Here are the results from the block tracker spreadsheet

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Dlan
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Here are the results from the block tracker spreadsheet

Unread post by Dlan » Thu Apr 08, 2021 10:03 pm

This is a continuation of the original post started on Jan 15, 2021

viewtopic.php?f=8&t=488

And here is the spreadsheet.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/ ... sp=sharing

As I study the results, I start to wonder if there is any advantage to calling a block, especially at lower scores.

The results from 100 hands seem to say no. Only 19 (19%) would have successful, and more than half of the time the blocking team ended up losing.

As a side note, Had I been thinking about including win/lost results in the data, I would have started sooner. Also, I’m now thinking I should have included the winning scores.

Only about a third of the hands blocked even had a potential lone call. With that, almost half of those would be stopped by left-X or possibility an ace held by 3rd and in some cases the blocker, themselves.

In almost half (48%), 3rd seat had the lone stopped.

Now there are there also the hands where calling a block resulting in that team making a point, and hands where 2nd seat may have called. I’ll let the math experts interpret how that would affect the results.

All in all, it does seem that too often, blocks are helping the opponents.

The players involved here are those with an above-average knowledge of euchre strategies. You may agree or disagree on whether or not they should have donated, but the fact remains, at that time, they thought it to be the correct move.

Image

Edit 4/9 As Wolf pointed out, line 14 would not have been a successful lone. This reduces the total number of lones from 19 to 18



Wes (aka the legend)
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Unread post by Wes (aka the legend) » Fri Apr 09, 2021 6:39 am

Dlan wrote:
Thu Apr 08, 2021 10:03 pm
As I study the results, I start to wonder if there is any advantage to calling a block, especially at lower scores.
You are right to wonder. The numbers don't look good for the donating strategy. They certainly make me wanna refine my donating strategy but at the same time my individual sample is not that large and I feel like I'm running super bad on my donates so I'm not exactly sure yet on what refining I'm gonna do.
Dlan wrote:
Thu Apr 08, 2021 10:03 pm
The results from 100 hands seem to say no. Only 19 (19%) would have successful, and more than half of the time the blocking team ended up losing.

As a side note, Had I been thinking about including win/lost results in the data, I would have started sooner. Also, I’m now thinking I should have included the winning scores.
Win/loss data can't really tell us anything. Donating will always correlate with losing more than not donating since the team that's not donating is getting better cards than the team that's donating. An extreme example to illustrate my point: Imagine whenever you or your partner are in S1 you guys are guarded every time it's your opponent's deal. Naturally your team is gonna win way more games than your normal fair share but obviously that's not cuz you didn't donate, it's becuz you had the cards. When one donates it's becuz they are NOT getting the cards, so naturally we should expect their win rate to drop but that doesn't really tell is anything.

IOW a question like this is a waste of our time becuz it's unanswerable:
irishwolf wrote: ↑

What is that expected win rate of the donating team?

What would it be if not donating?
The only way to answer that question would be to peak into some other parallel universe where that same team is playing in the same games but not donating at all. Then we would know.

What we CANNOT do is compare some generic win% of a team that donates vs a team that doesn't. Of course the former will be lower than the latter. The latter isn't donating becuz pretty much by definition they are getting better cards that allows them not to donate.
Dlan wrote:
Thu Apr 08, 2021 10:03 pm
Only about a third of the hands blocked even had a potential lone call. With that, almost half of those would be stopped by left-X or possibility an ace held by 3rd and in some cases the blocker, themselves.

In almost half (48%), 2nd seat had the lone stopped.
I assume you mean the 3rd seat, correct?
Dlan wrote:
Thu Apr 08, 2021 10:03 pm
Now there are there also the hands where calling a block resulting in that team making a point, and hands where 2nd seat may have called. I’ll let the math experts interpret how that would affect the results.

All in all, it does seem that too often, blocks are helping the opponents.

The players involved here are those with an above-average knowledge of euchre strategies. You may agree or disagree on whether or not they should have donated, but the fact remains, at that time, they thought it to be the correct move.

