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Randomness of Hands

#1 User is offline   cnco 

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Posted 2020-October-03, 04:48

I am one of a small group (8) of newish members (started on BBO in May) of varying abilities and we always set up our tables in Casual and play for 2 hours about 3 times a week. We believe that the North/South hands over a 2 hour period are generally 'better' than the East/West hands which makes for unsatisfying games. Does anyone else experience this and is there anything we can do about it?
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#2 User is offline   pilowsky 

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Posted 2020-October-03, 05:09

Hi, welcome to the Forum.
Before all the regulars arrive and start shouting, the answer is no.
It's just luck.
Or it could be that one of you is tired or a better player, or distracted, or some of the other people playing the hands don't play them well skewing the scores or all sorts of things.
Strange things do happen on the casual tables - the hands get played about 16 times so after a while the scores should settle.
Don't worry, but if it really begins to tick you off just switch seats. At least on BBO you don't even have to get out of your chair, so there's that. While you're at it though could you get me a cup of tea?
non est deus ex machina; även maskiner behöver lite kärlek; les règles sont le jeu même.
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#3 User is offline   hrothgar 

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Posted 2020-October-03, 09:24

As Pillowsky alluded to, the forums regularly has posted in which players are making various claims about the hand generators.

If you are playing "normal" hands in the club, the generators are not biased.

This topic has been hashed over many many many many times.
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#4 User is offline   StevenG 

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Posted 2020-October-03, 11:17

It does seem strange, though, that the topic crops up so regularly, and that so many players have, seemingly independently, come to the same conclusion that NS have the advantage - never, as far as I recall, EW.

I'm curious about how BBO allocates hands to tables. I am aware of an unresolved bug whereby, very occasionally, a hand remains "orphaned". (Barmar mentioned this recently.) It seems highly unlikely that this could have a knock-on effect, but my experience is that an unresolved bug, however limited in scope it appears, can have unexpected ramifications elsewhere.

I'm not suggesting this is any way likely to cause a problem, but something seems to be causing this perception about the hands and I'd like to know what.
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#5 User is offline   hrothgar 

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Posted 2020-October-03, 12:30

View PostStevenG, on 2020-October-03, 11:17, said:

It does seem strange, though, that the topic crops up so regularly, and that so many players have, seemingly independently, come to the same conclusion that NS have the advantage - never, as far as I recall, EW.

I'm curious about how BBO allocates hands to tables. I am aware of an unresolved bug whereby, very occasionally, a hand remains "orphaned". (Barmar mentioned this recently.) It seems highly unlikely that this could have a knock-on effect, but my experience is that an unresolved bug, however limited in scope it appears, can have unexpected ramifications elsewhere.

I'm not suggesting this is any way likely to cause a problem, but something seems to be causing this perception about the hands and I'd like to know what.


No one has ever been able to show any kind of evidence that the hand generators are borked.

From my own perspective, the most likely explanation is that people both

1. Play games with their friends
2. Play best hand tournaments against the bots

and their perceptions about hand strengths are unconsciously biased by their experiences in best hand tournaments.
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#6 User is offline   thepossum 

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Posted 2020-October-03, 16:14

Regarding "randomness" of hands, I have a good understanding of psychological and perceptual biases and seeing evidence that maybe is not there, but depending on tournament type, or casual IMP play in the clubs sometimes the hands feel excessively engineeered and even engineered to fit the GiB 2/1 bidding system to an almost extreme extent.

Maybe there are good reasons for over-engineering hands to a bidding system. Maybe GiB or some players find it too difficult to think outside narrow constraints

Some also seem to have the play engineered at different levels of competence (from not much to a little)

However as I said I am not arguing that they are not "random" (at least I have no evidence or the data to test if I cared that much) and my view could easily be a bias

But one simple solution is to sit EW (has that been mentioned) - or perhaps use dealer to ensure the hands are random enough for your specific requirements :)
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#7 User is offline   johnu 

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Posted 2020-October-03, 17:06

If you turn your monitors or tablets upside down, everything is set back to normal. Or you could rotate your seats so everybody gets the N/S hands about 1/2 the time and E/W hands about 1/2 the time.
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#8 User is offline   mythdoc 

