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Author Topic: Data on past tournaments?  (Read 9683 times)
landoni
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« on: February 16, 2010, 11:40:06 PM »

Dear Fellows,

I have been reading the WorldRPS Forum for some time today. It seems that it should be possible to obtain data on past tournaments, including the history of play (an example of it is on the home page of worldrps.com where I learn that Tim Conrad played RRRP-RPPP). Do you know where I could get such data?

EXPLANATION: I am a PhD student in Finance at Columbia. I am currently studying Game Theory and I've been thinking about looking at how people play RPS when something is at stake to see what is hardwired in people's brain and what is instead the object of rational choices. In fact, there is often something at stake (the other day I was able to skip a class by winning a game, the other person got to go and take notes for me). But in official championships there is more than that at stake, so you'd think people should be behaving as rationally as they can.
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Master Roshambollah
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« Reply #1 on: February 17, 2010, 01:37:45 AM »

WELCOME, SEEKER...

Just fair warning that you're not being ignored.  You pose an interesting question, and one most deserving of a well-considered response.  There are probably already several Professional Players who are are half waiting until they have time to make such a response and half waiting for someone else to make it first.

The World RPS Society may maintain hard data, but good luck getting it from them on a student's salary.  Much of the information from past tournaments is anecdotal, not statistical; too bad you're not in a soft science like Economics.  Smiley

A quick answer: many times, acting rationally can be considered the same as acting predictably.  This is to be avoided at all costs.  A pure "random" strategy is probably rational, as it fares equally well against any strategy but Precog, but you'll never get an edge playing pure "random."  Some players alternate between rational and irrational behavior, in hopes that this will throw their opponents off the trail.

You know, something just occurred to me.  I could have saved myself the time of writing the above.  If it's irrational behavior and professional RPS you're investigating, look no further than Clayton "custardchuk" Dwyer, the Greatest Australian RPS Player of All Time.  His example alone should be enough for you to finish your thesis; just make sure you're fully cashed up and have a high tolerance for lethal consumables before you interview him.  Whatever price he asks is fair. 

more soon,

Master Roshambollah
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landoni
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« Reply #2 on: February 17, 2010, 11:01:02 PM »

[sorry for the long post. I went a little overboard]

Thank you Master Roshambollah. Are you the same as Shiva Roshambollah I see on Facebook? In any case, I'll be glad to play with you on the Red Bull app if you think I am not too bad for you.

http://apps.facebook.com/redbullroshambull/home/send_challenge.php?to=523409014

I just subscribed, I want to try it out. It may be that they are willing to release some data. See below as to why their data would be complementary to those from live tournaments.

One important question I have is - why don't people actually play randomly? The reasoning is as follows:

1) As you said, if you play randomly you are not going anywhere. In a 64 people tournament I'd have 1.6% chance of winning. So I am going to try to outwit my opponent.

2) However, suppose that one of these 64 people is custardchuk (how do I contact him by the way? maybe a shout... MR. DWYERRRRRR! maybe he'll hear me). At some point I am going to encounter him if I don't get eliminated. Then, I know he's infinitely better than me. Then, my strongest option is to play randomly. (Let's assume for now that I AM ABLE to do so).

3) But then, in every tournament of a certain level there will be many games that have a clear underdog. If the underdog is rational, she will play randomly. I should be able to detect that pattern with statistical analysis. For instance, I could find that people do not play randomly because they are overconfident. Or maybe there is an optimal level of overconfidence.

4) Now let's analyze the issue whether I really can play randomly and win 50% of the matches. For instance, I could have a sheet with computer generated random throws. Before each game, I can memorize the next few throws and play them straight. The only way my opponent can beat me is (a) by "cheating", i.e. observing my throw and playing the best response one microsecond later, or (b) by seeing telltales in my body and behavior.

(4) is the most interesting part here. If neither (a) nor (b) are a concern, I should really be able to find evidence of rational/irrational behavior. But, and here is the question for anyone who's willing to answer, are (a) and (b) a concern? Do people cheat? is it even considered cheating or is it OK? is a decent player able to conceal his or her move until the last microsecond by using feints and suppressing telltales? (or feinting telltales, as in that famous World Series of Poker final...)

Finally, if (a) or (b) are a concern, the Red Bull app should take care of both concerns because there is no physical interaction between players. Having BOTH datasets (ambitious!) I could measure how important is the "physical" part and how important is the "prediction" part, respectively, in determining the supremacy of a player. In that sense they are complementary.

