Tuesday, July 08, 2014

The Partial Information Game

Was just following the coverage of the start of Day 2a/2b of the World Series of Poker Main Event and was distracted momentarily by all of the tweets reporting how WSOP Executive Director Ty Stewart got things going with a request that all first-time Main Event players stand up to be recognized.

I’m guessing it was a heart-in-the-right-place kind of request, one designed to highlight just how many new players came to participate in poker’s most prestigious event this year. But the rapid-fire responses highlighted a perhaps obvious consequence of the first-timers identifying themselves in such a way.

“The @WSOP has all the first times stand up, all the pros be very thankful. #WillAllTheFishPleaseStandUp #WSOP” tweeted Remko Rinkema. “The fish actually tagged themselves this time,” said AlCantHang, while Chris Tessaro added “No word if they then applied bulls eyes.”

A couple of pros chimed in amid my timeline. “Thank you @WSOP for getting all the first timers to stand up and identify themselves,” said Mizzi. “Now I know who to punish #3barrelbluffs.” Steve O’Dwyer, meanwhile, looked at the situation from the first-timers’ point of view. “How much equity did @wsopSUITd [Stewart] just cost the WSOP first timers by asking them to stand and identify themselves?” he wondered.

As I read the tweets I began to think about the possibility of experienced players standing as a kind of early “bluff” suggesting to their opponents they were less savvy than they actually were. Then Bluff’s Lance Bradley articulated the same thought: “Wonder how many non-first timers, local regs stood up to purposely misidentify themselves as first timers. #LevelsOnLevels.”

Another worthwhile point made by several was to note that just because a player was in the Main Event for the first time, that didn’t necessarily make the player a novice.

Still, interesting to consider just how the players who remained seated interpreted the situation when watching their tablemates stand up before play began today.

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