Monday, August 6, 2007

Running It Twice

I mentioned running it twice in my last post, and it reminded me that I've been meaning to post on the subject.

First, a "running it twice" refresher: when two players are all in with cards to come in a cash game, they can agree to run it twice: deal out two sets of the remaining cards to come. A player must win on both boards to win the hand. If each player wins on one board, the pot is chopped.

For or against? We never run it twice at WNP or the Surreal lunch game, but it's an acceptable practice if both players agree, and an interesting variance reducer. I keep trying to remember to offer it up in an all in situation with cards to come, but I always seem to forget in the moment.

I'm no mathematician, but the EV on the hand supposedly doesn't change much if at all, it just dramatically reduces the variance. So, if two players are all in and it's A @ 50% vs. B @50%, without running it twice, A will win all the chips 50% of the time, and B will win all the chips 50% of the time. If they run it twice, A will win all the chips 10% of the time, B will win all the chips 10% of the time, and they will chop the pot 80% of the time.

That's a made-up simplification to convey the point that EV is maintained, but short-term variance is reduced, and a chop becomes likely. The EV of these situations is maintained even when it's more like 90% vs. 10% or whatever.

I am generally in favor of running it twice if I could just remember to offer, but the metagame question is: does knowing that someone is for or against running it twice change how you play a hand against them? Perhaps players are more willing to make a "bold" all-in semi-bluff against a player they know will run it twice if they are called...


Sushi Cowboy said...

I don't know. So running it twice equates to the same odds but essentially lower stakes? Like flipping a quarter versus flipping a penny? Sounds kinda weak/tight to me. If the goal is to make the best decisions and to get the most money in when you feel you are ahead then why would you want to hedge?

Are the odds the same for running it twice? Let's look at an example. Let's say that there are two players Mr. S and Mr. G who are in a huge pot. Mr S has a made nut flush (in Spades btw) on the turn. Mr. G has a lower flush and the intoxicating gut shot straight flush draw. In this example, Mr. S pushes on the turn. Mr. G takes a few minutes and decides to call. They both open their hands and Mr. S makes the "generous" offer to run it twice. Mr. G who uses math less in his daily life than Mr. S accepts the offer not realizing that there is no way for him to win this pot anymore, he can only *at best* tie. Mr. S has talked his opponent into a giving him a freeroll. If Mr. G catches his one outer on one of the trials, then Mr. S is guaranteed to win the other run and split at worst.

Anyway, I have more to post about this subject but will leave it at this for now.

Marshall said...

Your example is shitty Marty. For one thing, its optional. You don't have to run it twice if you don't want.

Also, Mr. S is being very generous by offering to run that board twice. Mr. G got his money in with 1 out. He would normally have 2 pulls to his one out, now he has 4 to try to win half the pot. It's not a function of running it twice that makes it suck for Mr. G, it's the fact he got all his money in with 1 out. He should be very grateful that he even has that many chances to win ANY of this pot.

Marshall said...

In regards to running it twice in general, I guess I would have to try it out to know. I like the idea of reducing short term variance.

Some possible side effects:

Someone becomes predictable at running it twice, hence changing the way someone plays a hand.

Someone letting certain people run it twice, while not letting others and that creating issues.

Messing with the fundamentals of the game. We are all trying to get better. We play for friggin quarters, not 100k like the big boys. Part of being a better player is dealing with tilt, and tilt is most often brought on by taking a bad beat. If we cant take a bad beat for our little WNP game, how can we when we go to a bigger game or a casino?

I would be game to give it a shot though, and see how it "feels".

Sushi Cowboy said...

The example was talking about getting the money in on the turn, not the flop. And the reason I gave it was actually to illustrate how the math can be deceiving. Each player is actually receiving the same EV long term. Mr. G can never win outright but the times that he chops is when he gets "paid" for his one outer.

