Monday, March 21, 2011

Wot’s... Uh the Deal?

Wot’s... Uh the Deal?Spent yesterday afternoon mostly watching hoops while tracking some of the Sunday action on PokerStars.

Had that Daniel Negreanu-Viktor “Isildur1” Blom “SuperStar Showdown” up for its duration, and was certainly intrigued to see how it played out, with Blom “knocking out” Negreanu by taking his entire $150,000 before they could even complete the 2,500 hands. (See Change100’s recap for details.)

Meanwhile, I was also following the Sunday Warm-Up yesterday while watching all of the ACC teams -- UNC, Duke, and Florida State -- win their games. Unsurprisingly, some hoops talk ended up sneaking into my recap post. Found its way into the table talk, too, as it happened.

When the Warm-Up got down to four players (the “Final Four,” natch), those remaining agreed to discuss terms for a possible chop and the tourney was paused. Not too unusual, although more often these deals happen with only two or three left.

At that point two of the players were well out in front -- one with over 21 million chips, the other with 16 million -- while the other two were both sitting with between 6-6.5 million. I believe the blinds were 200,000/400,000 at the time. As generally happens, the moderator came on and proposed what are usually referred to as “chip chop” numbers.

In the case of the Sunday Warm-Up, $10,000 is taken out of the prize pool, and then a calculation is made to redistribute the remaining prize money. In this case, there was about $413K left to be split between the four. The “chip chop” involves taking out last-place money and giving it to each player (here that was fourth-place money, or $56,703.40), then redistributing the remaining cabbage according to the percentage of chips each player has at the time the deal is made.

This method ensures that everyone gets more than what they’d get if he or she were to be the next player eliminated, although some believe it results in some less than fair distributions, especially if one player happens to have a big chip lead at the time.

What is ICM?It should be noted that this “chip chop” method is not the same as the “ICM” (Independent Chip Model) method sometimes used for deal-making, a method some believe to be fairer. I’m not going to try to sort out the distinctions between the two models here, but here’s a poster over on Two Plus Two -- one who prefers the ICM model -- who does a good job explaining how they are different, if you’re curious.

Anyhow, last night when these four started looking at the proposed “chip chop” figures, the big stacks liked them, but the short stacks didn’t. Ultimately they weren’t able to compromise and play continued. When one was eliminated the remaining three tried again, but once more the short stack kept asking for more, and again no deal was struck. It was only when they reached heads-up that a chop was finally made.

Nothing too unusual about all that, really. For a variety of reasons, deals don’t always go down. However, a couple of things popped up during the failed deals that stood out.

2011 NCAA TournamentOne was that “hoops talk” I mentioned above. With four left, one of the short stacks -- the one most insistent on wanting more from the deal -- didn’t help matters much by mentioning how he’d lost a lot betting NCAA basketball yesterday and as a result needed more money. Guy even went so far as to say he’d place the extra dough on San Diego State in their upcoming Sweet 16 game versus Connecticut and share his winnings with the others.

Serious or not, the offer wasn’t received well. In fact, it had the effect of making the others think he was pretty much out to lunch, thus hurting the chances of any sort of compromise occurring.

Something else came up in the chat last night that also perhaps represented the kind of miscommunication that made a deal less likely to go down. Both of the chip leaders kept referring to the proposed numbers as “ICM numbers” even though that wasn’t the method being used. They’d insist that the figures proposed by the moderator were “the official ICM numbers,” adding “there is no way u gonna get more than ICM says this is the most fair model.”

The basketball-betting short stack kept coming back with his own figures, noting “me friend say ICM wrong,” and it actually wasn’t until the second round of negotiations (with three left) that the moderator clarified that the proposed figures were not, in fact, derived using ICM.

For those of us reporting on it all, the deals can sometimes be a bit tedious. Sometimes, though, the deal talk becomes the most interesting part of the final table. In any case, I am often amazed at the wildly varying degrees of preparedness and/or knowledge players demonstrate when it comes to the specifics of deal-making.

Occasionally causes weird stuff to happen. Just like in the NCAAs.

Was caught between that post title and a Zappa lyric -- "That’s what’s the deal we’re dealing in" -- but decided on the Floyd one. Such a pleasant tune...

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Blogger GeorgeX said...

I believe Daniel posted the 14 biggest hands (generally all over 20k) and Blom took 12 of them. But looking at just those hands it seems like Blom had some remarkable luck, often hitting the turn or river when Daniel was favored pre flop and the chips were essentially committed.

I am an SDSU alum. If I had to bet my life on it, hate to say it, but I would give the point and take UConn. Will be rooting for the Aztecs though, they are a class act.

3/21/2011 3:00 PM  

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