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Revisiting O'Hagan AtS Cube/Ray Response

Posted By: Stick
Date: Friday, 11 April 2014, at 6:43 a.m.

It hasn't been but a few days but with the traffic around here/# of posts things get pushed pushed down and forgotten quite quickly so I thought I'd start a new thread. Here's original thread I'll be discussing.

Before I delve into it directly I'd like to tell you a bedtime story. This one involves Kitty Kat Woolsey and Stickalicious back in the days where I was already 'good' but still a little green.

I was at a tournament playing against a known quantity that I'd rank as high intermediate. Kit was watching. It was a very lopsided score where I was leading and owned the cube. I kept wanting to double and wanting to double knowing how strong my position was but holding off not only because it might have been a hold but because of the skill difference. I finally arrived at a position where I knew it was a pass and felt a bit of relief, I could finally double! I believe the take point was a medium single digit, perhaps 5-7%(?) and that the opponent had about 4%.

So I doubled, this person took, recubed, etc...and I was lectured afterwards by Kit. There's no bad beat story here, no sobbing, I won. That's not the point. Kit basically said opponents who know your playing strength and are clearly weaker than you are always going to take that kind of cube. If they pass they realize how far down they are, how many games they have to play to catch up, and it seems like an insurmountable feat. If they take however, they see they may rarely win but they could win, if they get lucky, this game and the entire match.

Ok, fair enough. I believe him. But do I care yet? Not really...when I did start to care is when he asked me "Were you happy when your opponent took?" My reply, no, not at all. The only time you can be relieved when you send a cube like that is when they pass. Even then, was the risk worth the gain? There's hardly much gain if you had to wait to the point of it being a pass before cubing.

So John's position/Ray's opinion doesn't quite fit the bill because we are cubing before it's to that point so there is theoretical gain if they pass. The thing is, you've heard from three players (Neil, Kit, myself) I'd back against any trio of players in the world that we don't get dropped. We can wait to the point of it being a drop and still they're going to take at these obnoxiously lopsided scores where we're putting everything on the line. Guess what, they probably should.

One thing I didn't like about Ray's original post is that he never really makes an analysis. He sort of tosses up his hands and says "I'll cube because nobody knows what to do with the take/pass decision!" He never says himself whether he'd take or drop. He doesn't even figure out a take point. A position can be more about take points and how often you win and maybe Ray knew them, can't tell from his post, but if you don't even figure them out then floating the cube over to put the match on the line in a position where I personally know intermediates who would know their approx. win % I have a hard time acceping your conclusion.

Ray says "I think the real key to these positions and situations is the little % number that XG gives, which represents the number of incorrect passes to make the cube right" and then he goes on to say what I ranted about in the above paragraph. He didn't figure anything out and defended it by saying "That's kind of hard and can be expensive in terms of time OTB, especially when playing with a clock. "

Bad defense. Like 2013 Cowboys defense. You're potentially putting the entire match on the line. The cube is jacked up already. It is highly highly highly likely that because of the level of the cube time is not even an issue. Where should you be spending your time? On possible recubes to 8 which will turn to 16 which will decide the match.

Now back to Ray's magic XG number. The number XG reports is for an equal opponent. (even that's not totally correct but that's a different post) You can't finish your match, stick the position in XG, see that it says 11.5% (per John's rollout) and be done with it. That's not the correct number. You need a much much higher figure than that to be cubing 'unknown quantities'.

I think Ray's estimation of 30% of Open players not considering for a second taking this cube is ridiculous. Anyone else feel free to weigh in. Assume they are playing against Ray.

My next favorite line "I would not double Stick, John O, or Neil, because I know my customers". The bot shows it to be a no double by ~.025. You don't think cubing us is the right play?

Since my meatloaf is almost finished let me wrap this even though I wanted to ramble more. I can do that after y'all wake up in the morning and chime in. This position is one where I'm great with some people doubling some people but I don't believe that set of people is Ray (or an equally strong player) v. unknown quantity so his initial post to me is bad Meatloaf.


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