Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Heaps of Hands

Sort of curious about this new site called One Billion Hands that just went live about a week or so ago.

The site appears to be devoted to providing some interesting statistical analysis of hold’em hands, producing some street-by-street commentary by comparing individual hands to the numbers crunched from a database of more than 1,000,000,000 hands (hence the site’s name).

So far there are just a few posts on the site dealing with some hands featured on the 2013 WSOP Main Event broadcasts currently airing on ESPN.

There's one post about that Day 6 hand in which Carlos Mortensen folded his pocket kings (which I brought up yesterday). There’s another one about a three-way hand with eventual November Niner Jay Farber in which all three players were dealt premium starters, a hand that saw the short stack (Phil Mader) eliminated while Chris Lindh avoided losing too much with his pocket queens after Farber flopped top pair with A-K. And the latest post concerns that weird hand in which Bruno Kawauti folded a flush on the turn when the board paired.

If you click through you’ll see how in each post just about every action is considered in the context of the huge database of hands as a way to provide some ideas about the relative worth of players’ decisions.

One thought that struck me right away was the fact that the database wasn’t comprised of hands played by players late in the Main Event of the World Series of Poker. According to the site, the exact source of the hands cannot be revealed, although they all came from the year 2011 and most assuredly were from online games of various limits (micro, low, medium, and high).

Thus in that Farber-Lindh-Mader hand in which the players had A-K, Q-Q, and A-Q-suited (respectively), the Q & A’s about what players usually do with such hands might apply more to cash games or other contexts than to deep in the Main Event when some players will be more ready (perhaps) to fold queens with a king on board or even fold a flush when the likelihood of being behind is very slim.

Anyway, that was just an initial thought I had while skimming these initial posts, which are all kind of intriguing in the way they come up with estimates of how much players saved or gained thanks to their decisions. It reminds me a little of the graphs and tables over on Advanced NFL Stats, a site I sometimes like to peruse and compare the findings there to impressions I formed after having watched the games.

I’m curious to see some more hands on the site, as well as more commentary either from readers or on the site itself regarding what ideas the large database of hands might provide regarding various strategic thinking.

Let me know if you happen to visit One Billion Hands and have any opinions.

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