Thursday, January 8, 2009

Why is expected value poker less fun?

Modern statistical techniques allow you to rapidly compute the odds that a particular hand will win a given show down at very high accuracy. There are tons of website that will do this for free; this website is merely the first result on Google.

Expected value poker would be a variant of the normal game that takes advantage of this capability. The main change from the normal game is that anytime there is a show down between two players the pot would be split based on the odds each player currently has to win the hand.

For example, if one player had AK suited and the other had 22 of different suits before the flop the pot would be split almost evenly, because the odds are 49.7% versus 49.6%. In the normal game, these odds are played out and one player takes the whole pot while the other is left with nothing.

Just like my plan to reformat multiple choice tests, this new game variant would reduce variation due simply to luck and thus would be more fair. Unlike my other proposal, this one strikes me as possibly less fun than the normal game. So, two questions: 1) Do you believe that this game variant would be less fun?, and 2) Why?.

Addendum: Nick Kisberg sends along a link explaining what expected value poker is.