Points: 14

There is, genuinely, such a thing as luck but not the kind that wishing influences.

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After 2 votes the winner is ...
RationalMadman
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Points: 7
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Round 1
Published:
Things happen.

No, seriously... That's the first thing to accept. Whether or not we are in a simulated reality or an authentic, chaotic reality it is irrelevant to this debate. Even if it happens to be that there is a parallel universe where everything that could happen is happening in one of them, you still can't escape which one you're in and this is the key to what luck is and how the undeniable truth of it happens.

Whenever the less probable thing happens, luck is occurring. The more you have, the less luck matters in all senses of 'have' and 'more' but you never can quite eliminate it unless you're an omnipotent, omniscient God and since those within reality are not the God of the reality, then luck being 'real' need only be determined by the finite, limited being within reality AKA that which is known to be real.

Notice that luck is more brutal the younger you are? If you're born rich, poor, raped as a kid, blessed as a child because kids with cancer get a lot from charity campaigns, it's all luck and what you notice is the older you are, the more you'd had, seen, done etc the less power luck has over your outcome but it's never fully eliminated. Here is why, and no it's not just wisdom and ability to avoid luck hitting you hard:

The less 'runs of events' that occur in a series, the more potential there is for any and all less-probable-outcomes to have more power over the person/people undergoing them.

If you understand the idea that investing in many shares is smarter than putting all your eggs in one basket you already fully comprehend this.



The size (n) of a statistical sample affects the standard error for that sample. Because n is in the denominator of the standard error formula, the standard error decreases as n increases. It makes sense that having more data gives less variation (and more precision) in your results.


Distributions of times for 1 worker, 10 workers, and 50 workers.
Distributions of times for 1 worker, 10 workers, and 50 workers.
Suppose X is the time it takes for a clerical worker to type and send one letter of recommendation, and say X has a normal distribution with mean 10.5 minutes and standard deviation 3 minutes. The bottom curve in the preceding figure shows the distribution of X, the individual times for all clerical workers in the population. According to the Empirical Rule, almost all of the values are within 3 standard deviations of the mean (10.5) — between 1.5 and 19.5.

Now take a random sample of 10 clerical workers, measure their times, and find the average,
each time. Repeat this process over and over, and graph all the possible results for all possible samples. The middle curve in the figure shows the picture of the sampling distribution of

Notice that it’s still centered at 10.5 (which you expected) but its variability is smaller; the standard error in this case is

(quite a bit less than 3 minutes, the standard deviation of the individual times).

Looking at the figure, the average times for samples of 10 clerical workers are closer to the mean (10.5) than the individual times are. That’s because average times don’t vary as much from sample to sample as individual times vary from person to person.

Now take all possible random samples of 50 clerical workers and find their means; the sampling distribution is shown in the tallest curve in the figure. The standard error of


You can see the average times for 50 clerical workers are even closer to 10.5 than the ones for 10 clerical workers. By the Empirical Rule, almost all of the values fall between 10.5 – 3(.42) = 9.24 and 10.5 + 3(.42) = 11.76. Larger samples tend to be a more accurate reflections of the population, hence their sample means are more likely to be closer to the population mean — hence less variation.

Why is having more precision around the mean important? Because sometimes you don’t know the population mean but want to determine what it is, or at least get as close to it as possible. How can you do that? By taking a large random sample from the population and finding its mean. You know that your sample mean will be close to the actual population mean if your sample is large, as the figure shows (assuming your data are collected correctly).


Variance is one of those statistical concepts which most people struggle to grasp, especially when it comes to connecting it to poker. In this post my goal is to help you understand poker variance and cover three simple adjustments you can make to your game to lower your variance.

What is poker variance and why should I care?
Variance in poker is nothing more than the difference between your true win rate in the long run compared to your actual win rate in the short run. To explain this in another way, lets say you have a win rate of 5bb/100 at 10NL. This means that over 100 hands you are expected to win 50c. If instead of winning 50c you lose $1.50 then the variance for this sample size is $2.

In many ways variance is the most important concept in poker because it is the element of luck that gets the fish coming back to the table. Think about it this way. If you had never played chess in your life but had to take part in the World Chess Championship you would lose every game you played, no matter how many games you are involved in. In a game which has no luck factor skill is the only determining factor. What makes poker one of the most interesting games in the world in my opinion is the combination of skill and a significant element of luck, especially in the short run. Without variance poker wouldn’t survive. You have your doubts? Ask yourself, how many of the chess tournaments I described above would you enter on your own accord before giving up?