Image
Even if donates help opponents on average, IOW donating is -EV, the next question would be, ok at what scores would it still be worth taking that -EV hit? We seem to all agree--without real evidence--that it's worth the -EV hit at up 9-6 and up 9-7. And maybe that's true. And perhaps extrapolating from that, we would say it's always worth it when up 3 or more or maybe up 2. IDK, my only point is this subject is a bit more complicated than "It's -EV therefore don't do it".

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Dlan
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Unread post by Dlan » Fri Apr 09, 2021 9:51 am

I don’t understand how anyone can say the win/loss data, where a team uses a blocking strategy then loses, doesn’t tell us anything. Not all, but many of our OE games are close. Giving an opponent 20% of the points needed to win doesn’t matter? Blame the cards?

The evidence is clear, we over-use donations. :o

Tbolt65
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Unread post by Tbolt65 » Fri Apr 09, 2021 12:22 pm

I've stopped donating early in the game a while while back because of bleeding points. However there is a part of the game where we should be managing it. I am open to the idea about to the type of players and talent at the table. Where your more laxed for some and more vigorous for others. Now there are some minor discrepancies with some of the thinking and aggressive players. You have to differentiate thoses opponents that are calling as to what they are calling with. Meaning Are they allowing their partners to go alone? Or are they trying loners in 2nd seat often? Something to consider. When managing the game with donating.

I think Wes has established that there will be times where donating didn't effect much, they were getting two points regardless and thats fine. What's not fine is repeatedly giving your opponents extra points when a stopper is had. Sure you will have some bad donates. They key is to minimize those donates to Scenarios that manage the game and not to Donate for the sake of "Well I have nothing I have to donate".


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Unread post by irishwolf » Fri Apr 09, 2021 1:02 pm

Bottom line is this, IMO: If you are going to donate, YOU MUST STOP ONE SUCCESSFUL 4 POINTER IN 3 TRIES. That is the breakeven. If you are not that good at guess successful loners to this standard, you are losing unnecessary points. And that assumes each of the 3 donates, the opponents would have made 2 sweeps, and a 1 pointer. Points the Donating becomes 2 + 2 + 2 = 6 points for donating. Verses leave it alone: 1 + 1 + 4 = 6.
But if it goes like this with not donating: 1 + 2 + 4 = 7 or this + 2 + 2 + 4 = 8, each of those you are better off donating but it basically worst case, IMO. I see it as, my team is 'better' and have confidence we can make up the difference, score and situation dependent. Sometimes the flow of cards just won't cooperate tho. Each point donating that would not have resulted in -2 or -4, is about 7 to 10% probability of giving the opponent an advantage to reaching 10 points to win. You can't always out guess the cards. Is it not THE GAMBLER's FALLACY to out guess the cards? So which is it, 'tis the 64 dollar question.

Hard to stop them all, as eldest on R1 gets first call. No prescription for that. And 2nd round is also hard to prevent, unless you are the dealer. You can't just donate all he time with a bad hand - if you do, you are losing. I want my cake and eat it too.

Attempted loners might make the donating person feel good they stopped "an almost" loner but that doesn't cut it.

Don says, "I don’t understand how anyone can say the win/loss data, where a team uses a blocking strategy then loses, doesn’t tell us anything. Not all, but many of our OE games are close. Giving an opponent 20% of the points needed to win doesn’t matter? Blame the cards?"

The evidence is clear, we over-use donations.

