Evaluating Poker Players - Run Good vs Skill

Jimulacrum

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A +10BB/hour win rate is hard to suppress via bad luck. ( same thing with a -10BB/hour turning to wins ) Of course a winning player can get off his/her game and spew money. But it isn't due to bad luck alone, the causes are primarily bad play. Occasionally a wave of really good new players or really bad new players joining the game will shift the balance of power. But this should be glaringly obvious.
This has happened to me (big winner turned loser, and then back again). I was the top winner in my regular weekly cash game, with a win rate that was almost absurd for the stakes, like 30+ BB per hour at a game with a short buy-in structure. (I believe my peak was somewhere around 33 BB per hour.)

I won almost every week for like a year and a half, and it wasn't just a run of good luck. I was absolutely crushing the game, partly because I was more experienced than most of the players, and partly because the game often got into conditions that massively favored me. Specifically, we'd quickly go from a full ring with short stacks to a short-handed game with deep stacks, and we'd play short and deep pretty late into the night. My opponents did not adjust so well.

But then the game changed. A new skilled player or two got into the game (the audacity), and the host changed the buy-in structure in a way that emphasizes short-term luck. After that, the table tended to stay full all night instead of going short early, which is great for his game, but it really put a wrench in the works for me. The combination of the structure and the players was much harder for me to beat than it had been (and also more variable), and I spewed an embarrassing amount of my winnings back before I finally got back on track. One week, I was suddenly back on my game. Win rate's probably more like 10-15 BB as of the last time I played, and that's fine by me.

Anyway, my point is that it happens. My case is more technical in nature, but it just as easily could have been that I was going through a hard time at home or work, drinking too much, or whatever. Could be that any of these things are true in OP's case as well, though based on the little information I have, I'd guess the player in question is just a marine mammal on a heater.
 

Nanook

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I have witnessed more than a dozen guys come and go that for years were spewing 500k+/yr. Absolutely, without a doubt as bad as you can possibly imagine, but still they managed, at times, to go on spectacular runs. Those same guys, run good or run bad, ALWAYS and I do mean ALWAYS play bad.
 

shorticus

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Since it’s been stated already, my thought process toward this is moreso how they are winning as opposed to people actually winning. I’m asking cause I love to hear others opinions cause I try and think outside the box, and I’m always trying to expand my knowledge.

Keep the opinions and stories going. Love to hear them.
 

mike32

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You called this person a whale. Is it possible they are a good player who was not taking the game seriously because the stakes were low compared to this whale’s level of wealth? After a while said whale may have realized that losing is not fun and decided to play correctly in spite of the low stakes.
 

shorticus

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You called this person a whale. Is it possible they are a good player who was not taking the game seriously because the stakes were low compared to this whale’s level of wealth? After a while said whale may have realized that losing is not fun and decided to play correctly in spite of the low stakes.
I can’t answer the question because the scenario is made up. I’m just trying to gather opinions of why when would you start to notice the difference and how would you make the determination of heater vs improved skill.
 

Rhodeman77

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I can’t answer the question because the scenario is made up. I’m just trying to gather opinions of why when would you start to notice the difference and how would you make the determination of heater vs improved skill.

I’d be gathering information every hand. What hands ar they getting to showdown with, are they winning without showing down more. Is he calling people down more or making tough lay downs more often?

“Bad players” can play well enough most of the night but lose the few monster pots they play and have losing night after losing night because of it. Most sessions come down to a few key pots. When you are playing well and you lose those key pots you may only have a small loss or a small win. If you are playing badly and lose those key pots you are going to have a horrible night most likely. And if you are playing badly but run well in those key pots you may book a small or even decent win in spite of otherwise bad play.
 

riotouslevity

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Somewhere between 2000 and 10000 hands to validate the shift.

Don't think you can get enough samples of spots across the range without that many hands .


And like earlier replies. If you see the leaks being closed .. well then you don't need math.
 

Nanook

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Somewhere between 2000 and 10000 hands to validate the shift.

Don't think you can get enough samples of spots across the range without that many hands .


And like earlier replies. If you see the leaks being closed .. well then you don't need math.
guys....
This is really basic stuff
So called whale has been playing most every hand, limping and calling down to the river almost always for years and for years he has been running average (which means he is a big loser)
Now all of a sudden he is winning big
Seriously, just pay attention for 2 orbits. No, not 2000 hands, not 10,000 hands just try and stay with this for 20 hands (roughly 2 orbits in a full game) that is it, It isn't that tough..... How many hands has he played? How many raises pre, how often did he limp and of those hands how often does the hand go to showdown with him in it?

Answer those few super simple questions and you have the answer to your question.
 

MatB

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Here‘s a scenario and I’ll let everyone chime in. Of course I have my thoughts as well, but I want it to be a general discussion first. I’ll share my thoughts later.

You are playing in a game with regulars and there’s a consistent loser at the table. Guy is a whale. Obviously, this guy will have some nights where he wins. That’s to be expected, but the majority of the time said player will be a losing player for the night and over the long run. Suddenly, said player has a solid night. We think nothing right, but then the solid night turns into a solid week, and the week turns into a month, month turns to a quarter, etc. You get the idea.

At what point do we start to reassess and say, “wait a minute, is this guy really a whale? Is it really run good, or did this guy get better?”

This is completely hypothetical so if you’ve played with me before, don’t flatter yourself, it’s not about you. :ROFL: :ROFLMAO:



Yes.
 

riotouslevity

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guys....
This is really basic stuff
So called whale has been playing most every hand, limping and calling down to the river almost always for years and for years he has been running average (which means he is a big loser)
Now all of a sudden he is winning big
Seriously, just pay attention for 2 orbits. No, not 2000 hands, not 10,000 hands just try and stay with this for 20 hands (roughly 2 orbits in a full game) that is it, It isn't that tough..... How many hands has he played? How many raises pre, how often did he limp and of those hands how often does the hand go to showdown with him in it?

Answer those few super simple questions and you have the answer to your question.
And like earlier replies. If you see the leaks being closed .. well then you don't need math.

Thats what that sentence means
 

legonick

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Is the player playing like a donk and sucking out, or playing sanely and doing well?

If he's all-in pre. with 72o and hits a full house on the flop, there is no way that's skill, unless it's in stacking the deck....
 
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