Thank you for the attention. If Mr. Dwyer is listening, I will be glad to offer him a reasonably toxic compensation for an interview. If anyone who has data is listening, and such data are available but not for free, we can talk about it - who knows, maybe I can convince you to give them to me for free, maybe I can convince the school to give me money to pay... :-)
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landoni
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« Reply #3 on: February 17, 2010, 11:08:15 PM »

By the way, let me bring this to your attention in case you hadn't seen it:

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Master Roshambollah
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« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2010, 01:34:58 AM »

Good questions, I mean good questions, young man.  I'll answer them as I am able.

There's only one Roshambollah in the world, and I am he.  Challenge forthcoming.

I could not disagree more as to your premise that Roshambull stats would be complementary to live tourney data.  The overall throw distribution may be similar, but a mere tally of throws does not take into account qualititative analyis.  I don't have anything against online fantasy RPS, but there are a distressing number of players who are starting to confuse it with the real thing.  It's like comparing a futbol simulation (say, a video game) with a real match.  The rules may be the same, player stats may be similar, game scores may be similar, even the "look and feel" may be similar.  But at the end of the day, it's just a video game.  It resembles the real thing, but it's not the real thing.  Online RPS is a fun social game for some, and can be a useful adjunct for beta-testing strategies "in a vaccum" if you will, but that's about it. 


You make a couple of assumptions about real-life RPS tournaments.  The first is that all players present are fully aware of Game Theory and how it relates to RPS.  No, most players just show up because it's a fun social activity, and there's the chance to win some money.  Fair enough, but these players are the "bread and butter" of Pro Players.  It does not occur to such players that they have to work in order to "play randomly"; they think they're already playing randomly, but they do have certain statistical tendencies (I could tell you what they are, but I'd rather sign you up to Roshambollah Learning Systems - the game is to be sold, not to be told.)

You are correct in your assumption that many players do indeed play pre-determined throws, but not just for the reason you mention, e.g., average players trying to get a leg up on the Pros.  Professional Players such as "The Legend" C. Urbanus also use "scripting" as it is the ultimate in non-reactive play. 

It is true that average or sub-par players can improve their performance by adopting a random or pseudo-random approach instead of playing reactively.  However, not only does random play not improve your chances above 1/3 in the long run, there is also a strategy that works against random play, without cheating.  I have been meaning to write a treatise on this strategy for some time, but for now I'll just refer to it by its proper name:  Precog, short for "Precognitive Play."  Precog is one of the highest levels of RPS strategy, but an advanced practitioner can use it to trump random much of the time.  An active application of Precog ("Mind Control") can be used to force another player to change his or her throws, even if that player is following a random script.  I realize that occult manifestations may not fit into your academic data model, but no true Pro Player doubts its existence.  "He who has the how is careless of the why."

You may indeed find correlations between Real Professional RPS players and their performance in fake online RPS; indeed, on Roshambull, several names in the Top 10 are are not unfamiliar to students of the sport.  Expert and Master level Pro Players may use their advanced knowledge of RPS Game Theory to gain an edge in fantasy online RPS (in much the same way that some National Football League players also "manage" fantasy football teams.)  However, there is no real causal relationship, especially when one considers the fact that fake online fantasy RPS players are completely unknown in Professional circles.

Again, and I can not say this too firmly, Real RPS and online rps are two different animals.  I would be very wary of making too many connections between the two.  If you do, you run the risk of "creating the data" and forcing it to fit the model you have already determined, anathema to true academic excellence.

There is more to RPS than mere "physical" and "predictive" aspects.  To continue with the use of words that start with "p", there are also the "precognitive" and "paranormal" aspects.

Not to mention that there are also metagame concerns; a Real RPS Pro may happily lose a few matches on purpose, even tournament matches, in order to maneuver for a greater win later.  This is so common an occurence, it barely deserves mentioning...

Still, we Pro RPS Players love academics; Don McKeown, graduate student of Sociology at U Calgary, is currently working on a study involving the sociology of RPS as an emerging sport.  He is a thoughtful student, and he picks up a mean bar tab.  RPS, by its very nature, is more suited to the soft sciences.  Still, many Pro Players may hope that if the results of your study are publicized, they will be able to gain a further edge over the average player by inverting expectations.  For this, and many other reasons, I wish you the best of luck with your study.  If you have any further questions, do not hesitate to ask.







