The fairness debate

@jazzbythebay - I know the player you are talking about. I spotted her early on and followed her progress through the ranks. It was obvious to me early on that she would go pretty much as far as she wanted to here. I’m sure she ran well and probably didn’t have any major runs of bad luck but she’s a skilled player. Take a look at her biggest pots won and you can see these aren’t flukes. If you go to a player’s profile and see their biggest pots are like 2-pair, Jacks and 2’s then go look at how the hand played. Most of the time its when they were in the BB and happened to hit 2-pair against someone who limped in AJ or QQ. Those people tend to be luck-boxes. This players top hands are just good aggressive poker. She can win on just about every table she plays on here until she runs into the very best players here. I would have bought a piece of her action in the 1st month because I was that sure.

So, yes its possible to do what she did without it being a matter of pure luck. On the other side of that coin, a player came through here about a month ago and ran her stack up from 0 to about 500 million before crashing back down to 0. She was a luckbox and caught both sides of that wave. If you pay enough attention, you’ll find explanations for most everything you see here.


You talk about different players as if their luck was permanent, some always get lucky and others always get unlucky. But based on statistics (and personal experience), luck runs up and down for everyone over enough hands. If a player (who shall go unnamed) can start August with 110m, win 50m more by September 1st, 50m more by October 1st, 100m more by November 1st, 200m more by December 1st, and then 200m more by January 1st, while playing only ~8 days per month for 1-2 hours, then it would lead me to conclude that skill will eventually prevail over streaks of luck. In that span, there have been many bad beats, losing sessions, and swings up and down, but the overall pattern continues.

I agree with many of your points, that some players may go on long streaks of good luck or bad luck. I also think that bad players appear to be more lucky because they get their chips in bad and can hit lucky cards to improve, while good players seem less lucky because they get their chips in good more often and then sometimes still lose.


joe…good to hear from you my friend…Unamed player started with zero in august …and by dec had amassed 1.2 billion which averages to 300 million without losing millions…just a straight forward multiplication of double the chips every month…so what you saying is and as Warlock says the player is skillful…ive player her (since we all know whom we talking about) and not some panthom…Warlock also states its a lot of skill…Frankly I disagree here as I don’t think it can be skill to such a large extent…ive seen some very good players here they don’t even have 25% of her chips but ive seen them play…and ive seen every WSOP game since inception and seen cash games livesover 500 videos over the past 10 years…with all that im not even close to being as good as these guys…ive played with her several times…had her beaten clean till the turn…some went against and some went for…im clearly stating here is shes got luck and ofcourse a certain amount of good skill but not to the degree of 1.2 billion with no back loses…in 4 months…heart to heart to me shes got the programme sorted…it would be hard to believe anything else…with due apologies to the you guys explanation…

This is no swing its a graph which just goes higher…

Well to be honest for us to maintain certain nos on the leagues our pattern of play differs its very tight like right now im sitting 1.2 in 4 sections in the emerald and diamond league knowing fully well if I keep it tight and given a few bad beats are going to come my way which I already experienced My AA losing to 10J with set opening for him and another caller with KK…yes I would have tripled up but many times it doent happen…
So my point is because we want to be somewhere in the league we often throw down good cards as some weak player is simply raising and calling trash which replay obliges him for a long period of time and I don’t want to risk it…so there is curtailment in our calls,raises…the whole dimension of the game changes…

I don’t know if you have seen this or not in every tourney there is one or two weak players who simply don’t lose a hand and without having any concept of the game or any read simply calls his way thru and I can tell you with my hand on the bible this is in every single tournament I have played it since my inception of playing here.These guys just don’t have a trend which you can try to read and moreover the good players we play them everyday and you do make certain reads on them…but these bad players just rock the table.
But eventually skill prevails as finally given the less brain game plan he donates along the way after wrecking the table for an hour plus…So you are pitted against good players and hopelessly lucky players…you are doomed lolllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll

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Actually I know the player you and @1warlock are talking about, and she is very good (but somewhat straightforward and too tight when I have played short-handed against her). The player I was referring to was myself.

The reason players like her and similarly good aggressive players seem to hit turns and rivers against you is because they are always betting as semi-bluffs. They open 97s and you call with TT (you should 3-bet but many players on Replay just call with a lot of big hands), the flop comes 852. They bet the flop with a gutshot and you call. The turn is a 7 and now they got lucky on you. They bet and you call both turn and river because the board is safe. Similarly, they may bet the same way T9s, which is nothing, but they can get you to fold AK/AQ/66/44/33 or worse by the river, and you only call with 22/55/88/77. These players apply maximum pressure, so they can win pots with aggression and also get paid big when they do get a good hand. Experience, studying, and watching a lot of poker is extremely helpful, but some players have a play style based on either pure aggression or intuitive balanced aggression that is very tough to play against.


Right on the money - the most successful players here are building bigger pots with their value hands than everyone else is. Even if they were winning the exact same percent of hands as other were, the amount of value they get on the hands they win dwarfs what most others achieve. Just consider the difference in the bet-bet-bet line vs the bet-check-bet line for BB’s won. The player who is extracting 3 streets of value is going to blow away the player who is pot controlling with top pair.

I’m not saying that this is the optimal way to play against everyone but against a player pool that calls too much, it certainly is. And this doesn’t even take into account the pots stolen. The players who can extract the most value per hand here will have winrates far in excess of everyone else. While some very successful players here can achieve winrates of 20BB/100, these players are looking at ~100BB/100, consistently. Compound those numbers over enough hands and one player will have 100 million chips after 4 months and the other one will have over a billion, with the exact same luck.

