    It is sort of like a free throw in basketball. You create a routine and then try and consistently follow the routine. Once the routine is established than adjusting for results becomes easier. Both because you can quantify why XYZ result may have happened and hopefully what adjustment needs to be made.

    I have very little training in solving problems from an academic point of view. I do know however that trying to create a 'system' of play for myself has allowed me to more easily identify my personal challenges at the table and also helped me try to solve them.

    I hope that makes some sort of sense...

    cXt
  • jeffncjeffnc Red Chipper Posts: 5,003 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited April 2016
    "Free flowing" sports such as basketball, soccer etc. don't lend themselves very well to static decision making. Exceptions are things like free throws or penalty kicks, but those are pretty simple. Golf might be a better example, where "pre shot" routine is pretty standard and there's more to think about, so you might want to read up on that (there is a mental and strategic/tactical side in addition to mere habit.)

    An even better one might be chess. There, you have the concept of "candidate moves" which translates fairly well into what we're trying to do in poker. Books such as this would help in that regard.
    http://www.amazon.com/Process-Decision-Making-Chess-Mastering-ebook/dp/B00BC0JXEQ

    "Having read this book, you will acquire all the tools needed to break down the complex (and often difficult!) question of "what should I do in a given position?" into a number of much easier and simple questions; Combining the answers to these questions, you will come up with the right plan and find the best moves in every situation."
  • ChipXtractorChipXtractor Red Chipper Posts: 1,193 ✭✭✭✭
    jeffnc wrote: »

    An even better one might be chess. There, you have the concept of "candidate moves" which translates fairly well into what we're trying to do in poker. Books such as this would help in that regard.
    http://www.amazon.com/Process-Decision-Making-Chess-Mastering-ebook/dp/B00BC0JXEQ

    Thank you for that recommendation. I enjoy reading those type of books. Will check it our for sure. :)

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