The three adjustments that will lower your variance instantly

Reconsider the types of games you are playing
There are certain formats of poker which have higher variance than others. The main reasons for this higher variance are usually a combination of the number of players at the table and the overall structure of the game. Take hyper-turbos as an example. In hyper-turbos the blind structure is super quick and you are forced to play marginal or weak hands in order to stay alive in the tournament. Knowing when to shove and with what ranges requires skill but many of these spots are forced and result in multiple 50/50 flips. Without having room to maneuver the overall skill factor of the game goes down which in turn raises the variance.

When it comes to cash game poker 6-max has a higher variance than full-ring simply because you are forced to play a wider range of hands in order to cover the expense of the blinds. Being forced to play more hands in more marginal spots requires a higher skill level to make up the difference. If a higher skill level is required to maintain the same win rate at 6-max compared to full-ring then you will be lowering your variance if you switch to full-ring.


Stop knowingly committing yourself in break-even or -ev spots

There are a number of common spots in both tournament and cash game poker which are in their nature break-even or close to it. The tough part is when you are in the moment (especially if you are on tilt or been card dead for an extended period of time) it can be very difficult to identify these spots. Don’t get me wrong, there are definitely times when it is worth gambling and you should take that 50/50 flip but doing so over and over again will result in higher variance.

Lets look at some examples. The most common example of this is when you are dealt AK and face aggression from a nit. I see that most players are more than happy to ship the 100BB+ stack into the 3 bet hoping that the player doesn’t open KK or AA. Against most nits, especially in tournament poker you are facing an extremely tight range. As part of my analysis of my online poker game over a 500k sample I found that 70% of the time if I got to showdown against a nit he was holding JJ+. Getting AK all in vs a JJ+ range is going to cost you a lot of money in the long run.

Another example of such a spot is when you are dealt a mid pocket pair in a tournament and face an all-in from a player that started the hand with 12+ BBs, Against this range in a vacuum you are going to be flipping or way behind the vast majority of the time.

These examples are extremely general and are only meant to make you consider the spots where you are constantly committing yourself. You may find that you are being over aggressive with plenty of chips and finding yourself in way too many flips, resulting in extreme variance.

Drop the number of tables you are playing and focus on increasing your edge

Your edge (also known as your win rate) has a direct affect on your poker variance. Dropping the number of tables you are playing at any one time is the most dramatic way to increase your win rate as it allows you to better focus on each hand, reduces the chances that you will tilt and increases your showdown win rate.

If you are skeptical try dropping down a few tables for a month and see the affect on your standard deviation. Variance is directly influenced by your standard deviation. Lower your standard deviation and you will be lowering your variance.
Published:
It depends what you mean by "luck". Technically there is no such thing as luck, yet it is a concept that is based in reality such as time or space. That is to say, there is a distance between two objects, but space as a physical material does not exist in the way most people understand it just as you may beat seemingly impossible odds but there is no force acting on probability that causes this. I am an extreme determinist however, and I don't even believe that probability exists. Everything, in my view, is part of a chain of causality and the only thing that can break that chain (and also be at the beginning and end of it simultaneously) is the fundamental essence of reality which there is no word for or way of describing accurately in human languages. All physical processes occur because they are "pushed" into being by other physical processes, physical reality exists as an interdependent sphere of influences and conditions which is governed by objective mechanical principles, and thus everything must be how it is, and can be no other way. In order to prove that luck is actually a thing, you must prove that my entire mechanistic worldview is wrong.
Round 2
Published:
At the core, even a mechanist's universe is random, in fact the same thing is true for the simulated one. The nature of reality is irrelevant to the debate. The first things, the 'real things behind the randomness' are thamselves random in both origin and nature of operating.