I am resistant mostly because of the time factor of someone trying to figure out odds, etc. There is also the potential side issues that Marsh spoke of. And if someone inadvertently mentions "I threw away an Ace" or whatever that would affect the odds but while negotiations were still going on over whether to run it twice. Etc. If we did do it, I would at LEAST like to limit the *option* of running it twice to pots holding 800 BB minimum or roughly two "standard buy-ins" per person heads up in order to prevent slowing down the game over small pots.

Marshall said...

Same difference if it's on the turn. The guy with the nut flush is taking less risk in case the 1 outer actually gets there, but giving up 2 pulls to the guys one out as "payment".

I don't really see how its hedging though. Are you giving anything up by running it twice ever? I guess that is at the heart of it.

Ryan said...

It's all about EV. X chances at winning 100% has the same EV as 2X chances at winning 50%.

It can hurt your brain to think about, but it basically works out.

Let me take the same path I did with Jason regarding minraising preflop with aces: instead of proving it with difficult math, I'll just point to the pros.

On High Stakes Poker, offers to run it twice are made all the time, sometimes accepted, sometimes not. There is a clear general consensus among them that running it twice doesn't change the odds, it just reduces short-term variance.

If it did change EV in any significant way, the best players in the game would be all over it, and they wouldn't even bring it up with each other, because they are not suckers.

As far as I'm concerned, the only reason to bar two people who agree to it from running it twice at WNP would be the time thing, but that's pretty weak. The whole process takes maybe an extra 30 seconds, to offer, accept, run it, and split it.

Hell, Jason takes longer to limp.

I suppose you could also argue that as someone not in the hand, you *want* short-term variance from your opponents. You want there to be another huge stack and someone else rebuying, not two average stacks. Still, that's also pretty weak objection, IMHO.

Oh, and someone saying "I had an ace" again doesn't change's all about doubling the chance of a suckout in exchange for getting only half the reward if you do it, regardless of how many outs are left.

Anyway, I would say that for WNP, instead of trying to heavily regulate running it twice up front with a bunch of rules and pot-size limits, see if it's actually a problem first.

Ryan said...

I said, "running it twice doesn't change the odds" in my last post at one point, but what I mean is, "running it twice doesn't change EV."

Of course it changes the odds: it increases the odds of a chop, which is really the whole point.

Marshall said...

The way I always understood it was that they did it when they were in close to 50/50 situations, and they had a huge sum of money in the middle.

They don't want to coin flip one time for $200,000. They came to play poker, not flip for huge stacks.

We don't play big stakes. I personally don't love the idea of allowing it, but at the same time you won't find me opposing it unless it affects the other players negatively. (and by negatively I mean taking a lot of time mainly).

I see it in relative terms. And in this case, relative means relative to bankrolls. So if Ryan and I get it in on the flop on a coinflip, I don't mind flipping for our 60 buck buy in. But if we were playing bigger, like if we had ~1000.00 in the middle, I would much rather not flip for that.

I guess the main question is why? If we are trying to play where a player gets as close to the amount of the pot he is "entitled" to, then we should run the whole deck every time, or just consult the internet and split the pot from there. Why would we take only one step in that direction?

Ryan said...

No, it's not just 50/50, it's whenever there is a large amount of money on the line.

I may be wrong, but I think the classic AA vs. KK preflop all in from season one of HSP (Barry vs. Sam), running it twice was offered and rejected, right before Sam spikes the K for the brutal win.

You can argue that our stakes are "not a lot of money," but it's all relative. I'm trying to manage a poker bankroll that doesn't touch my "life" bank account. That makes $100 mean a ton more to my poker bankroll than it does to my "life" bankroll.

Marshall said...

Ya its all relative I guess.

Ryan said...

"I guess the main question is why?"

1) Variance reduction in the name of bankroll management.

2) I saw Daniel Negreanu do it on HSP, and that makes it cool, and I want to be cool.

3) You get the drama of the all-in showdown twice!

"If we are trying to play where a player gets as close to the amount of the pot he is "entitled" to, then we should run the whole deck every time, or just consult the internet and split the pot from there. Why would we take only one step in that direction?"

