the dorbel daily

Monday 19 December 2011

If Early Is Good, How Early Is Early?

Gallon Jug describes players on Play65, presumably in money games, doubling as soon as the game starts and appearing to do very well by doing so. What is actually happening here? We can start by looking back at a favourite hustler's proposition from the old days when they were lucky enough to hook a fish. "I tell you what", he would say, "I'll let you have 1-1 as the opening roll every game. However, we have to start with me owning the cube on 2." On roll in this position, the hustler is only around 42% to win the game, but he is hoping that his better play and most importantly his cube ownership will pull him up to being a small favourite. Cube ownership is so valuable for two reasons. Firstly if things go the way of the fish, the hustler will stay in the game until the end. Fish has to get to 100% to claim the points. Hustler however, only has to get to around 75% to turn an optimal cube to 4. He has only to climb from 42% to 75%, whereas Fish has to climb from 58% to 100%, a longer ladder. Secondly, the greater part of the Fish's wins will come at the two level, but a lot of the Hustler's wins will be at the 4 level.
What about Play65? Well if players at all levels below world class are reluctant doublers, which I believe to be true, they are even more reluctant redoublers, so cube ownership for them is less valuable than it is for the Hustler in our example above. Moreover, Play65 is a money site and they make their money by taking 10% of every settled game. The player who wins pays this. Thus if at the end of a game at a dollar a point, you win $2 you collect $1-80. This has a very considerable effect on your take point. Normally as you know you need 25% cubeless to have a marginal take, but on a site with a 10% rake, you need 26.32%. It gets worse too. GJ doesn't say so, but the site allows you to cap the amount that you can lose in any one game. If it is capped at twice the stake, then they will double at any advantage at all. Why not if cube ownership is valueless? If on the other hand you don't follow this policy and wait for a more normal doubling point, you lose equity on each turn. If the game is capped at 4 times the stake, the player owning the cube at 2 should redouble immediately they become the favourite, particularly as it is easier than usual to lose your market anyway. If they do this and you don't, they gain.
Of course if they see that you are as aware of these wrinkles as them and can also play the checkers fairly well, they quickly move on to look for other fish. The key skill in any money game is to select your opponent carefully.
Can you make money on a site with a rake as high as 10%? Yes, if you are prepared to be completely ruthless, can play very well and concentrate very hard for hours at a stretch. Ideally you cheat as well by using a computer. Wouldn't the site monitor the games and close the account of anybody doing this? No, why would they? They don't want to ban a player who plays for long periods every day, because they get their money whoever wins the game. Occasionally a cheat will be outed by the other players, but not by the site itself.
Enjoy the game and by all means play for money, but at a 10% rake, I can't advise it to anybody.
Until tomorrow, have fun!

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