Get It Quietly

Football, bollocks and a bit of poker if you're lucky.

Location: Enfield, London, United Kingdom

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

The Butterfly Effect

Someone posted with this title on the forum the other day. I was hoping for something interesting but they were talking about internet shuffling. What I think is more interesting is the way the slightest change can affect everything, which is the whole point of chaos theory after all.

Take the now infamous hand where Josh Arieh hits his flush against Harry D (and proceeds to give the now infamous rub-down). If he doesn't find a heart on the last card then he's out, Harry has a ton of chips and obviously everything from there on in is completely different. Anything could have happened. But what factors had combined to place a heart on the top of the deck as the dealer turned it over ? Just about everything prior to that. Who called instead of folded, the order in which the dealer gathered in every mucked card since the table formed, the slightest change to any previous shuffle ever - everything. Which all boils down to saying that if any one player at any stage of the tournament had called instead of folded, or taken a couple of seconds more or less over a decision, or thrown his cards away at a slightly different angle, this would have been akin to starting the tournament all over again from that point. There's absolutely no such thing as "If I'd have done X, then Y" - unless that action would have resulted in the end of the tournament.

Curious, but relevant ? Only when someone else pointed out that anyone who had invested $500 with Greg Raymer a few years ago would have won $35,000 last May. Relevant to me because I had an opportunity to make this investment, but passed it up. Doh ! Or not ? If my additional investment causes Greg to change the tiniest, slightest thing he ever does at a poker table, it's Game On from the start all over again. Instead of banging my head on the wall crying "35 thousand dollars !" I can walk away whistling in the full knowledge that if I had bought in, everything would have been different anyway.

Although in hindsight it probably was a good investment opportunity :-)


Blogger redsimon said...

Probably a MUCH better investment than that PEP Andy :)

8:04 PM  
Blogger Andy_Ward said...

Ouch, I never thought of it like that !


8:12 PM  
Blogger chaos said...

With my handle I should add something here but I'm not sure what.. Perhaps tomorrow with a bit less wine in me I might..

1:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I could go on forever about this butterfly effect but when my mind wanders in this direction, I always say that it’s a miracle that I exist at all. How many longshots all came up to ensure that I’m sitting here at my pc ruminating about such things ?
Not to be critical, but deciding what would have happened if you had taken a piece of Greg Raymer is way down the scale in the overall scheme of things.
Not that I wouldn’t be kicking myself also !
Sorry if I’m rambling Andy, but this is a good place to ramble.

On a related topic (courtesy of Robert Frost)

Somewhere ages and ages hence:
tow roads diverged in a wood, and I --
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.


5:51 PM  
Blogger Andy_Ward said...

Interesting fact : in the Simpsons when Marge's great aunt dies and they all go to the funeral, that's the poem she's reading in the video will. Homer fast forwards through it.

Well, quite interesting.

8:25 PM  
Blogger chaos said...

On the subject of chaos theory in sport, it has been something that has particularly in football. E,g without Maradonna's hand of god there would have been no fantastic second goal. I also wonder where managers draw the line at laying the blame - the mistakes that led to the goal conceded.

On another rather amusing note someone commented on the fact that calling or folding will likely lead to a different flop. It is something I had always wondered but was never sure whether the flop was generated at the start of hand; in terms of security it wouldn't make sense to generate it this way. Anyway I'd convinced my self that the seed would be different when I called, raised or folded. So consequently when I folded a marginal hand and it hit I habitually reminded myself that I wouldn't have hit this flop. This imo is an aid to decision-making: we don't get upset when we fold and hit and so we don't feel the need to call to avoid being upset. That said I still haven't seen anything official to confirm when the flop is generated

A year or so ago, after a few days of intense on-line play, I played live in a local comp. In one hand I pased a small pair only to find that I would have hit. My first thought was 'it doesn't matter it wouldn't have come if I'd called'. In brain time what seemed an hour had passed before I realised that 'yes it would have still come if I'd called'. Disturbing.


4:11 PM  

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