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Posted 2020-October-04, 06:46

I don’t know about casual table hands, but I’ve seen these threads come up (and even started one) about Deal Pool, — what it is, how it works — and it is only ever vaguely explained as an “anti cheating measure.” Until there’s a specific explanation of how the hands are generated, whether an algorithm is employed at any stage to winnow the pool, whether different pools exist for different types of tournaments, etc, it is only natural that folks will continue to wonder. Are they used in challenges? Are they used when playing anonymously? Only daylongs? I understand wanting to foil cheaters, but I also would like, one time, for someone to say, definitively and transparently, that there is no “secret sauce” of any kind applied to to make the hands anything other than 100% random.
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#9 User is offline   hrothgar 

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Posted 2020-October-04, 08:12

View Postmythdoc, on 2020-October-04, 06:46, said:

I also would like, one time, for someone to say, definitively and transparently, that there is no “secret sauce” of any kind applied to to make the hands anything other than 100% random.


This has happened any number of times.

With the exception of certain types of games that are "obviously" biased:

1. Best hand tournaments
2. Goulash tournaments
3. Bidding practice tables where the table server is choosing to bias the hands

BBO does not bias hand generation

Feel free to go back and search the forums
(I'm not going to bother to do this for you)
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#10 User is offline   mythdoc 

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Posted 2020-October-04, 10:33

View Posthrothgar, on 2020-October-04, 08:12, said:

This has happened any number of times.

With the exception of certain types of games that are "obviously" biased:

1. Best hand tournaments
2. Goulash tournaments
3. Bidding practice tables where the table server is choosing to bias the hands

BBO does not bias hand generation

Feel free to go back and search the forums
(I'm not going to bother to do this for you)


With respect, you’ve only answered the first of my questions, and nothing about what happens to these hands when they go into and through the Deal Pool. The first may be called generation, and the rest of the questions have to do with what may be called “curation, selection, culling,” or whatnot.
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#11 User is offline   hrothgar 

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Posted 2020-October-04, 12:52

View Postmythdoc, on 2020-October-04, 10:33, said:

With respect, you’ve only answered the first of my questions, and nothing about what happens to these hands when they go into and through the Deal Pool. The first may be called generation, and the rest of the questions have to do with what may be called “curation, selection, culling,” or whatnot.


There is none
Zero
Ziltch
Nada
Nothing at all

Why would anyone in their right mind add any such "curation".
You're violating the rules of the game, adding complexity, and setting yourself up for complaints.

And oh yeah, btw, trying to balance out hands when different people are hashed across a wide variety of hands is a nightmare.
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#12 User is offline   pilowsky 

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Posted 2020-October-04, 13:47

Like I said, before the rest of them arrive and start shouting at each other. Posted Image.
non est deus ex machina; även maskiner behöver lite kärlek; les règles sont le jeu même.
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#13 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2020-October-08, 10:12

View Postmythdoc, on 2020-October-04, 10:33, said:

With respect, you’ve only answered the first of my questions, and nothing about what happens to these hands when they go into and through the Deal Pool. The first may be called generation, and the rest of the questions have to do with what may be called “curation, selection, culling,” or whatnot.

Here's how deal pools work.

If the tournament is 12 boards long, for instance, instead of generating 12 hands, we generate 12 x X hands, where X is the size of the deal pool for that tournament. All these hands are generated using the same algorithm (either purely random or "best hand" for South, depending on the settings for the tournament).

The first X are assigned to board #1 pool, the next X are assigned to board #2 pool, and so on.

When you play the tournament, your board #1 is a random choice from the board #1 pool, your board #2 is a random choice from the board #2 pool, and so on.

For the NABC Online Individual, we have an extra level of security: when selecting from each pool, we ensure that you don't play the same deals as anyone you've partnered or teamed up with in an ACBL online or f2f tournament in the past few years (going back to about 2 years before the first NABC Online), or anyone coming from the same IP. There may also be some other checks that I can't remember.

There's absolutely no curating except for "best hand" format.

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