1) See my post on Pure Odds might actually be interesting to play that way if it were easy to do. However...

2) Running one extra board and chopping a pot in half is not significantly difficult or time-consuming, and still retains a significant element of gamble. Running it out more than that would become extremely complicated to chop (you would award 1/Xth of the pot to the winner of each board, where X = the total number of boards).

Martin mentioned "buying" pots, which is the natural extension of running it twice. And again, there is HSP precedence. Phil Hellmuth "overpaid" for a pot, the offer was accepted, and everyone ribbed him for being a chickenshit for offering more than the hand was worth.

I can't remember the exact situation...I think it was Hellmuth vs. David Gray, and Gray was X% to win (something low), and Hellmuth bought the pot for more than X% of it. Gray snapped it up instantly, and the ribbing began.

I wouldn't care if someone wanted to buy the pot from another player at WNP either, as long as it wasn't some big crazy time drain (which it probably would be, counting out the pot and shit).

So, you can take it to the extreme and reduce variance perfectly by buying and selling pots at the correct price...but running it twice is cool because it's not perfect, there's still gamble involved, and it's simple to do.

Did I mention Negreanu does it?

Sushi Cowboy said...

As Ryan says "Oh, and someone saying 'I had an ace' again doesn't change's all about doubling the chance of a suckout in exchange for getting only half the reward if you do it, regardless of how many outs are left."

Did I understand you correctly? If the hand is AK versus QQ, someone saying "I had an Ace" doesn't change anything?

But that is admittedly a minor point. I assume the table would not drop that information if two people are discussing running it twice.

I do think that there should be some sort of pot minimum or at least some common sense that we are not going to run boards twice over a 70 chip pot. That's just silly and a waste of time.

I'm with Ryan on the math. It does reduce variance. If we want to have chip stack variance less "swingy" then I can see allowing it *for big pots* which could seriously sway the night for someone. Ryan and Marsh's late night deep stack AK vs QQ for example. I think that would have been an ideal situation for implementing it because an entire night's work was on the line for both players. Quite frankly, I think we play enough together already and we get enough hands in that our variance has already had a chance to smooth out but for huge hands, I can see it. I certainly wouldn't be opposed to at least trying it. But if it takes too long to do it or it happens to often, I think it should be regulated or axed.

Ryan said...

It changes nothing in terms of the basic value of running it twice, which is to reduce variance by doubling the chance of a suckout for half the reward.

It obviously changes the number of outs AK has, but it doesn't make running it twice a better or worse proposition for either player; EV will still be maintained, albeit in the context of one fewer out for AK.

I basically think the community would self regulate on the common sense front, and there wouldn't be "run it twice" called for on tiny pots. If it would be best to go in with a "200 chip minimum" or something, though, I wouldn't argue.

Your AK vs. QQ example is a good one, and the hand that actually got me thinking about it again was ours on Friday when Royal raised, I reraised, you reraised to 100, and I moved in for 500. I was thinking, "if he calls, I'll ask him if he wants to run it twice, because this will be a $250 pot..."

And that also had me thinking...if he knew I would run this twice, would it increase his chances of calling?

Marshall said...

Your last question is what has me sort of thinking.

I rely a lot on pressuring people with my bets, and if they think that they might get to run it twice, and make a call based on that, I can't have that.

Is running it twice sort of like chopping the blinds where you set a precedent and are expected to keep with it?

It would be kind of lame if I ran it twice against certain players but never against others. Or even did it once against one player but then later decided not to.

It adds an air of favoritism that is usually not present. Thankfully, these situations come up very rarely.

If we do end up trying it, I would say that you can decide on a hand by hand basis.

jsola said...

The way I understand it, this is similar to chopping the blinds, in that you either always run it twice when offered, or always decline.

It's bad etiquette to pick and choose the spots where you run it twice.

Ryan said...

We can look into official etiquette, but I don't have Joe's understanding, that it's the same etiquette as chopping. If you had stick with your initial precedence 100% of the time, then you *would* be running every last all-in pot twice.

