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Universal statistical properties of poker tournaments

Clément Sire

par Clément Sire - 25 février 2007

We present a simple model of Texas hold’em poker tournaments which retains the two main aspects of the game : i. the minimal bet grows exponentially with time ; ii. players have a finite probability to bet all their money. The distribution of the fortunes of players not yet eliminated is found to be independent of time during most of the tournament, and reproduces accurately data obtained from Internet tournaments and world championship events. This model also makes the connection between poker and the persistence problem widely studied in physics, as well as some recent physical models of biological evolution, and extreme value statistics.

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