Sunday, August 26, 2007

Luck v. Skill

I havn't read The Poker Chronicles in a while and was catching up on it this afternoon. I ran across an old post from back in May about a really stupid idea from David Sklansky, Howard Lederer, and Annie Duke that Freakonomics picked up on and actually seemed to think it was a meaningful idea about poker as a skill game. It's not a meaningful idea at all.

You might notice that Annie had made her blog post promoting the idea as part of her pimping from that scam organization, PPA.

Let me quote Annie's statement of the idea.
But now let's say that we have our two equally matched poker players and I lean into one of them and whisper in their ear that I want them to lose the next match as quickly as possible. The player would be able to do it, and fast. They could easily come up with a strategy that would insure that they lost (for example they could check fold every single flop). Baseball would work the same way. Remember the Chicago Blacksox?

The ability to purposely lose is a very definitive argument that a game is all skill. Notice that if I asked you to purposely lose at a roulette game or Baccarat game (where the house took no edge) you could not do it.

The Poker Chronicles points out how stupid that idea is by pointing out how to structure bets in roulette, craps, and baccaret to ensure a loss. In poker you have to depend on your opponent not taking counter measure if you want to ensure a loss, that's not even true if you want to ensure a loss in table games.

It's idiots like Annie Duke, with the apparant brains of a dead turnip, that are pimping your support of the PPA. Keep that in mind.

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Blogger Dr Zen said...

I've been reading Sklansky's tournament book. It's the worst poker book I've read and I have to confess, I've read one by Hellmuth. The advice is terrible and the structure of the book is shocking. No wonder Harrington was such a hit! I can't imagine any successful player playing in the style Sklansky suggests.

Maybe it works better in big buyin games, but it would be a road to ruin online.

11:01 PM  
Blogger DMW said...

"In poker you have to depend on your opponent not taking counter measure if you want to ensure a loss,"

So they can use their skills too to thwart your efforts. Congratulations on proving her point twice.

12:43 PM  
Blogger Gary Carson said...

What point?

4:45 PM  

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