I think the spirit of RiT is that if both players, after seeing both hands, agree to a variance reduction via running it twice, they can. If either player wants to run it once, then it is run once, and that's that, no hard feelings.

BTW, I reviewed the Farha vs. Greenstein AA vs. KK, and Farha did offer to run it twice. The conversation went:

"Want two flops, five and five?"


"Let's go..."

And Farha proceeds to spike the K on the flop.

Nothing I've seen in HSP suggests you must pick a position (twice-runner or not) and stick with it, nor is it even offered in every all-in situation. It is sometimes offered and sometimes accepted, with no apparent expectation that past decisions dictate future ones.

jsola said...

I'm pretty sure someone says "Barry doesn't run it twice" after he declines on that hand, which is what leads me to believe this is a stance that a player takes and sticks to.

I didn't mean to imply that they'd always run it twice at showdown, just that if offered they'll always give the same answer.

Ryan said...

Barry may be known as someone who never runs it twice, but I don't think that obligates him to refuse.

A reputation as someone who does or doesn't run it twice doesn't translate to an obligation to adhere to your rep.

jtrey333 said...

I'm not sure as to what the actual etiquette is, but I know for Greenstein, he just doesn't run it twice, personally. I've heard this discussed on a podcast by his son. My impression was that it's done on an individual basis, and most players don't do it all the time, but just on a case by case basis.

I don't see any problem with setting some sort of precedence or unfairly doing it with some people, but not others. I just don't see how anyone can call depending on running it twice unless the other player involved *says* he'll run it twice for sure if he gets called. And personally, if someone doesn't want to run it with me twice (and I want to), i won't be offended, even if they run it 100% with everyone else..

Sushi Cowboy said...

My comment about the dead Ace was not about it changing the odds. I was saying that if two people are deciding to run it twice and one person agrees then someone happens to let slip that they folded an Ace to someone else at the table but was overheard then someone might want to retract their agreement to run it twice...blah blah blah. What I'm saying is that is one example of a complication that may come up to slow down the game.

I do think that having the option to run it twice will affect how hands are called. I think calls would be more likely. I do not feel that anyone should feel obligated to run a board twice. If someone wants to run a board twice sometimes but not others I think that could lead to some awkward situations where someone might say "Last time you had pair over pair with so-and-so and you ran it twice." Seems like it has the potential of opening up a can of worms; nonetheless, I'm willing to try it.

If we were to try it, I think the following guidelines would be reasonable:

* No one is obligated to either offer or accept RiT.
* RiT should only be involved in signficant large pots, e.g. where each player has at least 200 BB in the pot and one is all in.
* RiT applies to cash games only, not tourneys.
* RiT offers can be made regardless of how many hole cards are known.
* RiT is limited to heads up play only.
* When RiT, only the remaining board is run after the all-in. So if the money gets in pre-flop the whole board is run twice. If the money gets in after the flop, only the turn and river are run twice. And if the money gets in on the turn, only the river is run twice.
* The deck is not reshuffled between runs.
* All RiT negotiations should be done promptly so as not to hold up play for others.

Some of these are common sense but I thought I'd try to be as complete as possible. If anyone has any comments about the above guidelines please go ahead and post and we will tweak as necessary.

Marshall said...

I am totally willing to try it out given these guidelines.

I have a weird feeling that I will never run it twice though...

We shall see.

Ryan said...

Looks fine, although I personally think 200 BB each is pretty high; I would put it at 100 BB each, or, essentially, one standard full buy.

Shoving ten stacks in there is a big deal at WNP...

Sushi Cowboy said...

Sorry, my bad on the math. (Math is hard!). Yes, I meant to say 100xBB and/or 200 units per person. I think that is a reasonable floor.

So since running it twice is voluntary, let's go ahead and offer it for WNP. I will send out email.

Marshall said...

I don't like that you put in the email that you "encourage everyone to decide ahead of time how they want to handle RiT and be consistent about when they choose to." in the email.