Luck is:

the force that causes things, especially good things, to happen to you by chance and not as a result of your own efforts or abilities
a combination of circumstances, events, etc., operating by chance to bring good or ill to a person:

Those 2 combined would make a good complete definition of luck in my eyes. Luck is when things that surprise or shock happen and that indeed requires incomplete information. What Con is saying is if you knew everything about the specific shuffling of a specific deck, there'd be no luck in the cards that come out (although there'd still be luck in how the human minds around you work if it's Poker but I won't go into that for this debate in too much depth). Ultimately there is luck because of entropy and I know, I know you will say even though electrons can be in 2 places at once being totally random in which of the 2 they are in and even though energy transfers and space spreads out seemingly random, you/Con are going to tell me it's randomness operating along a line of inevitable outcome that you cannot escape. What I would like to remind Con is that it's luck anything exists, including the organisation of the deterministic reality in the first place. The very rules it operates by, the organisation in and of itself is luck to even exist and be what it is, how it is, when it is etc. That is all luck. The complete information would make a lot less appear lucky or 'be luck at all' to an omniscient entity but even then they are enslaved to the outcome. Omnipotence is impossible because you're enslaved to what you are at the very least.
Published:
At the core, even a mechanist's universe is random
Nope. Things are the way they are because they have to be, it's called cause and effect. Nothing just happens.

The nature of reality is irrelevant to the debate
Wrong, it's central. If the world is made of conceptual binary wanky doodles, then things are indeed random and probability is a thing. But if the world is physical and the physical is not just an illusion (even if this is a simulation physicality is a real thing but I could be here all night trying to explain that so I'll leave it at this for now) then everything that happens is cause and effect and thus probability is merely a word we use to gauge the likelihood of what will happen based on what we know or don't know. Luck is not a force or a real extant thing, it is the shadow of a conceptual shadow of human ignorance.

although there'd still be luck in how the human minds around you work if it's Poker 
I thought you understood that free will is bullshit. The human brain is a mechanical object that happens to be self aware and is just as much a part of the same row of dominoes that everything else in the universe is.

I know you will say even though electrons can be in 2 places at once
Have I not already explained my views on field theory to you at least to some extent? I don't believe in magic teleporting particles, I believe in field perturbations and oscillations which human physicists obsessively and frantically feel the need to quantify as if they are separate objects rather than excitements of the same field and thus we create such paradoxes within our own mathematically contrived theories of what's going on.

What I would like to remind Con is that it's luck anything exists
This is the only thing you've said so far that has gotten to me at all. But when you think about this problem it can be resolved quite easily. Just as easily as you can say that it's luck because there is no ascertainable cause for it, I can say that their must be some cause for it because it exists, and it's existence is deterministically inevitable because somehow it was caused.



Round 3
Published:
If you have incomplete information (any being that's not omniscient, then there will inevitably be times where you have to consider probability instead of possibility. For these beings (almost every being other than an omniscient God himself/herself/itself) is going to experience real, actual luck because luck revolves around the less probable outcome (to you) being that one that happens) before your eyes or whatever).

For the being that knows all there is in reality, there is still the luck in that despite the determinism, it is pure luck which original things there were and while you could KNOW all that could come to be, you would always experience luck in that as you thought further into the future, the thing you expected based on what you knew ends up being the thing that doesn't actually happen due to interactions between things you didn't foresee. 

The argument back to this may be about an infinitely intelligent being but my point is that for anything other than an infinitely intelligent, infinitely knowledgeable being there is luck and that for a being like that, it is pure luck that they were that intelligent and omniscient in the first place.

Luck is genuinely there but it is experienced. The argument against this is that 'but it was inevitable' and I don't deny that, but the experience of luck is such that no matter how much planning one does, circumstances can and will always happen against what one planned for and predicted or ridiculously in favour of it ('bad' and 'good' luck). 

An experience isn't 'not real', an experience itself is part of the mechanistic universe/reality. So, while luck itself is not operating via luck, the unexpected happening really is happening to those analysing and my real point here is we can say 'but if we were smarter or though harder we'd not have lost this job interview or promotion etc etc' but in life ultimately there's maximum limits to how smart or great at handling the unexpected you can be and inevitable 'rolling with the punches' is occurring for ALL beings.


Published:
What you don't get is that even if luck exists on some abstract level it still doesn't exist. Luck is not a physical force, field or object so it doesn't actually exist.

If you have incomplete information (any being that's not omniscient, then there will inevitably be times where you have to consider probability instead of possibility. For these beings (almost every being other than an omniscient God himself/herself/itself) is going to experience real, actual luck because luck revolves around the less probable outcome (to you) being that one that happens) before your eyes or whatever).
Let's just assume that all of that is correct. Luck is still an abstract concept and not something that "exists" beyond what someone experiences as luck.

For the being that knows all there is in reality, there is still the luck in that despite the determinism, it is pure luck which original things there were 
That's just the way it was, you could say "but there could easily just have been nothing" but apparently not because here we are. The luck part is only an interpretation of it, in reality what is simply is. There is no way to dispute this unless you want to say things aren't what they are.

