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All Byes Should Be Compensated

Posted By: Taper_Mike
Date: Tuesday, 29 October 2013, at 10:12 a.m.

In Response To: CT tournament review - brief (Rod)

All Byes Should Be Compensated

This has been a fascinating thread.

I think Jake Jacobs explains it best: even though the math is the same either way, psychologically, many of us prefer not to have a bye awarded in the semifinal round. I did not read the Wikipedia articles on the Elasticity of Intertemporal Substitution that David Presser links, but I think he understands the same point.

MCG is right on target when he explains that awarding compensation for a late-round bye is no different than awarding compensation for early-round byes. If you are in favor of one, you ought to be in favor of the other.

I find less favor for arguments decrying “free” ABT points awarded after a late bye. Whether your bye comes early or late, if you win ABT points, you have had the same unfair advantage over players who did not have a bye. Jason Lee’s coupon example, and the sample bracket that Matt Reklaitis links to make this point perfectly clear.

My own opinion is that all byes should be compensated. It is relatively easy to do the arithmetic as you can see in this example from 2011. I suppose there is some arithmetic that would allow you to take byes into consideration in awarding ABT points as well.

What I wrote as part of the same thread in 2011 is worth repeating here:

Ever since I read Danny Kleinman’s rant about byes in one of his early works (Vision?), I have strongly opposed the current system. It is pathetic to hear tournament directors vaguely assert that “in the long run” it will all balance out. Wasn’t it Keynes who quipped, “In the long run, we’ll all be dead!”

Nobody who plays backgammon seriously is naive enough to expect that if you flip a coin a hundred times, the long run will arrive. More often than not, you’ll get a 55/45 ratio between heads and tails with only 100 tosses. So, Mr. Tournament Director, how many hundred tournaments must I enter before the long run will finally smooth things out? Phew! I will be dead.

And don’t forget, as Kleinman pointed out long ago, receiving a bye doubles your equity in an elimination event!

Danny recommended pricing the byes fairly. When you do that, the long run arrives immediately. I strongly endorse that simple idea.



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