If its case by case, why are we encouraged to be consistent?

Sushi Cowboy said...

It is case by case. Anyone can opt out of running it twice during any hand. I think that occasions of running it twice will go more smoothly if someone has already decided ahead of time whether or not decreasing short term variance is important to them. If they start trying to crunch numbers on the spot I think it's going to slow things down. There really are no numbers to crunch it is more of a matter of preference as to whether or not you want your stack to fluctuate less and I think that decision can be made ahead of time instead of on the spot. Everywhere I have read about running the numbers there is extensive debate about whether EV is any different when you RiT so trying to figure the problem out in the middle of the hand is something I would like to avoid. It reduces variance whether it is a coin flip, domination, or pair over pair and I don't see why you wouldn't know your answer to an offer to RiT beforehand.

Marshall said...

I was referring more to the "be consistent about it when they choose to" than the thinking about it before hand.

If it's hand by hand, then I would think you would decide it situationally, not based on what you had done in the past.

Sushi Cowboy said...

I was so drunk when I wrote that. Strike that and let me re-state.

Everyone can choose to decide to RiT on a case by case basis. However, I encourage everyone to treat RiT like chopping blinds and to either consistently do it or consistently not do it.

Ryan said...

I agree with Marshall that there's no need to push consistency...but I agree that people should process what RiT means ahead of time so they don't have to go through any timely hemming and hawing when it's decision time.

I imagine I'm going to be a "sometimes yes, sometimes no" kinda guy on the RiT front. Do I feel like gambling for a big pot, or do I want to open the door to the possible chop?

Marshall said...

I'm sorry, I know I am being nitpicky here, but don't the two statements you made contradict each other completely?

It's either:

A) Case by case. I decide based on each individual situation whether I would like to offer or accept a RiT.


B) I decide once and then have to do the same in each case thereafter during the session.

I know this isn't a rules thing, but if I decide to offer a RiT during a hand, I don't want it to be that everyone thinks that it will happen every time for the rest of the night based on that.

Sushi Cowboy said...

I think we are all in agreement that it should be on a case by case basis. I will leave it at that and retract any recommendations since that seems to be causing way more thread traffic than it is worth.

Ryan said...

"...that seems to be causing way more thread traffic than it is worth."

31 Comments, baby! It's a new TNP record!

Melissa said...

Cool. For the record, I'm a case by case kind of guy. And I have a feeling it will be a case of when it's 50/50 and there's a TON of chips in the pot.


Sushi Cowboy said...

Hey remember the time we spent like 20 pages of posts on how to implement something new for WNP...and NOBODY used it? Including the guy who introduced the concept? Ahhh...takes me back.


Marshall said...

haha not one time did we do it. Maybe I should have...

I guess we should assume the post above is from Jeh and not melissa? Or is it someone else?

jtrey333 said...

Whoops. "Melissa". hahahaha... that's as funny as saying I'm ever "50/50". D0nkerrific!

Ryan said...

Well, I think we only had the one opportunity, right? No other situation even qualified?

It is interesting psychology, though. I knew I wasn't a huge favorite, but I was in a big hole for the night, and winning that hand digs me out of it, so I said as much...either wanted to bail myself out or just accept the completely wrecked evening.

I think in general, if I'm ahead for the session, I will be agreeable to running it twice. When I'm stuck and trying to catch up, though, I'm going to be more of a gambler about it...

Besides, it was cool even to decline the option. There was no option to decline before last night...

Sushi Cowboy said...

I did end up all in against Steven at one point of the night. I had recently rebought so I should have had at least 10 stacks if not the whole 12. I'm a little hazy on the hand but as I recall I think Steven had pocket Aces on that one. The option of running it twice did not come up. In that case I would not have proposed it but if Steven wanted to take out a suckout insurance policy I would have felt that it would be the right thing to do in that case.

Bob Loblaw said...

Finally got around to reading this thread. Started reading at 2pm, and now it's dark outside. I'm going to bed.