~Irishwolf

Tbolt65
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Unread post by Tbolt65 » Fri Apr 09, 2021 1:56 pm

irishwolf wrote:
Fri Apr 09, 2021 1:02 pm
Bottom line is this, IMO: If you are going to donate, YOU MUST STOP ONE SUCCESSFUL 4 POINTER IN 3 TRIES. That is the breakeven. If you are not that good at guess successful loners to this standard, you are losing unnecessary points. And that assumes each of the 3 donates, the opponents would have made 2 sweeps, and a 1 pointer. Points the Donating becomes 2 + 2 + 2 = 6 points for donating. Verses leave it alone: 1 + 1 + 4 = 6.
But if it goes like this with not donating: 1 + 2 + 4 = 7 or this + 2 + 2 + 4 = 8, each of those you are better off donating but it basically worst case, IMO. I see it as, my team is 'better' and have confidence we can make up the difference, score and situation dependent. Sometimes the flow of cards just won't cooperate tho. Each point donating that would not have resulted in -2 or -4, is about 7 to 10% probability of giving the opponent an advantage to reaching 10 points to win. You can't always out guess the cards. Is it not THE GAMBLER's FALLACY to out guess the cards? So which is it, 'tis the 64 dollar question.

Hard to stop them all, as eldest on R1 gets first call. No prescription for that. And 2nd round is also hard to prevent, unless you are the dealer. You can't just donate all he time with a bad hand - if you do, you are losing. I want my cake and eat it too.

Attempted loners might make the donating person feel good they stopped "an almost" loner but that doesn't cut it.

Don says, "I don’t understand how anyone can say the win/loss data, where a team uses a blocking strategy then loses, doesn’t tell us anything. Not all, but many of our OE games are close. Giving an opponent 20% of the points needed to win doesn’t matter? Blame the cards?"

The evidence is clear, we over-use donations.

~Irishwolf

So basically we are in agreement it looks like IrishWolf. Well in general terms at least.

Tbolt65
Edward

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Unread post by Wes (aka the legend) » Fri Apr 09, 2021 4:33 pm

Dlan wrote:
Fri Apr 09, 2021 9:51 am
I don’t understand how anyone can say the win/loss data, where a team uses a blocking strategy then loses, doesn’t tell us anything.

It doesn't tell us anything because we can't peak into that proverbial parallel universe where we're in the same games and don't donate and then compare results.

Here's another way to illustrate what I'm talking about. Imagine I was psychic and donated every time I knew my opponents had a 4 pt loner. My win % in games I perfectly donate would STILL be significantly lower than in games I don't donate at all becuz in games I don't donate at all I'm obviously getting relatively better cards, hence why I'm not donating. Clearly we would be wrong to say donating is causing the lower winning %. That can't be the case since every time we donate we save our team 2 pts. The real reason the perfect donater is losing more often in games he donates in is becuz he's getting worse cards on average.

We all know this intuitively. The worst cards one gets, the more likely they are going to donate, and the more likely their team is going to lose. But it's the cards that are the primary cause of the higher losing percentage, not the donating. Donating correlates with losing but doesn't cause it. But that said, if one is donating too much, donating will certainly play an ancillary causal role, but even in that case it is still the cards that is the primary contributor to the higher frequency of losing.

An easy example to drive this point home: in a game with all experts, the team that donates up 9-7 is going to lose more often than the team that doesn't donate up 9-7. Does that mean donating caused more losses? No. It just means the experts who didn't donate up 9-7 had better cards than those who did donate (I.E. they were guarded or had a legit calling hand) and that naturally translates to a higher win% for the non-donaters.

Back to my example of the "perfect physic donater" who only donates when he knows he's blocking a 4 pt loner. Now I'm gonna make up some numbers. Let's say in those games he donates once his team wins 50% of the time. In games he donates twice, his team wins 35% of the time, and in games he donates 3 times his team wins 20% of the time, and in games he donates 4 times his team wins 5% of the time. And lets say in games he doesn't donate at all he wins 67% of the time. Well obviously we know we can't just look at these win percentages and declare Not donating at all is better than donating once, and donating once is better than donating twice, etc. We know that reasoning is fallacious. The only way to really see the positive effect of the psychic donater's strategy would be to peak into that proverbial parallel universe and compare the results of the games he donated in this universe to the exact same games where he doesn't donate in the other universe. Then we would quickly see the value of his psychic abilities whereas before if we just stuck to this universe and generically compared his win% of games he donates in to games he doesn't we end up incorrectly assuming donating is a problem.

