Beating Sit-N-Gos in 2004: A Data-Analysis Lesson from ShoeMoney

Posted on Sep 09, 2009 by Gugel in Data Analysis

Jeremy Schoemaker, aka ShoeMoney, is a brilliant marketer and comes up with some really great out-of-the-box ideas.  He wrote a post yesterday about how he was part of the 2004 poker craze and had decided to find a way to beat the system.  Now ShoeMoney is a really smart dude, but poker isnt something you master overnight.  Truth be told, Id guess he was a fish.

But heres the thing he looked for exploitable trends in his opponents on a large scale.  By analyzing some data, he realized that you could make the money around 20% of the time in 10-man sit-n-gos if you just fold every single hand.  Heres the kicker though.  The time of day made a huge difference.  If you folded every single hand 1-2 hours before a major online tournament, he found that youd breakeven!  His theory was that people were just killing time before the big event and would play rather recklessly.  He made an enhanced script (yes, a bot) that would run 1 to 2 hours before a major tourney, fold until there were 6 people, and then incorporate some very basic strategy.  Was it against the rules?  Sure.  Was it profitable in 2004?  You bet.  Would it be profitable today?  Probably not.  Thats not the point of this post though :)

The point is that you can get an edge in more ways than one.  One way is building your skills to dominate your opponents.  A less conventional one is looking for large-scale statistical trends.  According to ShoeMoney, there are just a few steps in finding these statistical trends to exploit your opponents:

  • Record Data
  • Analyze data
  • Make betting decisions based on stats
  • Build tools to improve profitability
Record Data
Analyze data
Make betting decisions based on stats
Build tools to improve profitability

Im currently working on compiling some interesting large-scale statistical data of my own (no, Im not making a bot).  Stay tuned.


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The more you know about your competition, the more you can profitably exploit them.  You can buy hand histories to boost your Hold'em Manager or PokerTracker database and help you better reads on your opponents.

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