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SWilson
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(The Math of) Stones Gambling Hall Cheating Allegations

October 21st, 2019, 4:04 am

For those of you not into poker news, a recent story has broken out about a player named Mike Postle among others who may have helped him have been hit with a $30 million class action civil suit for allegations of cheating.  The general allegations indicate that he was getting real time information from the "graphics room" as these games were all live streamed online where there is RFID technology that displays the players cards for those that are viewing at home.  The term CTO or Crotch Theory Optimal has been coined as he can be seen staring at his phone (crotch) allegedly being able to see the stream in real time. A simple google and youtube search will give you more than you can handle so what I am highlighting in this post is the math behind the accusations.  While there is a lot of circumstantial and some direct evidence, a large part of the case is based on the statistical improbability of his results.  This player won 96% of his session for a period of about 15 months and won a staggering 60 big blinds per hour where even the best pros rarely win more than 10.  Hence this a huge outlier.  This can be seen here along with another online player that was found cheating back before the DOJ shut down online poker on black Friday April 15th 2011. https://www.reddit.com/r/poker/comments/dcb8w7/potripper_ultimatebet_superuser_vs_mike_god/ .   The lawsuit itself can be found here.  https://documentcloud.adobe.com/link/track?uri=urn%3Aaaid%3Ascds%3AUS%3A323fafc0-e583-4c19-91be-dc7d1610c53b.  The lawsuit requests a trial by jury where the prosecutor will have to educate the jury on math and how that math relates to poker.  I think this is fascinating as can you find someone guilty on math alone?  There are even instances of hand by hand analysis that are so outrageous as seen through the eyes of a poker player but will a jury see the same thing?  Lets not forget that Harry Markopolos saw the improbable math in Bernie Madoffs returns years before that whole thing unraveled.  Even with insider trading, when statistical outliers are presented it has to be accompanied with some other evidence for a conviction.  While the burden of proving civil is less, this case will be interesting to see play out.  
 
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Paul
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Re: (The Math of) Stones Gambling Hall Cheating Allegations

October 21st, 2019, 5:36 am

Obviously this won't be the first time maths has been used to prove something in the courtroom. There were some famous cases in the UK in which the expert witness, Sir Roy Meadow, said that various instances of cot death were murder when actually he had got his stats wrong (and had a bit of an obession). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roy_Meadow . So I think it all hinges on how convincing the various expert witnesses will be. And whether or not they fall for the https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prosecutor%27s_fallacy
 
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katastrofa
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Re: (The Math of) Stones Gambling Hall Cheating Allegations

October 21st, 2019, 3:36 pm

Virtually all fraud detection these days begins with statistics, and some of it ends in the courtroom. why are they allowed to use phones in the first place?
 
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SWilson
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Re: (The Math of) Stones Gambling Hall Cheating Allegations

October 21st, 2019, 4:02 pm

Virtually all fraud detection these days begins with statistics, and some of it ends in the courtroom. why are they allowed to use phones in the first place?
Great point.  They actually did ban phones so the current theory and some evidence points to him wearing this.  https://www.amazon.com/Cynaps-Bluetooth-Conduction-Headset-Light/dp/B00F0TPTNY/ref=sr_1_2?keywords=bone+conducting+headset+hat&qid=1571673672&sr=8-2
 
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Paul
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Re: (The Math of) Stones Gambling Hall Cheating Allegations

October 21st, 2019, 4:12 pm

That's the whole problem with using stats. They have an extreme event, of which there will always be some given enough samples, and are now hunting around for how he could have done it. 
 
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Alan
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Re: (The Math of) Stones Gambling Hall Cheating Allegations

October 21st, 2019, 6:06 pm

At least the statistics from S. Wilson's post sound overwhelming in favor of one side. Much worse for the jurys I think are all the the consumer product lawsuits where the jury has to decide if Product X causes Cancer Y based largely upon very weak statistics. For example,

Does baby powder cause ovarian cancer?
 
