Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Freakonomics: Know any lousy poker players?

From the Freakonomics Blog:
I'm undertaking a project on poker. I've set up a website, www.pokernomics.com, for people to download their hand histories. Using these hands, I hope to study what differentiates good and bad poker players.

The response has been overwhelming. I think we've got over 7 million poker hands already. (For those of you who sent hands, but don't have your Freakonomics book and t-shirt yet, be patient, they are coming, but we haven't been able to keep up with the back orders.)

Other than being buried in data, my only problem is that everyone who is sending in hands is a good player! This makes sense. If you aren't a good player, you tend to quit. So the majority of people who amass huge hand histories are winning players. Also, I suppose it is more satisfying to send your hand histories to me if you are poker star than a poker dud.

But to really tell the good players from the rotten, I need some more losers!

Just to show that I am serious, I started playing online poker a few weeks ago, and tracking my hands. I'm determined to make it to 10,000 hands so I can be a data point in my own study, no matter how much it costs me.

So if you are as bad as me at poker, or know somoene like that, please send them to www.pokernomics.com. My initial look at the data makes me think that I can give players (especially bad players!) some useful insights on how to do better.

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