ADDED: Think about the relative size of pots won with QQ as an example. The player who simply calls an open raise or limps in with QQ is never going to extract as much value for the hand as the player who 3-bet with it. How about the difference between the player who throws out a min-bet to try and buy a cheap card because he’s on a draw vs the player who bets 75% pot on the same draw. @unranked said it best a while ago when he stated that we shouldn’t be content with any profitable line but should be looking for the most profitable one.


RNG went all drunken-monkey on us again tonight during the Stampede. Guess it figured the game was getting too long so it went on a wild ride - check out these hands, starting with quad-Kings beating a full house and the nut straight:

Next hand is 6-handed and AA meets KK. AA flops his set but is beat by the backdoor straight:

Next hand is the nut flush, followed by 2 hands where the winner had a 5-9 straights, followed by the winner having the nut-straight the next hand.

6 hands in a row of absolute monsters - happens all the time everywhere, right?

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Wow, that first hand was quite interesting…you accidentally posted the same hand twice, though!

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OOPS - this is the 2nd hand but you can just scroll through to see them all:

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2 pocket kings get cracked.

It is hilarious how people think an improbable 20/80 outcome happening twice in a row means something. That is how numbers work. If you roll a die 1000 times, you will get the same number multiple times in a row multiple times. When it comes to poker, focus on your decision-making, not the way the cards fall.


In this game, Cotucha keeps saying his cards every hand. Admin might have noticed and warned/muted him by now. If not he be noticed.

I apologise in advance, but I simply can’t hold my tongue, or rather refrain my fingers.

JoeDirk, what you say is obviously correct. You forget, though, that you are sermonizing on the basis of two hands, without considering that they are only two examples of regularly recurrent hands, as reported by many other players.
If such hands are improbable or are within the “normality”, I personally CAN’T JUDGE (I only have my observation and my long experience, and they don’t count here), but in my opinion it is unfair you make people look absurd, even ridiculous, for posting such “strange” hands.
After all, this thread has been created for these cases, and people have a right not to be treated as visionaries or ignorants who don’t know the most elementary laws of probability.

@wildpokerdude, I honestly don’t understand what point you are making here. What do you want to achieve? To know the goal is crucial for every fight, in my opinion.
Sometimes, though, it seems to me you are fighting against windmills. Sorry. :slight_smile:

Fair enough, that my previous post is disrespectful because I am making light of their misconceptions, but when they post in a public forum, they allow for the possibility of a response. The title of the thread is “The fairness debate”, but it seems to be a one-sided flame war of complaints about specific hands or runs of hands. Many improbable hands are happening to all players all the time in all forms of poker. Educating people about the basics of probability seems like the purpose of the “debate” in this thread.

Earlier in this thread, I have offered a bunch of more clearly articulated points about probability and the reasons that so many strange hands occur, and those points have been ignored and met with some deeply entrenched conspiracy theories. So, this time I was a bit glib. But I will refrain from trying to present reason in the future and stick to threads where people want to discuss poker.


Oh no, @Joedirk, since you consider yourself fit for the role of the educator and are nice enough to put your wisdom and your knowledge at the disposal of all, please go on! I wouldn’t want to be the reason for Replay players to remain ignorant.

It is interesting how your approach to making the discussion comfortable for everybody is by shutting down dissenting opinions. Basic statistics have a place in poker discussion. But I am somehow being high and mighty by trying to add information to the discussion. Also, I do have the background to provide basic education in statistics, but that is beside the point. I am done. Enjoy your discussion.

Edit: I get that people here who want to share their concerns deserve to be treated with dignity.


But I didn’t want to start any discussion! Far from me! I am much too lazy for it, and I am not a masochist. LOL I don’t know if those hands are within the “normality” or are not. I only resented the patronising way you talked to people, which I didn’t find either fair or polite.
And believe me, I have some basic education in statistics, but I must admit, I simply can’t judge, as I very clearly said in my first post. So how could I express an opinion or even help others when I am myself uncertain about something?

I am sure, though, that many players if not all will find your comments very instructive.

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you can throw statistics out the window with this site i think we have a very flawed algorithm just one mans opinion

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I am not sure how sarcastic your last sentence is intended to be, lol. But either way, enough said, discussion complete.

The internet is a fun place where everybody can tell each other that they are wrong. People can post here to say the site is wrong; I can respond to tell them that they are wrong; you can respond to tell me I am wrong; etc. I have posted on this thread several times over the years and regretted it, but I can’t seem to get it through my thick skull.

As far as the deal not being fair, nobody can really know that except for the people running the site. But the same could be said for any poker game, in a casino, online, or at somebody’s home. There have been all kinds of cheating scandals throughout the history of poker. Everybody is entitled to their opinion. But there are also psychological and statistical explanations for the perception that Replay is not fair, which have been expressed earlier in this very long thread. As somebody with a background in statistics who has played far too many hands on this site and watched far too many hours of live poker from the WSOP, Pokerstars, WPT, etc., and far too many poker strategy videos as well, I am confident in my opinion that poker is a game with a lot of variance to the extent that no particular hand or run of hands should be surprising. If somebody can compile a database with over 10,000 hands that shows a pattern of outcomes that differs from probability, then they should post it here. Even 10,000 hands is a relatively small sample to look at patterns due to the variance within no-limit holdem. I said I would not continue the discussion, but there I go again…

@miri123 my goal is to show how unramdom hands/cards are. Example every time I have a pocket pair, someone have pocket pair as well. I have shown many times that is the case in this thread.

This is my last post on forum though, so if you like to continue this discussion, please send me a friends request.
Thank you