Earl and the truth about the "Million Dollar Challenge"

Fatboy

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
We got half this mostly done, just need to interview Earl's x wife and a couple people that live here in Dallas. The Earl Strickland interview is the best I could ever hope for. I interviewed him, so he got a lot of detailed questions about many of his keys to playing well enough to accomplish such as incredible feat.

I'm planning a trip to North Carolina in two weeks to interview Lisa, take care of a cue company business and then we can complete it asap.


its gonna be a dandy of a story, :smile: That one thing I told you I saw, i have thought about that 100000 times and I know for a fact where and when I saw it. Its gone forever. for better or worse, he is long gone and i cant reach him.
 

ROB.M

:)
Silver Member
Post

Wow, a ten year old thread'
Sounds like the documentary of the racks is a touch late...
Sounds like a good view.

Rob.M
 

kkdanamatt

AzB Gold Member
Gold Member
Silver Member
It was actually simple. They counted the number of pool players (6.5 million) and divided by the number of Earl's (1). Guess they forgot to look at the entry list...

Actually, if Earl was breaking and running out about 25% of the time (an extremely high percentage), then the odds of him doing it eleven racks in a row are 1 in 4,194,304.
The odds of him running ten racks in a row are 1 in 1,048,576.
 

cuesmith

BEEN THERE, DONE THAT!
Silver Member
Actually, if Earl was breaking and running out about 25% of the time (an extremely high percentage), then the odds of him doing it eleven racks in a row are 1 in 4,194,304.
The odds of him running ten racks in a row are 1 in 1,048,576.

Your math is faulty! It's based on past tournament history. This was the ONLY tournament where there was a million dollar carrot hanging out there ONLY if you ran out 10 racks. All of the tournament matches that the stats were based on had no bonus for running 10 racks so the smart, prudent players played safeties instead of trying difficult shots!
 

Bob Jewett

AZB Osmium Member
Gold Member
Silver Member
Your math is faulty! It's based on past tournament history. This was the ONLY tournament where there was a million dollar carrot hanging out there ONLY if you ran out 10 racks. All of the tournament matches that the stats were based on had no bonus for running 10 racks so the smart, prudent players played safeties instead of trying difficult shots!

Those are good points, but the matches were to 15. If you ran four racks from the opening break and missed, you still could get a chance to run 10.
 

book collector

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Summary: The odds could have been as low as 1/256.

Bob, those odds are calculated using tournament averages. There is often an advantage to playing safe and players would intentionally not attempt to run out or play a less likely two-way shot.

I know you have a vast understanding of probablities, but feel your baseline was incorrect because of the added bonus. For my estimation, I used the 31% you used for the first 5 racks and then increased the percentage to 48% which has been witnessed in recent TAR matches (even with the option to play safety and it being 10-ball). My number now comes to 1/13,708. If you apply the Markov's chain as you mention in the article the odds improve to more like 1/2,300. If you use 48% from the beginning - making the assumption that everyone was more concerned with the bonus than the tournament - It could have been as low as 1/256.

Before anyone pipes up that these numbers are ridiculous, I will gladly bet on Shane running 10 straight if I'm offered 20,000:1. Money must be posted. I might even bet on Donny if he can play in Florida.

1 in 256 ? :scratchhead:
 

CJ Wiley

ESPN WORLD OPEN CHAMPION
Gold Member
Silver Member
Earl did change these odds and goes through the entire procedure he used in practice

poolmouse;4207054[B said:
]Has this ever been completed?[/B]

We have some great interviews with Jay Helfert (the tournament director and the person that racked the last 5 games of Earl's run), Max Eberle who witnessed the historic feat and of course a two hour interview with Earl Stickland where I ask him many questions and Earl told things that I would have never guessed about how he prepared to run the racks.

The documentary will be completed at some point, the essential interview that we have left is with Earl's ex wife, Lisa, who he told on the way to Dallas that he was going to run the 10 racks for the Million......and he lived up to this somewhat "crazy" statement. :eek:

The affiliate of Lloyds of London had a math professor at SMU College run the odds for the Million Dollar Challenge and they were 7.8 Million to 1, and they don't change because he ran the racks. Just like when someone wins the lottery they don't change the odds, they are what they say they are at the beginning through whatever calculation they agree to use.

Earl did change these odds and goes through the entire procedure he used in practice to figure out the best possible approach. The "stars had to align" for this to happen in many ways, and It still remains, without question, the most remarkable feat in the history of pool.

It looks like July and August will free up for us to finish up this documentary. It's really strange that my nomination as Captain of the Mosconi Cup stopped us from doing it in the first place, especially if someone was to know "the rest of the story" about my relationship with the Mosconi Cup dating back to the year Earl ran the 11 Racks. They are connected, and in a bizarre way, and now they are connected yet again. 'The Game is the Teacher'
 

DogsPlayingPool

"What's in your wallet?"
Silver Member
Your math is faulty! It's based on past tournament history. This was the ONLY tournament where there was a million dollar carrot hanging out there ONLY if you ran out 10 racks. All of the tournament matches that the stats were based on had no bonus for running 10 racks so the smart, prudent players played safeties instead of trying difficult shots!

This is true but perhaps only to a small extent. What I mean is this event wasn't a home run derby with player after player coming to the table to only attempt to run 10 racks. It still was a match play tournament and you had an opponent ready to pounce on you every time you blew a difficult shot. Your still playing a real opponent, not the 9 Ball ghost. And if you lose a couple of matches you're out of the tournament and out of the running for the big prize.
 

cuesmith

BEEN THERE, DONE THAT!
Silver Member
This is true but perhaps only to a small extent. What I mean is this event wasn't a home run derby with player after player coming to the table to only attempt to run 10 racks. It still was a match play tournament and you had an opponent ready to pounce on you every time you blew a difficult shot. Your still playing a real opponent, not the 9 Ball ghost. And if you lose a couple of matches you're out of the tournament and out of the running for the big prize.

Yes but the point is as soon as he decides to play safety, his chances of winning the big bucks go to near zero! As long as he keeps shooting he's alive in the race for the million. It definitely affected Earls strategy in this match, he went there trying to win the million, where in most cases he's more concerned about winning the tournament!
 

jeffj2h

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
The simple probability also assume independent trials. Say the chances of me winning a game against Mr X is 60% based on a years worth of frequent play against that person. Then the simple probability of me winning 5 in a row is 0.6^5 = 8%. But if I win the first three in a row I just might catch a gear and also Mr X might get demoralized, making those last two games easier.

So the games have memory; they are not independent.
 
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