Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Down Day Debating Deal or No Deal Decisions

So today was pretty uneventful. I woke up around 3:40 PM, and in a few days I think I'll be in the 100% nocturnal mode of the sleep cycle. Last time this happened was two Sundays ago. The way things were going, I would have been sleeping all during the day on that Sunday. I couldn't let that happen though because I had won Sunday Warm-up and Sunday Million seats. I also had a TLB (Tournament Leader Board) free roll to play, all between 12:30 and 4PM. So I pushed myself to stay up as late into the following day as I could in the days leading up to the weekend. It wound up working out alright, and I was up around 7 AM that morning. So I think I'm going to try to do that more consistently. Instead of sleeping for shorter periods of time, I'll just try to sort of hurry through the days where I'm nocturnal, because it really makes me feel like a freak.

So I got up with no intention of playing poker, like I never do on Wednesdays, because of basketball. I spent a few hours working on my iTunes, which you can check out below. I added exactly 100 songs if I counted correctly.

When I got done with that, I headed over to the house for dinner before practice. It was just me and my parents though because my brother and sister were both working. It's pretty crazy how we're all old enough to be doing that now. I can remember the days where, Bryan was the last one at Lake Street, our elementary school, and Julie and I were already the "big shots" in middle school. Then Bryan was the only one in middle school, and Julie and I were both in high school, and our parents thought we were so old. Nowadays we're all almost grown. Bryan is now the only one in high school, Julie is in college, and I'm already retired! How old my parents must feel ; ) . I'm not going to sit here and say life is short though, because life is the longest thing anyone will ever do.

Well enough with the sappy crap. The way it wound up working out tonight was that my mom and I were both able to be there at the beginning of practice. Bryan wound up closing at 9, when practice ended, and worked even later, so he didn't make it, like I thought he wouldn't. A few others didn't make it either, but one of the guys brought along his brother who plays on the school team at Rockville. So altogether we had seven guys. We got to go over everything I wanted including defense, inbounding plays and another drill we came up with that stresses the importance of the guards staying close and supporting one another. It's going to be key that we execute this on Saturday, because the team we're playing has two very fast guards that will strip the ball every time if we get lazy, sloppy, and lackadaisical.

Another thing we worked on is a play to possess the ball as long as possible. This is going to be important when we have decently sized, yet still vulnerable leads at the end of the fourth quarter. I explained to them that if you can reduce the number of possessions for the other team, by drawing out the length of time we hold the ball, they literally won't have enough opportunities to catch up. It's alright to take a shot, but I stressed that it better be a lay-up, it better be wide open, and it better go in. If you do make the shot, great, that's one more successful possession that they need. If we miss that shot though, that's a free opportunity for them to gain ground in crunch time.

When practice ended, I gave one of the guys a ride home, and headed back to the house. Julie and Bryan were both out of work, so we all enjoyed my favorite dessert, peanut butter squares. I couldn't stay long though because Ryan was on his way over to watch the episodes of American Idol and Deal or No Deal I had DVR'ed.

Theres a quick thing about Deal or No Deal I need to get off my chest. I think the show is so crazy because these people can't figure out a simple + or - EV (expected value) decision. There was an article on about this by one of their main contributing writers, grapsfan. Basically, he explained how to figure out the best long term decision for the contestants on the show, but also argued how it would not be a bad decision to take a -EV deal, since it's only a once in a lifetime chance. He compared this to deal-making at huge final tables. If an average guy made the final table of the Sunday Million, grapsfan is an advocate of making deals, even if you think you aren't getting quite the best of it, because luck is such a big factor in any one hand, tournament, final table, or whatever other short term aspects you can think of. (Conversely, as we all know, luck in poker, or any form of gambling or investing is completely non-existent in the long term.)

Back to Deal or No Deal though. It's so sick the morons they put on this show, and their hair-brained comrades they bring along for support. The girl on tonight's show said she had made like $13,000 in 2007. She comes on, first offer, $192,000!! Are you kidding me?! She had NINE one million dollar cases. I'm starting to lose interest in the show though. It's getting to be so predictable. Everyone's strategy is the same. No deal until you get down to one huge amount, then take the deal regardless. They figure, "Screw it, I got a 'safety net' NO DEAL HOWIE!"

