I recently posted a question concerning "gotcha" hands questioning the training value of having the computer opponent raise all in when you hold AA and getting KKK to bust you. The answer was that the hands are randomly generated. If that's the case, why call it the "weekly Challenge" if the players don't all get the same hands and opponent's hands? If the opponent's hands are all randomly generated, and are different, some players get easier challenge than others.
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I agree that in the weekly challenge every player should be dealt identical hands against the same players (AIs). This is the only way to insure that everyone has the same chance in the scoring.
Sadly, we have it this way because people cheat, and cheat a lot. When I first pitched the idea of the weekly challenges to Steve years ago, I called them the 'same hands challenge' because obviously that is what would be most fun. What we found was that a ridiculous number of people were playing nearly perfectly against the hands. The way they were doing it was by having multiple accounts, seeing all the cards, and then optimizing their play. We tried a number of things to prevent that, but there are a suprising number of people out there who want to win so badly that they will go out of their way to do it. The whole point of these challenges was for them to be fun, but I spent so much time chasing down cheaters and responding to complaints abut the cheating that we ended up just making the hands random figuring it was all just for fun anyway and in the end, if you play every week it all averages out.
So as much as I would love to switch back to same hands format, if the hands are not random, there will be rampant cheating, which is a sad but true reality with a public website.
Wow, that is a sad reality indeed. Too bad, but I understand. It is still fun to try to see how you do though.
Poker players cheat? Imagine my choking gasp of surprise.................
I bet that discovering people with multiple accounts playing for bragging rights was a wake up call for you.
+1 on both statements.
That's crazy. I actually misread Syn's comment: I thought he said, "multiple accounts PAYING for bragging rights..."
"Mistakes show us what we need to learn." "Fall down seven times; stand up eight." THAT'S why I'm here -- so I can discover and hone tactics and patch leaks before they become consequential in the real world. The social aspect is becoming a bonus.
If I avoid paying off one opponent's set at 1/2 because of something I learned here (whether we're talking specifics or just "instinct" and "feel for the game"), that pretty much pays my subscription for six months to a year.
I do the Beat the Pro challenges and read the comments at the end. It's empowering to hit a good stride and win more chips than so-and-so over the course of twenty hands, but some folks are guilty of outcome-dependent evaluation. What they don't necessarily consider is the aspect balancing risk vs. return. And that is a hard thing to wrap your mind around: I mean, let's say a given play will work for a small win 9 times out of 10, but 1 time out of 10 it puts you at genuine risk for a big loss. Instinctively using the lens of "evaluating the outside world based on previous experience in real life," the person who wins two or three times in a row by, say, overbetting a particular situation to intimidate an opponent into folding, is going to at least feel like he/she is "on to something."
And, honestly, for the amateur/tourist gambler, this is part of the fun. I still remember the first time I played poker in Atlantic City. It felt like a "meeting of the minds!" And I think, in general, for any thinking human being with an ounce of competitiveness on any level, or who ever had a desire to solve a math or logic problem, plunking down a little money on a poker game and trying to swim with the sharks for a little while should be essentially a rite of passage -- even if it is destined to be a losing experience (so much the better, actually). So I do think that there is a societal purpose to all this, in the same sense that maybe having a hometown football team gives us something to "root for" or "rally around," and any 15-year old is going to want to be the one making that shot or scoring that goal, even if they're not going to ever be pro athletes. If I had a 21-year old long lost relative or something, and for some reason we found ourselves in a hotel/casino, I'd hand him or her a hundred bucks and say, "don't worry about the money. Pairs down to 7, AK and AQ -- that's all you need to know. You will most likely lose, but you might win. The important thing is that they don't know how little you know. Your job is to not let them in on that, and put your money in the middle when you're good and ready. Then let the cards fall." I think that there are life lessons to be learned from an experience like that.
It's said that the fact that a disadvantageous hand can draw out is a "tax" on good play -- the idea is that if poker were like chess (in that a player who outclasses his/her opponent will generally win), then it wouldn't be any fun for anyone to play who wasn't either at an expert level. So it follows that the element of chance/variance /gambling actually brings so many people of all levels into the game that it represents a profitable situation for an expert player who can put up with getting drawn out on every now and then. I think that the prevalence of self-taught players basing strategy on anecdotal/empirical evaluations falls into this category. And I am not just talking about stations or chip-spewing maniacs: what I am really referring to is decent players who just have a couple of exploitable leaks. I mean, I've caught myself "tightening up," playing scared, and becoming THAT guy. It takes a lot to play your optimal game 100% of the time, and when an amount of money is on the line that matters to you, it's hard to not feel the losses emotionally. Someone was talking about high-level competitive golf saying: imagine you need to walk 20 ft. on a board that is comfortably wide enough and a couple of inches off the ground -- no problem. Now put that board 10 feet in the air (assume the structure of the board is solid, etc.) -- it changes everything, even though the motions and balancing, etc., are, for the purposes of the discussion, EXACTLY the same. I paid a lot of dues in this regard doing advantage play at blackjack, and if that won't train you to quit looking at that black chip as "groceries for a week or two," nothing will. Isn't it strange that, if you care about making your stack grow, one of the prerequisites is that you have to NOT "care" so much (or so deeply or "personally") about the actual dollars involved?
Well said, think.
And going off what you said, and bringing the conversation back to the weekly challenge, Maybe lessons learned in the challenge are more valuable than ones learned in the regular trainer, in the same way that lessons learned when money is on the line are more valuable than ones learned in a tavern league. If the challenge is important to you, and it hurts a little more when, like happened to me yesterday, the card that makes my set makes a straight for my opponent, then perhaps that teaches me to watch the board more carefully.
I agree with you nytider. The more you care about it, the more it will cause you to play as if it is real money - and I think that is a good thing.
I think that most of the people who are passionate enough to subscribe to APT, meaning serious enough to pay to improve their game (the live tournaments 100%) play like they are playing live and for small/medium stakes. The tournaments can be intense but remain friendly. I will admit to never feeling bad when I manage to win a handsucceed with a bluff.
Just my 2 cents worth.