Earl and the truth about the "Million Dollar Challenge"

Aaron_S

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Those odds are totally f'ed, IMO, because they apparently didn't consider the fact that the only time a player plays full-tilt offense is during a ring game. I didn't see Earl's run, but I'm guessing there were several occasions during those 11 racks where playing a safety would have been the percentage play, and the play he would have taken were it not for the runout prize money.

In the 9-ball players meeting at DCC a few years back, they brought up a rule whereby a player could not be beaten without at least receiving one turn at the table. So if their opponent won the lag and proceed to run out the set (7 racks), they would have one opportunity to match the feat. At that time (this was maybe the 9th or 10th DCC) nobody had ever run out a set in that event. Based on those stats, running 7 racks would appear to be a nearly impossible feat, but I would venture a guess that more than half of the players in a typical DCC 9-ball field have at some point in their lives ran 7+ racks. It's just that in a short race tournament, you have to play the percentages, which will usually require playing a few safeties in a set. Not to take anything away from Earl's accomplishment, but this was a major miscalculation on somebody's part, IMO.

Aaron
 

Bob Jewett

AZB Osmium Member
Gold Member
Silver Member
Here is an article from 1996: http://www.sfbilliards.com/articles/1996-06.pdf
that discusses some odds assumptions behind Earl's run including that fact that the events for which the million-dollar prize was offered used races to 15. With reasonable assumptions, Earl's chances are 1/20,000 or so. If you add in that the nine went in on the break a reported 5 times, the odds are better.
 

Aaron_S

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
IIRC, Jay Helfert had or had access to the video. Sorry Jay if I am mis-remembering.

And thanks Bob for posting the statistical info. Very interesting.

Aaron
 

$TAKE HOR$E

champagne - campaign
Silver Member

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iba7467

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Here is an article from 1996: http://www.sfbilliards.com/articles/1996-06.pdf
that discusses some odds assumptions behind Earl's run including that fact that the events for which the million-dollar prize was offered used races to 15. With reasonable assumptions, Earl's chances are 1/20,000 or so. If you add in that the nine went in on the break a reported 5 times, the odds are better.

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.
 

randyg

www.randygpool.com
Silver Member
The truth about:
The " Million Dollar Challenge" where Earl ran the racks.
I, Robin Adair and Jay Helfert were the tournament directors at the event at CJ's.
The stipulation in the ( payment ) rules were instituted by the insurance company underwriter: SDS ... as follows:
the last 5 racks had to be racked by a neutral racker and filmed/taped. The reason Earl had to run 11 racks is that the tournament format was "rack you own" and he simply would not stop at 5 .. and racked his own at 6 and ran out; then, I forced him to stop by stating that he would have to run 11 and Jay Helfert then began the racking for racks number: 7,8,9,10 & 11 ( the last 5 racks ); and the filming/taping began.
Every spectator and every player in the event witnessed .. as tournament play completely halted when it became apparent that Earl had a chance to complete the run.
I assure you that nothing was rigged in this event .. particularly the tables .. they were all triple shimmed crowns with new Championship tournament grade cloth.
The reason for the delay in payment to Earl was due to lack of communications between the following 2 parties; The Marketing Continuum ( the PCA hired them as their marketing company ); and: SDS underwriters.
The insurance had been "bound" pursuant to Texas State Law, but the insurance company wanted to fight .. but in the end settled with both Earl and the PCA.
Incidently, in order for SDS to underwrite the event .. statistical information had to certified as to how difficult running 10 racks in tournament play would be; that information was provided by the PHD and Department of Statistical information at the University of Texas and his/their department concluded that the odds were 1 in 6.5 million attempts.
By the way .. Earl was playing Nick Mannino in the match and the final score was 15-1.
If you ( readers' ) bad information came to you via the rumormill about this event .. then you can use this information in the future to inform others that this is the real-deal about the "Million Dollar Challenge".
Lastly, Earl had an option ( when this was settled with SDS ) to accept either the annuity ( $50k per year x 20 years ); or, a lump sum settlement ( of the principle ) .. which was less ( in total ) to the annunity .. he accepted the lump sum payment.
John McChesney
CEO
Texas Express



WOW, what a rush. John is back.

randyg
 

AtLarge

AzB Gold Member
Gold Member
Silver Member
Using your b&r probability the odds of earl making the 11th rack was just over 1 in 31,500,000

Edit: finishing the entire set not one rack

Not really. You're right about the odds of break-and-running 11 in a row before the first game starts (given a probability of .208 for a B&R). But after running 10 in a row, the probability of running the 11th is still .208.

It's like flipping a coin. The probability of flipping 10 heads in a row (before you start) is about .001. But if you have just done it (10 heads in a row), the probability of now flipping another head is .5. (And maybe you should check whether the coin has two heads).
 
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MoonshineMattK

.
Silver Member
It's like flipping a coin. The probability of flipping 10 heads in a row (before you start) is about .001. But if you have just done it (10 heads in a row), the probability of now flipping another head is .5. (And maybe you should check whether the coin has two heads).

Its not remotely like flipping a coin.

Last summer I ran a break and run pot along with 9ball league.

At only $100.00 a ball people missed hangers.

Its the same as approaching a personal 14.1 high run. Every shot gets harder.
 

AtLarge

AzB Gold Member
Gold Member
Silver Member
Its not remotely like flipping a coin.

Last summer I ran a break and run pot along with 9ball league.

At only $100.00 a ball people missed hangers.

Its the same as approaching a personal 14.1 high run. Every shot gets harder.

I agree that the pool situation is different, as I acknowledged in my post #14. The coin-flip analogy was only to help explain how probabilities work. I have not tried to discuss the many factors that could impinge on a pro in a situation like Earl's.
 

TSW

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Whatever the odds, they're better than the insurance underwriters thought. They screwed up on this one.
 

AtLarge

AzB Gold Member
Gold Member
Silver Member
Whatever the odds, they're better than the insurance underwriters thought. They screwed up on this one.

Maybe, maybe not. The fact that an event occurs doesn't mean the insurance company figured the probability of the event incorrectly.
 
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TSW

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Maybe, maybe not. The fact that an event occurs doesn't mean the insurance company figured the probability of the event incorrectly.

I'm sure they didn't charge enough to anticipate a payout that soon. Clearly the mathematical odds need to be adjusted for the reality of professional pool, and I highly doubt they did that. For example, in a rack-your-own event, pattern racking can make runouts significantly easier.
 

Eric.

Club a member
Silver Member
Maybe, maybe not. The fact that an event occurs doesn't mean the insurance company figured the probability of the event incorrectly.

They prolly subrogated the risk, to lessen the impact.

Still, they shoulda fired the actuaries :)


Eric
 

CrossSideLarry

Cross Side Larry
Silver Member
The truth about:
The " Million Dollar Challenge" where Earl ran the racks.


It is my understanding, the last ball Earl shot was a very difficult combo. Is this true? Can anyone elaborate on the final shot Earl made to take down the cheese?

Cross-Side-Larry

"Learn from the best, and beat the rest".
 
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