Jungleman Gives Crash Course in Expected Value to Waitress

15 Jan

You know what they say, “you can’t win them all.” But for any professional poker player, the aim is to make decisions that will pay off in the long run rather than worrying about short-term losses. Recently, Dan “Jungleman” Cates gave a waitress at a restaurant a crash course on how expected value works, and the waitress made the right choice!

Jungleman Teaches the Art of EV

Jungleman presented the waitress with a choice: she could take a guaranteed $20 tip or roll the dice on a crocodile game that offered a chance to win $200, but at the cost of losing the guaranteed tip—pretty much flipping a coin.

The waitress decided to gamble and lost, but as Jungleman explained, she still made the right choice. Professional poker players don’t focus on short term wins, they focus on making the decision that has the most expected value in the long run.

In this case, the waitress’s expected value on the crocodile game was $100. If she played it out long enough, in theory, she would average getting a $100 tip – $0 half the time and $200 the other half. So, even though she didn’t win this round, she still made a smart move with a positive expected value.

Sure, the waitress may have regretted not taking the guaranteed $20 tip, but as Jungleman put it:

“I know you’re feeling very upset that you did not win $200. In actuality, she made $100 in theory, 100 invisible dollars, that you can one day refund somewhere, maybe Chuck E. Cheese’s.” The point is, professional poker players don’t focus on the short-term wins or losses, they focus on the big picture. And sometimes, taking a gamble with a positive expected value is the smart move in the long run.

So, don’t be discouraged if you lose a round or two, just make sure you’re making decisions that will pay off in the long run.

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