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Paul
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Re: (The Math of) Stones Gambling Hall Cheating Allegations

October 21st, 2019, 7:26 pm

If someone is exceptionally brilliant then they should lose occasionally on purpose? Probably psychologically more difficult to lose on purpose if you are brilliant than if you are cheating?
 
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SWilson
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Re: (The Math of) Stones Gambling Hall Cheating Allegations

October 21st, 2019, 9:49 pm

If someone is exceptionally brilliant then they should lose occasionally on purpose? Probably psychologically more difficult to lose on purpose if you are brilliant than if you are cheating?
That would be a great problem to have.  Calling a 3-way all-in with 5,4 off-suit is typically the opposite of brilliant from a game theory optimal play, actually one can consider it suicidal, that is unless of course both other players have Ace-King where you are now the favorite to win the hand, which is exactly one hand that went down.  Typically, you would run 10,000 scenarios of likely hand combinations through a solver to see if this is a wining play in the long run.  There are so many metrics to observe, bluffing frequencies, re-bluffing frequencies, how  may hands got to the river, calling, raising etc.  The rabbit hole goes deeper than most non poker plays would think.  No-limit hold'em is very close to being solved https://techcrunch.com/2019/07/11/ai-smokes-5-poker-champs-at-a-time-in-no-limit-holdem-with-ruthless-consistency/ so when your play deviates so far and you win so much it begs the question.  Paul, I like the devils advocate approach but I would love for you to see all of the evidence to see your final determination.
 
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Paul
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Re: (The Math of) Stones Gambling Hall Cheating Allegations

October 21st, 2019, 10:40 pm

Did the rumours start before the lawsuit?

What was his reputation previously?

Results from non-televised games?
 
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SWilson
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Re: (The Math of) Stones Gambling Hall Cheating Allegations

October 22nd, 2019, 1:07 am

Did the rumours start before the lawsuit?

What was his reputation previously?

Results from non-televised games?
All alleged.  

#1.  Yes.  One of the live commentators Veronica Brill is considered the whistle-blower.  When she initially brought it up to a person in management she was told that it wasn't true.  Subsequently the person she brought it up to is now named as a defendant in the lawsuit as he may have been in on it.  When her plea was ignored she asked some prominent poker pros to review the archived live stream footage and it caught fire from there.

#2  The speculated/alleged date the cheating started happening was July 18th, 2018.  That is when his mannerisms and results dramatically changed.  Prior to that he was regarded as an average player to the best of my knowledge.  After July 18th he was regarded as a "God" and his last name Postle was nicknamed to Apostle.  Before the story broke a person that played with him made an entire youtube video with the title "stay away from Mike Postle".

#3 Very insightful question.  I don't have a lot of data on this but in the lawsuit is says....Mr Postle is not known to have played in any other streamed poker game and would habitually stop playing as soon as the stream ended.  Keep in mind this is a low stakes $1-$3 game.  If he's THAT good, why not play higher stakes?Further, there are a handful of sessions on stream where he did not make money and the Plaintiffs have information and belief that these losing session correlate to the absence of his inside person he was colluding with.
 
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Paul
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Re: (The Math of) Stones Gambling Hall Cheating Allegations

October 22nd, 2019, 2:03 am

He's going to a lot of unnecessary trouble with a phone or bone conduction...there's one video where a player opposite has earpieces in! That's how to do this!
 
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SWilson
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Re: (The Math of) Stones Gambling Hall Cheating Allegations

October 22nd, 2019, 2:27 am

Image
 
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Paul
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Re: (The Math of) Stones Gambling Hall Cheating Allegations

October 22nd, 2019, 4:34 am

Out-of-court settlement. Undisclosed sum. No admission of guilt.

Rule changes banning phones, ear pieces, headphones. Examination of headwear.
 
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SWilson
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Re: (The Math of) Stones Gambling Hall Cheating Allegations

October 22nd, 2019, 8:47 pm

A likely albeit undramatic outcome
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