HorseJeff
HorseJeff
Joined: Feb 21, 2012
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November 2nd, 2012 at 7:23:23 AM permalink
As a profitable Texas Hold Em player yet one who has only played the Ultimate table game on the companion site with a large degree of success, I must proffer this very unscientific and very non-mathematical question: "How much of the house edge in UTHE is comprised of people's simple refusal to fold terrible hands?"

I know, I know, I've asked a question for which there is no answer ultimately. But based on my play of a fair sampling of sessions, being conservative in my estimate of my own hand strength, being aggressive when I have decent holdings, and mucking the garbage, I've been going up one unit on all my sessions, then ending the session after that.

I am convinced that if the measurable mathematical edge on the game is ~2.6% then it's exponentially higher in reality due to the basic human nature of a LOT of gamblers, which is: "Ride it til the end and hope something good happens." Thoughts?
The only thing more pathetic than watching a gambler who's afraid to lose is watching a gambler who is afraid to win. And I've seen plenty of both.
rdw4potus
rdw4potus
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November 2nd, 2012 at 7:31:36 AM permalink
Quote: HorseJeff

"Ride it til the end and hope something good happens." Thoughts?



You can do that for free in UTH. Just check to the river & bet one unit if you think you'll beat the dealer. Some (most) people don't make the right choice at this stage in the game, but I think the biggest differentiating factor comes much earlier. Almost nobody raises correctly before the flop. It seems wrong to raise 4x with Q8 offsuited, but that's the right play. Same with K5, same with J10, same with any ace, same with 33 or better. People who don't make that raise are giving up a lot to the house.
"So as the clock ticked and the day passed, opportunity met preparation, and luck happened." - Maurice Clarett
HorseJeff
HorseJeff
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November 2nd, 2012 at 7:37:51 AM permalink
Quote: rdw4potus

Just check to the river & bet one unit if you think you'll beat the dealer.

Right, but I think that many will simply call even when they KNOW they have garbage. That is the crux of the incalculable question. i.e. the player who's holding, say, 6-7 offsuit with 4 overcards on the board, no flush and not even a pair. I think the casinos count on the simple robotic "call" on the part of a lot of players (I'm thinking slot machine mentality here)
The only thing more pathetic than watching a gambler who's afraid to lose is watching a gambler who is afraid to win. And I've seen plenty of both.
DJTeddyBear
DJTeddyBear
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November 2nd, 2012 at 7:42:41 AM permalink
It's hard, if not impossible, to calculate.

House edge is always calculated with the assumption that the player uses optimal strategy. When the player doesn't do that, how can you calculate based upon an unknown variable?

For example, go to BlackJack page. Near the bottom is a section where the Wiz calculates the edge, based upon popular bad strategies. Each of those strategies includes the comment, "For my analysis of this strategy I assumed the player would ..." In other words, he assigned a value to that unknown variable, and then did the calculation.

Without knowing that variable, you can't calcualte.
I invented a few casino games. Info: http://www.DaveMillerGaming.com/ 覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧 Superstitions are silly, childish, irrational rituals, born out of fear of the unknown. But how much does it cost to knock on wood? 😁
Paigowdan
Paigowdan
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November 2nd, 2012 at 7:49:05 AM permalink
Quote: HorseJeff

As a profitable Texas Hold Em player yet one who has only played the Ultimate table game on the companion site with a large degree of success, I must proffer this very unscientific and very non-mathematical question: "How much of the house edge in UTHE is comprised of people's simple refusal to fold terrible hands?"


This can be approximately reversed engineered/"ballparked" by using the long term table hold.

Quote: HorseJeff

I am convinced that if the measurable mathematical edge on the game is ~2.6% then it's exponentially higher in reality due to the basic human nature of a LOT of gamblers, which is: "Ride it til the end and hope something good happens." Thoughts?


The house edge is nominally 2.185%, and when accounting for the element of risk, the house edge is 0.526%, according to This analysis.

To get back to ballparking a game's house edge, a ballpark formula that is used is "10% of the table hold." That is, if the nominal house edge of the game is 3%, the general table hold over time hovers around 30%; if it is 1.2%, the general table hold is 12%. If we examine a lot of data that the table hold of UTH is 25%, we can assume that the [effective] house edge of the game is about 2.5% as it is played IRL.
Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes - Henry David Thoreau. Like Dealers' uniforms - Dan.
HorseJeff
HorseJeff
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November 2nd, 2012 at 7:51:20 AM permalink
Quote: DJTeddyBear

It's hard, if not impossible, to calculate.

When the player doesn't do that, how can you calculate based upon an unknown variable?

Without knowing that variable, you can't calcualte.

Yeah, that was why the word "incalculable" was in the title.
The only thing more pathetic than watching a gambler who's afraid to lose is watching a gambler who is afraid to win. And I've seen plenty of both.
dwheatley
dwheatley
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November 2nd, 2012 at 7:53:28 AM permalink
No part of the "house edge" is comprised of bad play. The house edge assumes perfect play. The practical house edge that players experience (and the table hold) will be worse, of course, if they don't fold their bad hands. Like rdw said, I think this is a minor problem compared to the resistance to 4x raising.

Looking at Stephen's analysis of the game, it looks like calling when you should really really fold costs at most 0.22 antes, and in many cases is less. That's a fairly sizable mistake (~10%), but look at the pre-flop raise mistakes:
Not raising with A2suited costs 0.23 antes
Not raising K8o costs 0.17 antes
These are some of the borderline cases, imagine what not raising better hands does to people.
Wisdom is the quality that keeps you out of situations where you would otherwise need it
rdw4potus
rdw4potus
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November 2nd, 2012 at 7:58:54 AM permalink
Quote: dwheatley


These are some of the borderline cases, imagine what not raising better hands does to people.



My point exactly.
"So as the clock ticked and the day passed, opportunity met preparation, and luck happened." - Maurice Clarett
HorseJeff
HorseJeff
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November 2nd, 2012 at 8:00:49 AM permalink
Quote: dwheatley

No part of the "house edge" is comprised of bad play.

Agreed. I was using "house edge" in the sense of factoring the human element. The math is what it is, no question. My point was simply that I suspect that factoring the human factor (i.e. knowing many calling stations from live poker games, ring games in particular) that UTHE is a great game for the casinos; that on top of their built in house edge they are likely getting a few % pts more from the gambler who heads over to the UTHE table. That's all.
The only thing more pathetic than watching a gambler who's afraid to lose is watching a gambler who is afraid to win. And I've seen plenty of both.
jml24
jml24
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November 2nd, 2012 at 9:27:17 AM permalink
Quote: dwheatley

Looking at Stephen's analysis of the game, it looks like calling when you should really really fold costs at most 0.22 antes, and in many cases is less. That's a fairly sizable mistake (~10%), but look at the pre-flop raise mistakes:
Not raising with A2suited costs 0.23 antes
Not raising K8o costs 0.17 antes
These are some of the borderline cases, imagine what not raising better hands does to people.



Yes, there are lots of players that never raise even with premium hands, and many more that will raise 3x only IF they have AA,KK, or AK. I always make the 4x raise according to the strategy but after a few unlucky hands in a row it is easy to see how many don't like making this play. Also IME many dealers advise players to not raise.

I think this is part of the reason this game is popular. It offers decent odds and entertainment value for the knowledgeable player. The casino is able to boost profits due to the bad play of the average player. The bad players don't know any better and sometimes they hit big bonus bets. Everybody's happy!

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