What shocked me the most was this girl's father. She gets down to having 8 cases left. Four have one million dollars, and four have some nominal amounts. The highest of the four small cases was $10,000, one was for $400, but compared to $1,000,000 they are essentially worthless. So common sense would tell us that with four million dollar cases, and four worthless ones, our case is worth $500,000 in the long run. The banker offered a pathetic $368,000. No brainer, no deal. Her father is up there talking about how that's a lot of money and she should take the deal. She was true to the form of all of her precedants, and said no deal. So now she has to choose two cases. Her first choice is the $750 case, or one of the worthless ones. The second case is a million. So she's right back where she was on the last round right? Right. She still half millions, half worthless. A break even offer would be $500,000. So this time the offer comes in at $393,000. Now this lame-o excuse for a father tells her that not last time, but THIS time she is getting shortchanged!! Can you believe that? Obviously she is getting screwed both times, but by $25,000 less on the second offer. Great advice, pops. Somebody get this guy a PokerStars account and some extra money. So she wound up getting down to two one million dollar cases, and a $400 case. The offer was $625,000 (should have been $666,866.67). So she no deals it AGAIN. She's getting screwed out of $41,000 but I mean come on, they're obviously not going to give you an offer in your best interest, so you might as well take the biggest offer, which is also closest to the actual value of her case, relative to the size of the total offer. Especially because odds are you're going to pick a million case on the next time, causing the offer to drop, and then you're going to forced into the mercy of the heartless banker, because no way would anyone flip a coin for that kind of money.

Herein lies the flaw in the "safety net" theory, which that tool-to-the-man Howie Mandel so readily advocates. Other key characteristics Howie praises are guts, luck, and timing. Common sense didn't make the list. In her situation, she only had to pick one case, with two one million dollar cases on the board. So she's got nothing to lose, right? Guess again. She wound up getting down to $400 and $1,000,000. The offer was $473,000, and she took the deal. So no, she can't lose everything, but has a 2/3 chance of losing $152,000. God, so obvious. What a life donk.

EV is how I look at anything that involves taking risks in life, after playing poker for awhile now, and reading up in online articles, forums, books, etc. It just seems like common sense to me. That's why I always say there really is no such thing as gambling. Only +EV and -EV decisions. After over 1,000 MTTs played on PokerStars, my ROI (Return On Investment) is somewhere around 85%. Thus, if I enter a $50 tournament, I'm not gambling $50. I'm making a decision which equates to a $42.50 gain, every single time. So anyone who thinks I need more of a guaranteed income, guess what, it is guaranteed.

If you play table games, you can figure out how much you're losing each hand quite easily. I'll use Pai Gow poker as an example, because I know how that works off hand. If two friends sat down and played Pai Gow against one another, both of them always setting their hands perfectly, they could expect to break even over several hands. When you play against the house in a casino however, they withhold 2.5% of each hand that you win. (I'm pretty sure this is accurate, but I could be off.) Thus, each hand you play, you're losing 1.25% of your bet. Whether you win or lose any given hand is irrelevant. If you make 100 $100 bets, you'll lose $1.25 each time, for a total loss of $125.

This is why I don't understand why anyone would ever go to a casino for entertainment, unless it was to play poker, where you're not playing against the house. You might as well go down to Canal Street and see who can pitch quarters into the homeless guy's cup best with your friends. In both cases, you're throwing away money, and at least in my suggestion, a needy person is getting the money, instead of those damned Pequot executives. So that ends my rant on EV and "gambling." Just remember all that next time you get to be on Deal or No Deal. I hope that's a good explanation of why gambling doesn't really exist.

Anyways, back to my day. After those two shows I watched Dr. Phil and Price is Right, also DVR'ed, then a little poker on TV.

I decided to take a down day today, both because of basketball and to shake off yesterday's horrible performance. So not one hand of poker today, a rare occurence. So after I finish this up, I think I'll pick up the kitchen, so I don't have to do that tomorrow. Tomorrow hopefully I'll just go to the gym, come home, eat dinner and start playing.

Until then,

Today's artists added to iTunes:
American Hi-Fi
Ben Harper
Bobby Valentino
Living Colour
Proclaimers, The
Sister Hazel
Strokes, The
Van Halen
Velvet Revolver
Vitamin C
Wallflowers, The
White Stripes, The
Will Smith

No comments: