Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Let’s Hear It for the Noise

The Effect of Noise on a SignalSometime last summer, an enterprising person somewhere began placing a single comment -- in Chinese -- on one of my old posts every night at a certain time. Took me a couple or three times to notice the pattern, at which point I was curious enough to fuss with an online translation site for a minute or two to learn more. Couldn’t quite make out the entire meaning, but was able to figure out the comment had something to do with one of those many, heavily-advertised products designed to help treat erectile dysfunction.

It was anticlimactic, you might say.

Since my post was not, in fact, about erectile dysfunction, I thought it reasonable to delete the comment. I didn’t have comment moderation turned on at the time, so it would appear briefly on the site until I checked my email, got the notice of the comment, and deleted it. A minor annoyance, and eventually the comments stopped appearing.

Shortly after, I began to see a couple more of these non sequiturs regularly appearing as comments on other posts, and so finally decided it was time to turn the comment moderation on for good. As anyone who has commented on the blog over the last four or five months knows, you now have to wait for me to publish the comment for it to appear. I hope this extra step doesn’t prevent anyone from giving their feedback. I check my email frequently, so usually there isn’t much of a wait for comments to appear. And generally I publish ’em all (although I won’t always if they contain a superfluous link out).

Meanwhile, the spammy comments continue to arrive. I’m now rejecting these at a rate of about ten per day. They cover a wide range of non-pokery topics, are written in numerous languages (real and invented), and are primarily authored by our good friend “Anonymous” (natch). Mostly futile, these attempts. And still not much of a bother, really, as it is easy to reject several comments at once with just a few clicks.

As I mentioned, I get an email notification every time a comment is made, and so one kind of sour effect of all the spammy comments is the fact that my email box is now routinely filled with these non-messages. A minor bummer, actually, to check in and see new items waiting, but instead of finding real messages discover this applesauce instead.

Such has been the case pretty much ever since we all got our first email accounts back in the mid-90s, I suppose, with “junk e-mail” almost always coming at a higher clip than actual communications. We set up filters and try to manage the situation, thereby finding ways to endure all of the static. Such is our world, I guess, full of “noise” that we mostly accept as necessary accompaniment to the elusive “signals” we seek and deliver.

Rush PokerI’ve yet to have the chance to check out this new “Rush Poker” over at Full Tilt Poker, but from the summaries I’ve been reading it sounds like part of its appeal might be to filter out some of the “noise” one occasionally encounters at the online tables. Sounds like a truly novel concept, actually. If I understand it correctly, players join not a single table, but a “pool” of players that get distributed and redistributed constantly in order to keep all in action at all times. The moment a player folds, he or she is whisked to another table and dealt a new hand (against new opponents), so no down time. Wild.

For more on the Rush Poker concept, including some evaluation and discussion of consequences, you can check out the summaries/responses by F-Train, TripJax, and AlCantHang. Folks are buzzing about Rush Poker a lot on the forums, too, but I prefer reading blog posts about it. (You know, less noise.)

You can also head over to the Full Tilt website for a full explanation of how the game works, a list of Frequently Asked Questions, or a quick video tutorial with Phil Gordon.

Of course, as I assume some who’ve tried Rush Poker may already be ready to argue, a lot of the “noise” that is being filtered out is in fact what makes poker most fun and challenging -- e.g., the ability to learn opponents’ tendencies, to pick up patterns, to communicate. That is to say, not “noise” at all, but the game’s many “signals” that seem as though they’ve been mostly muted in this variation.

Am still curious to check it out, though. And to hear others’ feedback regarding Rush Poker. Just don’t link out to a Viagra retailer when leaving your comment.

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Anonymous BJ Nemeth said...

I haven't thought about email spam as a problem in a long time. 10-15 years ago, I figured the problem would plague us indefinitely, but I probably only get one or two truly random spam emails a week.

I wouldn't count your spam comments in this category, since the emails are genuine, even if the comments are not. To me, email spam is something from somebody who doesn't know me to pitch a product, service, or chain letter.

I plan to take my shot at Full Tilt's Rush Poker today, and I have to say, I'm excited to try it. I've never been comfortable playing online poker (aside from charity tourneys), because I fail to take the game seriously. It's not boredom per se, but it just feels less "real" to me compared to a live game -- and my skill deteriorates accordingly. (Yes, I've tried multi-tabling before, but it isn't the answer for me.)

Rush Poker might be enough to hold my attention and get me to focus and make proper poker decisions. We'll see.

1/20/2010 12:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I kind of mirror the commentor above by saying I'd like to try it out and only play a single table.

I've tried playin a single table before and I get bored out of my little mind so playing almost 300 hands per hour playing one table would be pretty awesome IMO

1/20/2010 2:48 PM  
Blogger Snuffy said...

So I have this great link selling Viagara. Can I share it? :)

I took my shot at Ruch Poker today and I really thought I was going to hate it. I was wrong. Love it so far. One thing is its really easy to get Iron Man through it. I played 2 tables for just under an hour today at the 5c/10c game and earned the 50 fpps I needed.

Look out for my blog post later today with a review.

1/20/2010 2:50 PM  
Blogger Short-Stacked Shamus said...

Thanks, guys... this is awesome -- so far yr outnumbering the guys peddling erections on demand by 3-to-1! Looking forward to all of your thoughts on RP.

1/20/2010 3:11 PM  
Blogger BWoP said...


One thing that has helped me to mitigate comment spam is not permitting anonymous comments.

I checked out RP yesterday. I played a few quick sessions at the baby stakes. I'm generally a TAG player, so this really helped to alleviate the boredom factor. There were very few multi-way pots (which is quite rare for micro-stakes NLHE) and it was pretty easy to steal the blinds. Also, position becomes even more significant, particularly when most of the other players at the table have already clicked away.

1/20/2010 4:15 PM  
Blogger Short-Stacked Shamus said...

Thanks, BWoP... yea, I thought of disallowing our friend Anon. from commenting, though didn't want to add hassle for those without Google accounts, OpenID, etc. Might have to do so, tho'.

Thanks also for the RP tips! I'm anticipating some sort of report of my own here in the not-too-distant future.

1/20/2010 4:36 PM  
Blogger Sean G said...

I think I'm in a serious minority when it comes to not liking Rush Poker.

Let me be clear: I think it's a great idea and will be good for poker. I just don't think it's good for me.

I play small-ball and rely on building a very LAG image, and using said image to get players to stack off to me with their medium-strength hands. This approach was basically worthless when I played, as I was either winning or losing a lot of $0.70 pots. As has been mentioned, very few flops are multi-way... I can't think of one that I participated in that wasn't heads-up.

However, I'll play other games and be just fine. So I am excited to see it and hope that it will boost the action across the board. So far, it appears it will be a lot more popular than the whole "Matrix" concept.

1/20/2010 8:43 PM  
Blogger jakecartier3 said...

rush poker is going to be awesome!!!

check my blog:

1/20/2010 11:29 PM  
Blogger TripJax said...

Definitely don't mind you quoting my posts and linking back to them. By the way, you are my next poker podcast pimpage on my iTunes podcast series I just started recently. Coming soon to a browser near you...

1/21/2010 9:13 PM  
Blogger TripJax said...

Yeah, erm, I'm an idiot. I meant to leave this comment on LittleAcornMan's post because he quoted a paragraph of mine in addition to a link. Sorry to confuse, but thanks for linking me!

1/21/2010 9:28 PM  

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