Durrrr’s Million Dollar Challenge Thoughts

January 16, 2009

Recently (old news as of 1/6ish/09) Tom Dwan was the next high stakes gambler to put down a gaunlet of a challenge.  Plenty of poker news type outlets have issued stories on the piece, google Durrr’s Million Dollar Challenge for more info, 2+2, pokerlistings.com, pokernews, pokerroad, etc…

His proposition in a nut:

He puts up $1.5M to anyone else’s (except Phil Galfond) $500k.

Both players play 50,000 hands, while four tabling, 200/400 NL and PLO and whomever is up at the end of the 50k hands (regardless of the $$ amount, wins the proposition).

He’s laying 3 to 1 to the poker world, that he is the best high stakes heads up 4-tabler in the world.  Is he? maybe.  Ivey says he generally only plays 2 tables…who wants some action?  Rumor has it – Benyamine, Patrik, Ivey – standing in line, in that order:

Awhile back I posted an analysis of High Stakes Poker Results which commented on the 50,000k mark.  In the highest stakes world that seems to be the threshold not many players bust through, and the ones that do are proven longer term winners.  The reason for this in this case is because of the data available for analysis (top 50, bottom 50 winners/losers online over X period), all the losers go busto before reaching that barrier.  

Now, as for Durrrr  – he is well aware of this benchmark – and he obviously feels that 50k hands is sufficient to minimize variance and allow skill to usurp short term luck.  He also thinks he has a significant edge while playing 4 tables at once.  So far so good.  I think what he may be underestimating is bankroll requirements for this game.  If he is basically putting his entire roll ($10M??) on the line vs. Ivey (making $1M/month through Tilt plus up $7M this year online…seems a little crazy.  There are definitely tax considerations in play – as he may have a tax bill in the $2-4M range, if he goes busto or loses his $1.5M + the games losses, then it is offset by what he can save in paying uncle sam…blah blah whatever.

The point here is what is a reasonable swing?  Four tables, 200/400 plo.  100bb = $40,000.  I’ve seen some analysis of PLO estimating normal variance of 60 buyins ish – which would be 2.4M x 4 = $9.6M assuming you go on a 60bb downtick on all four tables.  Since you don’t look at each table in a vacuum, it would be more like a 240bb downtick, which is unlikely – and could more largely be attributed to a skill advantage to the winner – but really – the stakes are HIGH – and someone’s gonna be put in a hurt locker by a guy named vinny.

Barry Greenstein and Ivey himself have both commented on PR that it seems likely that someone’s going broke should these games actually play out completely – otherwise someone’s taking a buyout, and losing $2-3M.

Selling pieces, and making this a bankroll war is bound to happen.  Maybe that’s why OMGclayaiken is excluded (possibly in on the action with Durrrr in the event he needs a few M’s as a loan)??.

Fun stuff – should make Tilt a lot of money with all the railbird/extra users (assuming they play while watching) – this leads to the thought of PayPerView poker. Hype and competitions create excitement – just look at 50cent and Kanye, Tupac and Biggie – people like to pick sides and watch their ‘heroes’ battle it out.