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Brad Fox
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« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2010, 01:54:03 PM »

Hi Landoni,

I'll leave play discussions to others (although I agree with Master Rosh that on-line RPS and live competition RPS are *entirely* different sports).

As to your question about data, the Society is approached multiple times every year with academic requests about providing tournament data, unfortunately we haven't (as of yet) managed to find a way to record this information. With over 1,000 matches taking place over 16 distinct arenas in the span of 4-5 hours at a World Championships even simply logging the ~10,000 throws isn't possible without the addition of significant staff and resources, and we're stretched every year to find enough volunteers to just cover the essential positions required for the tournament.

The Society has tried for almost five years to find a sponsor to cover the costs involved in obtaining this information so we could make it available for academic study, but haven't had any luck yet. As a stop gap, we attempted this year to record video of the top 16 matches, but unfortunately it wasn't possible due to a last-minute hardware problem.

There was one European university which was going to consider sponsoring a more robust study next year - but whether anything comes of it, is yet to be seen.

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landoni
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« Reply #6 on: February 18, 2010, 03:12:58 PM »

Thank you very much for the answers. They are both very useful and they cover pretty much all for now. I think the constant academic interest in RPS is there because RPS is the essence of game. Nothing less.

I just want you to know that I do not believe that playing online and playing offline is the same thing, far from it. I do not even assume that there is no psychic interaction. As a financial economist, I am allowed to ignore the known laws of physics as long as it works. I did assume that you can't exercise Precog skills when you can't see your opponent, but I'll take it back if you think I should (?). I just think that, as in poker, there are skills that are useful in live play but not in online play, viceversa, and others that are always useful. We could call them "local" vs. "ubiquitous" vs. "online-only" skills. That's what makes the two sports different. No matter what these skills are, it is clear that some skills are transferable because the live champions perform very well online too. Therefore it would be an interesting measurement per se to see what part of the edge depends on "local" skills, no matter what these skills actually consist of.

Then of course the above distinction is stylized. But we academics tend to oversimplify things, or else you can't even start to think about them. You can add complexity later...

Thanks again,

Matt
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martinburley
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« Reply #7 on: February 19, 2010, 10:30:22 PM »

Hi landoni,

One short point: your conditions (a) and (b) are, I think, relatively signficant in face-to-face RPS matches involving at least one skilled player.

Re. (a), try this experiment. Watch yourself in a mirror as you throw Paper, turning your wrist at the top of your delivery phase ('slamming' your palm down). Then throw Paper again, this time only turning your wrist towards the bottom of the delivery phase when your lower arm is nearly horizontal already ('slipping' your palm out). You should notice that the first is much easier for a potential opponent to spot and respond to than the second.

Re. (b), one fairly reliable physical tell is excess tension in the hand and/or face corresponding with a Rock throw. This is particularly true of beginners. There are other tells.
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"The great fallacy is that the game is first and last about winning. It is nothing of the kind. The game is about glory. It is about doing things in style, with a flourish, about going out to beat the other lot, not waiting for them to die of boredom."
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« Reply #8 on: February 20, 2010, 10:20:00 AM »

Welcome Landoni,

I heard your cry.

Though I'm not sure I can help.

Roshambollah is a prankster and no-one here takes what he says at face value. It not that he isn't truthful...it's how he disguises himself that is the problem.

I am presently hard to get. I'm working, almost literally, beyond the black stump and my internet link is, at best, tenuous. Every time a cow trips over the line I have a 10 to 40k ride with my pliers. I won't lie, it's tedious for a Darwin boy.

I think that in the same way we call a red-head "blue", Rosh is calling me irrational. I'm sorry that he said that, for your sake. If you want to understand considered strategy that may "appear to others" to be irrational, I can help. You couldn't go far wrong by researching the early MottBB's.

i am happy to help further, cows permitting.

regards
custardchuk

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« Reply #9 on: March 01, 2010, 09:33:32 PM »

I've been following the board for some time & cryptic-conflicting answers from some of the self promoting members is the standard.
Bottom line is :This is a head game that requires you to manage alcohol and composer & no one is going to spill the beans on the winning .....
However if you want some personal lessons on how to win-PM me for rates
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Franklint
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« Reply #10 on: March 02, 2010, 05:40:08 PM »

Quote from: V V V
However if you want some personal lessons on how to win-PM me for rates
Nice plug. I think you'll fit in well here.

Cheers,
Franklint
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