Can Andy Beal Defeat the Corporation?

by Lou on February 14, 2006

My good friend and sometimes writing partner Dr. Arthur Reber suggested to me that regardless of relative skill levels, Andy Beal will always have an uphill struggle against the Corporation. He is faced with having to beat a rotating set of team players rather than just one opponent.

If you assume the skill levels are equal or close to it, Beal will probably have to play significantly better than the Corporation to survive. It can be done, but Beal won’t have an easy time of it. Even the best heads-up, limit hold’em player in the world would find the going very difficult against the next six players.

Beal, after all, is always in the game. The rotating coterie of Corporation players take turns playing. They have a chance to rest, to discuss play, strategy, tactics, and tendencies they see emerging. Beal can’t do this. He doesn’t have a fresh set of eyes spotting trends while he is playing. He has to be simultaneously playing the game as well as observing it to keep up with the Corporation.

Moreover, Beal has to adjust to the playing nuances of each Corporation player who sits at the table with him. The Corporation players only have to learn the playing style — or styles — of Andy Beal.

Beal is playing without a second. No chess grandmaster playing for the world’s chess championship would even think of entering a match without a group of seconds — players who are not his equal, but close enough so that they can provide insights into his game and that of his adversary — in order to analyze larger developing trends as well as specific tactical options that might be brought to bear in adjourned games.

Two heads, or in this case six, are usually better than one, and after thinking about Reber’s observations, I think Andy Beal has bitten off a lot to chew. That he can even stay close is remarkable. So is the match. When millions of dollars are on the table in the biggest poker game Las Vegas has ever seen, everything is magnified, analyzed, discussed, and dissected — seemingly overnight and at warp speed. I guess that’s the way it should be.

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