Ok, I hope that contrived example drives my point home. Win/loss% is very poor evidence to look at when deciding the efficacy of donating. Evidence so poor and potentially misleading that we are better off ignoring it all together if we wish to keep this analysis serious.
Dlan wrote:
Fri Apr 09, 2021 9:51 am
Not all, but many of our OE games are close. Giving an opponent 20% of the points needed to win doesn’t matter? Blame the cards?
Donating is not actually "giving an opponent 20% of the points needed". On average it's a fraction of a point. How much of a fraction depends on the nature of one's donating hand as not all donates are created equal. And when exactly it's worth it for a team to "pay" that fraction is absolutely up for debate and probably debatable forever without a very good computer simulation.
Dlan wrote:
Fri Apr 09, 2021 9:51 am
The evidence is clear, we over-use donations. :o
I think the evidence is strong enough that it certainly has me rethinking a lot of spots. I just need a larger sample size on certain hand configurations to help me further refine my donating strategy. I really need to start doing kitchen table donates to speed things up. Add it to the long list of samples I need to do.

The whole point of my post though is to get us to recognize where the evidence is coming from. It's not the win/loss% that matters, it's the EV of donating that matters and so far after a decent set of hands, donating is not doing well at all. The EV of donating is clearly and significantly negative. I still think there's some runbad cooked into my individual sample, but the evidence is still strong and undeniable enough that I know I have to make some changes to my game.

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Unread post by Wes (aka the legend) » Fri Apr 09, 2021 4:39 pm

Tbolt65 wrote:
Fri Apr 09, 2021 12:22 pm
I think Wes has established that there will be times where donating didn't effect much, they were getting two points regardless and thats fine. What's not fine is repeatedly giving your opponents extra points when a stopper is had. Sure you will have some bad donates. They key is to minimize those donates to Scenarios that manage the game and not to Donate for the sake of "Well I have nothing I have to donate".


Tbolt65
Edward
Not really. I mean yes I've always tried to drive the point home that donating is not really about blocking loners (except at 9-6/9-7). It's mostly about choosing those spots where your team has a very high likelihood of losing 2 pts even if you pass. Doing that minimizes the cost of donating those times you're wrong, and thus minimizes the cost overall. I mean the theory sounds great and all, but the data is still showing that my donating strategy is performing poorly.

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Unread post by Wes (aka the legend) » Fri Apr 09, 2021 4:49 pm

irishwolf wrote:
Fri Apr 09, 2021 1:02 pm
Bottom line is this, IMO: If you are going to donate, YOU MUST STOP ONE SUCCESSFUL 4 POINTER IN 3 TRIES. That is the breakeven. If you are not that good at guess successful loners to this standard, you are losing unnecessary points. And that assumes each of the 3 donates, the opponents would have made 2 sweeps, and a 1 pointer. Points the Donating becomes 2 + 2 + 2 = 6 points for donating. Verses leave it alone: 1 + 1 + 4 = 6.
But if it goes like this with not donating: 1 + 2 + 4 = 7 or this + 2 + 2 + 4 = 8, each of those you are better off donating but it basically worst case, IMO. I see it as, my team is 'better' and have confidence we can make up the difference, score and situation dependent. Sometimes the flow of cards just won't cooperate tho. Each point donating that would not have resulted in -2 or -4, is about 7 to 10% probability of giving the opponent an advantage to reaching 10 points to win. You can't always out guess the cards. Is it not THE GAMBLER's FALLACY to out guess the cards? So which is it, 'tis the 64 dollar question.

Hard to stop them all, as eldest on R1 gets first call. No prescription for that. And 2nd round is also hard to prevent, unless you are the dealer. You can't just donate all he time with a bad hand - if you do, you are losing. I want my cake and eat it too.

Attempted loners might make the donating person feel good they stopped "an almost" loner but that doesn't cut it.

~Irishwolf
Assuming all donates are -EV the only thing left to do would be for a team to come to some kind of an agreement of when S1 should donate or not. I don't see a way to "prove" when donating is best, but that shouldn't stop a good team from forming some kind of agreement. Your idea of only donating vs a non-jack when up 3 or more and donating vs a Jack depending on one's cards is a start to that discussion.

