Perception is a tricky thing. For instance, I can look in a mirror and--one in ten times--think, "Hey, there is a good looking guy." The actual statistics prove the number is much, much closer to zero in ten.
Play poker for any length of time and you'll come to recognize that perception is a big part of the game. It's a lot easier to make reads when you have nothing on the line. Distorting your image and tweaking your opponent's perceptions of how you play can result in big profits. The top players in the world like Daniel Negreanu are kings of creating false images for later riches.
Several years ago, online players began to use software to help them minimize the effects of false perception. Any any given moment, they could look at their screen, see how their opponents really played, and then make decisions accordingly. Such software, however, was not readily available for live play. That changed with the advent of The Big Game.
If you're just catching up to the newest high stakes cash game sensation on the FOX network, The BIg Game features the world's best players playing a cash game with $100,000 or more in front of them. Each week, PokerStars fronts a "Loose Cannon" qualifier $100,000 to play in the game and lets the Loose Cannon keep everything he or she makes (and, by the way, if you haven't seen this week's qualifier, it's a she in the very best sense of the word).
It's easy to get a sense for who is winning and losing in the game, but it might be harder for some people to know exactly why the player is winning or losing. Aggression? More three-bets? What is it?
Cue The Big Game website.
If you click on that image, you will see just a small portion of the statistics The Big Game's website has on offer. Whether its the infamous VPIP, the number of raises, or the number of three-bets, the statistics page gives you a more in-depth look at a televised game than you'll find anywhere else. Expect to see the concept copied on any successful televised poker program.
For instance, in the first 60 hands of this week's action, Barry Greenstein and Justin Bonomo both three-bet only 3.2% of the time. Meanwhile Joe Cada three-bet 11.5% and Jason Mercier did it 15.6%.
What does all that mean for the outcome of the game? Well, I'm not going to sit here and analyze every number (until PokerStars puts a blogger seat at the table, at which time, we'll talk). However, you can have as much fun crunching the numbers as you like by going to the PokerStars Big Game statistics page.
In the meantime, here's some video from this week's action.