Sunday, March 06, 2005

When in doubt, simulate

I've spent my fair share of hours simulating and have found it a reliable tool when conventional analytical methods are too complicated or infeasible. Generally, I write my own software but am not averse to using custom built solutions when they're available. A fine example of the latter is Wilson's Turbo Texas Hold'em which enables a wide range of analyses based on a set of player profiles, general playing styles and other parameters. All the standard disclaimers apply when using the results from this or any other program. Something which is often overlooked is that these programs use a pseudo random number generator, which by their very nature tend to be cyclical i.e. they repeat after a certain deterministic sequence. All this means is that there is no point in running a 1 billion hand simulation, when 1 million hands will probably, and paradoxically, be more accurate.