Does the Durrrr Challenge Prove Anything?
August 19, 2021

The rumour mill is buzzing about the Durrr Challenge’s upcoming match between Tom Dwan and Daniel "Jungleman12" Cates.  The first series in the challenge saw Dwan squaring off against Patrik Antonius, and those two have been taking a painfully long time to finish the series, and are still about 10,000 hands away from its conclusion (unless Antonius decides to buy out of the contest, which isn't an absurd possibility, seeing as how he's over $2 million in the hole to Dwan).

While the Dwan/Antonius match has taken well over a year to play just 80% of the required hands, the match between Dwan and Cates should take much less time.  It's obvious that this will go a long way towards making it a much more interesting match.  Aside from the fact that a faster timeframe will be more interesting, there's also the possibility in larger swings and tilted play that can come from long and numerous sessions.

Dwan is well known as one of the best cash game players in the world.  The pots he wins in an average hand can rival the lifetime savings of many retirees.  While Cates may not enjoy as high a public profile as his opponent, those who are familiar with him know that his resume is nothing to laugh at.  Cates has quickly risen to the top of the nosebleed cash game world, and is thought to be one of the few players to match up extremely well against Dwan.  Mind you, the same had been said about Antonius.

Poker message boards have been awash with talk about when the Jungleman/Durrr match will start (any day now) and how much of an edge, if any, either player has.  There are those who say that 50,000 hands isn't enough to really see which player is better, or that 50,000 hands isn't enough for either player to overcome the variance that goes along with heads-up poker, especially when Dwan is offering up 3:1 odds on turning a profit at the end of the match.  At the risk of sounding like a varsity bully from high school, I've gotta call "nerd" on this one.  I know that as poker has become increasingly popular, there has been an increase in the number of people who think of the game in an advanced manner.  And I know that poker is a game of skill, but that skill is offset by luck (variance).  And yes, I understand that to truly find out who the better player is, they would have to play out much more than 50,000 hands. But knowing all that, I still ask "who cares?"  Let's let the gambling speak for itself.  We don't need to overanalyze whether Durrr is giving too much action to his opponents.  Let's just enjoy the ride.  But then again, I'm a degenerate who will gamble on most things, and I am more than willing to take the worst of it in many cases. 

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