Wes (aka the legend)
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Unread post by Wes (aka the legend) » Fri Apr 09, 2021 6:56 pm

BTW here's an easy way to prove all donates are -EV: Just take the worst possible donate spot: no trump, no aces, no 2nd rd hand vs a Jack. Say this hand:

(Card_10-D) (Card_9-D) (Card_10-H) (Card_9-H) (Card_9-C)

Vs (Card_J-S)

Then do a kitchen table sample comparing calling (donating) to passing. If calling is -EV at a 95% CI, then one has effectively "proven" all donates are -EV

Richardb02
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Unread post by Richardb02 » Sat Apr 10, 2021 10:30 am

Here is what it looks like from my profession as an Insurance Agent/ Investment Advisor and my location, the west coast of Florida.

Donating is buying insurance from the catastrophic possibility of a 4 point loner. Serious buyers use expendable and discretionary funds to mitigate of the costs of a catastrophic possibility. My professional recommendation is to purchase insurance (think homeowners insurance for this analogy), if you can afford it and if it mitigates the results of the catastrophe. If you don’t have the funds (points to spare) than don’t buy the insurance. If you have surplus funds (2-3 point or greater lead), then it is a personal choice.

So, Up 9-7 or 9-6, the catastrophic possibility of losing the game exists. You have the 2 points in your budget. So it is an easy decision to Donate. Unless you definitely block 4 points, it is logical to donate.

If Opponents have 5 points or lower the decision involves more parameters, because a single catastrophic even will not cost you the game. I suggest donating if:
2 point minimum lead
Jack Up, donate with less than 3 possible-stoppers(trump+void, off suit aces) or a Certain Stopper (Lx, Axx of trump)
Ace Up, donate with less than 2 stoppers
Q or K Up, donate with 0 stoppers
9 or T Up, do not donate
These are recommendations for R1S1 and R1S4 donations. I am not considering other seats and rounds, at this point and in general)

If the score is low, 2-2 or lower, have some fun! Mess with Opponents’ minds! OE players play the game more seriously than most. We need some comedy too. It also makes you less predictable.

This moves my position closer to Irish and Tbolt on donating (more cautious).

There are several large holes in my discussion. Are there hands where EVd>EVp? And if that is the case, shouldn’t we donate those hands. IOW, if EVd (Expected Value of Donating is better (less negative) than the EVp (Expected Value of Passing), shouldn’t we donate? I suspect that is certainly the case with a Jack Up. So I would donate unless Opponents have 8 or 9. Ace Up, is another possibility. Hopefully we will see those EV’s being posted. (Wes may have even stated such in a recent post).





irishwolf
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Unread post by irishwolf » Sat Apr 10, 2021 10:43 am

Of course all donates are not Negative EV. It's a statistical adventure and the majority are!

If calling is -EV at a 95% CI, then one has effectively "proven" all donates are -EV

Wes (aka the legend)
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Unread post by Wes (aka the legend) » Sat Apr 10, 2021 3:30 pm

irishwolf wrote:
Sat Apr 10, 2021 10:43 am
Of course all donates are not Negative EV. It's a statistical adventure and the majority are!

If calling is -EV at a 95% CI, then one has effectively "proven" all donates are -EV
Idk if all donates are -EV or not. All I know is the claim "all donates are -EV" is definitely falsifiable and easy to test.

irishwolf
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Unread post by irishwolf » Sat Apr 10, 2021 4:06 pm

Glad I did not state this:

Idk if all donates are -EV or not. All I know is the claim "all donates are -EV" is definitely falsifiable and easy to test.

I think what was said is: The evidence is clear, we over-use donations! Says Don.

But I donate (probably too much as well) to control the game when I think I need to. It is not 100%. I know that and still do, lol. And not all hands with Jack up, even without a sure stopper.

But that spread sheet says a lot!

Irishwolf

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