Luck is genuinely there but it is experienced. The argument against this is that 'but it was inevitable' and I don't deny that, but the experience of luck is such that no matter how much planning one does
So you admit luck isn't real, the problem is you think subjective things are real and not just a bunch of conceptual mingiwuwu contrived from physical processes in the brain. It doesn't matter what a being knows or doesn't know, because things are and will be the way they are and will be. The very fact that luck requires you to not know the outcome based on causality proves that luck is a load of conceptual drivel contrived from the minds of those who don't understand how causality works.



Round 4
Published:
It does and even a being who knows everything cannot k ow it knows everything and will constantly gamble on it perhaps not knowing something and have ridiculous good luck every time as it turns out there really was nothing it didn't know about the situation. 

Luck is experienced and the experience is entirely valid. Luck was always defined as the experience of what a probablistic outlook would say won't happen actually happening.


Published:
There is no probability, there is only what is. Probability only exists to one who does not know the outcome, which is everyone as far as we know but that doesn't make it a "thing". Just because something unforeseen or unlikely happens doesn't mean that some magical force caused it to happen.
Added:
Powerbump
Instigator
#2
Added:
I can't believe anyone actually thinks this.
Contender
#1
#2
Criterion Pro Tie Con Points
Better arguments 3 points
Better sources 2 points
Better spelling and grammar 1 point
Better conduct 1 point
Reason:
Arguments.
Reading pros argument, it’s not wholly clear what pro means by luck, by this I mean that while he touches on the definition as “whenever a less probable outcome occurs”, it’s not structured or presented as such. Most of the open seems only marginally related to the proposition - limiting variance, and talking about the impact of luck is unrelated to the proposition - so pros open is effectively defining what he thinks luck is - and that’s a reasonable open.
Cons initial open was pretty sensible - that “luck” exists as a concept - but isn’t an actual object or force. This seems to be agreeing with pros definition of luck and saying that exists- that’s not a good start. Con appears to argue that pro has to prove the entire deterministic view of the universe wrong to prove luck exists - that’s horrible goalpost moving.
Pro then reiterates his definition - but should have called out con for basically conceding the debate in the second sentence of the first round.
Con then talks about randomness and the argument takes a turn for the esoteric. I’m not detailing this round from con as it largely doesn’t address the point in contention - that luck exists, he claims it is not a real extant thing, but then argues it is a thing. So far this appears to be in line with how pro is defining luck - so con is effectively arguing luck is what pro said.
Pro mostly just reiterates the same problem, and there was a little back and Forth after this that fit the same mould.
The whole point of this debate is that luck exists - pro argues luck exists as an abstract concept - con agreed luck exists as an abstract concept - by default Con effectively concedes the whole debate on that point alone.
Sources to pro - definitions cited effectively demonstrate that luck as he is defining it abstractly does exist - and con agreed. Pro could have just used that definition source and said nothing else.
#1
Criterion Pro Tie Con Points
Better arguments 3 points
Better sources 2 points
Better spelling and grammar 1 point
Better conduct 1 point
Reason:
Conduct; Tie.
This was one of the few debates where Type1 didn't resort to ad-hominem attacks or forfeit half the debate. RM didn't attempt to cite any rap songs or drop the mike. It was surprisingly good conduct on both sides, and thus a tie.
Spelling and Grammar; Tie.
Started out strong for both participants, and then gradually declined for both. Tie.
Sources; Pro.
Pro started out with a strong argument about probability and utilized a lot of legitimate sources to support his arguments, which seemed fairly rational at first. By the end of the debate most of that had been completely tossed out the window in favor of wild speculation about some unidentified deity-like figure that is all-knowing but somehow doesn't know it is all-knowing (which would not count as being all-knowing if you didn't know that you were all-knowing, since that would mean you didn't know something). Con never used any sources and made similarly crazy arguments without any support for them, so sources go to pro for at least using good sources and good arguments for the first few rounds.
Arguments; Tie.
What the hell happened after round two? Pro started out fantastically strong, citing great sources and making very rational arguments about probability in scenarios like gambling. But by round three that had all been tossed out the window in favor of entirely baseless speculation and impossible claims. Con was moderately crazy for the entire debate, but at least stayed consistent on it. Neither argument made any sense by the final round, so I suppose it is a tie.
Summary; A very slight victory for Pro for starting out strong with good sources, even though it crashed and burned by the end.