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Sit-N-Go, A Node Theory Perspective (for Party Poker tournaments)
The BASICS of How "NOT TO LOSE" at the Party Poker Sit-n-Go Tournaments
06-JUNE-2005
By Dr. Lonnie W. Manning

Note from the Editor::  The following article is for entertainment purposes only. You should be aware that you can always lose your money if you make bad decisions, or if you suffer some bad beats. This article contains observations about No Limit Sit-n-Go tournaments experienced by the author, and while very intriguing, should not be taken as "gospel". That said, after reading the article, watch a few no limit sit-n-go's on Party Poker, think about what you have read (and what you have seen) and draw your own conclusions. I personnally asked Dr. Manning to write this article after hearing him explain this theory. I thought it might be interesting to share. Enjoy! -Greg Mallon, Editor.

Ever sat at one of these tables and watch a guy win hand after hand with good and bad hands? I first thought this was the predictable effect of playing extremely aggressive poker;  getting “heads up” against a single opponent and thereby managing/reducing the risk.  Then, I became “that lucky guy”.  I’m not an aggressive player by nature, so I can assure that wasn’t it.  Just about anything I threw out there won, and the river always seemed to prefer my cards.

 

As a physicist, we look for empirical patterns.  Now even though I am physicist, I am human and exhibit all the same psychological fear, maybe more, when confronted with an aggressive player.  But after watching and playing quite a few tournaments, I had to toss my knowledge of probability and statistics out the window in lieu of the empirical data I was experiencing.

 

Here are Manning’s lemmas for Party Poker:

 

1.       The pseudo random number generator is flawed

2.       Skewed probability Nodes exist that decrease or increase the win probability

a.       There are static and cyclic Nodes

Lemma 1.

            Any man-made random event generator is not truly random.  My hypothesis is that it follows some sort of attractor.  For example, a dripping faucet event taken individually appears to be random in time and width. However, it has been shown, that over time, a pattern evolves.  This could explain lemma 2.

Lemma 2.

A person sitting in a positive static Node will win consistently. Conversely, a person with pocket Aces in a static negative Node will lose.

Cyclical Nodes: ever wonder why you get pocket Aces/AK suited etc and you lose?  You are in a Cyclical Negative Node.  Conversely, if you see you might have won the last hand had you stayed in with your Q 5 offsuit, play the next hand to the river, you are in the Cyclical Positive Node which by my estimates is about 3 hands wide.

I have one other postulate that I can’t decouple from the actual psychology of the game.

The algorithm is not deterministic for each hand.—the cards are not shuffled ahead of time but rather dynamically and has a direct feedback to aggressiveness.  Obviously you can’t decouple that without seeing all the cards before they are dealt and the aggressive betting has its own psychological effect – most of us fold.

Now before I adopted these lemmas, I would randomly win tournaments. Now I can place at least 3rd and get some of my $s back.

The trick is to figure out if you are in a Maximum Negative Node or a Maximum positive Node.  If you are in Max negative Node, put your settings on post blind and fold—you’ll do better than playing and you won’t waste your time.  Depending on the other folks, you might actually make it to the money round.

A skeptical friend of mine, actually experienced this phenomena when he got absolutely nothing to play the entire tournament.  I think the highest he had was a low pair and AK offsuit a few times.

If you have identified the guy in Max Positive Node, hope he is to your right.  If he goes in, fold.  More often than not the Node sort of smears itself across a section of the table.  If you find yourself on one side of the table with a low chip count and all the other guys on the other side, you’ve done well.  Wait for them to make a mistake against each other. As the number of players decrease, the smearing of the Node might include you.  You should be able to make it to 3rd maybe 2nd.

Other odd things happen so often that its really hard to attribute this to paranoia alone.

How often do you get the same hand back in different suits?

How often do you get the same hand throughout the tournament?

The PP River card we all hear folks complain about would of course fall under lemma 2.

I’ve often wondered if there is a server fail over algorithm so that when it can’t access the RNG it regurgitates the last hand with suit changes or simply swaps hole cards from the previous set of hands.

Having said all this, I still think good players will not suffer as bad as poor players.  You are still dealing with probability, skewed as it may be. So if you manage your risks, you’ll do better than the Node you are in.

Oh yeah, ring games, move to another table.

Disclaimer:

I could just be paranoid since a human isn’t dealing and the “Nodes” may simply be  manifestations of that person’s luck that day.

 
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