The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.1200  Monday, 16 June 2003

From:           Larry Weiss <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 13 Jun 2003 13:11:50 -0400
Subject: 14.1177 Great Statistical vs Human Sonnet 146 Crux
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1177 Great Statistical vs Human Sonnet 146 Crux

Claude Caspar wrote:

>I have never known a successful player to bluff
>irrationally (at least not very often).  Bluffing, like
>nondeceptive play, follows certain patterns.
>On the one hand, mathematically, it is not easy to even program a
>routine to generate a random number- some claim it is impossible
>in the absolute sense.

It is certainly possible for all practical purposes.  See

>I used term bluff in the broadest sense, but even in the
>strictest sense you propose, I don't see how it can ever be
>rational as long as so much is unknown.

A great deal is always unknown, but that doesn't mean that good players
don't bluff in accordance with quantifiable factors -- the apparent
strength of their hands, the likely strength of their opponent's hand,
the relative sizes of their stacks, the tightness of the opponent's
play, etc, etc.  Even "feel" or the "fear factor" can be quantified in
terms of the opponent's historical behavior (which is mostly what a good
player goes on in deciding to try to buy a pot).  I agree that it would
be hard to program  for tells, but I am not sure they are a significant
factor in most cases.

>The real advantage of professionals is their deep pockets &
>discipline- amateurs can't afford to loose.  All you need to do
>to rattle a civilian is keep raising the stakes.

What can be more quantifiable than risk tolerance?

>he skill is in knowing yourself, placing the best bet & reading
>your table.  Money management is more important than skill,

Money management is highly quantifiable.

>I play with professional gamblers often & my experience is that
>the less they premeditate the better they play.

True, but what you are seeing is rapid computing of all the factors, not
disregard of rational factors.  A pro can calculate so quickly that even
he isn't aware he is doing it.  When you can see the wheels turning, he
is off his game.

>Since we won't play I will tell you a secret, my secret.  I tend
>to blot out the table, knowing that odds are not a factor.  Yes,
>over the years, infinite years, reality will approximate the
>odds, but is never obligated to conform to theory.  The real
>world has rough edges that skew theoretical assessments.  There
>is no certainty, a discovery of modern physics.  So, I play
>against myself!  The advantage is knowing my odds, my nature-
>this immunizes me against all ploys.  Now, I am not oblivious to
>my surroundings, but just as I play my ticks to the crowd, know I
>am being played, too.  Shakespeare is a master of such play
>within a play, mirror upon mirror.
>It would be unfair to say that my retirement 25 years ago proves
>anything- it may be just luck.  In fact, upon reconsidering, you
>are welcome in any game I am in... I know more about your
>preconceptions than you known mine!

If you really disregard the probabilities (and I don't believe for a
minute that you do) I would be glad to meet you anytime  If your play is
random, you will beat yourself.  If it is neither random nor rational
(in terms of evaluating the probabilities), I will eventually discern
your patterns.

What do you think you know about my preconceptions, and where does that
knowledge come from?  Are you extrapolating from what I write about
Shakespeare?  If so, I would be very interested in following your
thought processes.  Or are you drawing conclusions from the two obvious
bluffing situations I mentioned in my post?  That would be catastrophic.

But what has any of this go to do with Shakespeare?

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