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(Topic ID: 41565)

skill vs luck


By lladnip

7 years ago



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  • 34 posts
  • 28 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 7 years ago by Nilroc
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    #1 7 years ago

    i consider myself to be an under average player for the most part compaired to many i will start with that. and its just a casual observation, but the other night i racked up 650, 000 or so on gorgar, not my best game but was a pretty fair one. then while the iron was hot i played out another and got a fairly dismal 70,000 something- way better than my worse i guess but still a pretty crappy score.
    now im on the same machine minets apart, im shooting for the same targets, useing the same modus operandi, and im no math whiz or anything but im seeing queit the deveation thing going on...

    so i started playing lots of 2 player, trying not to look at what ball number and the score untill game over..... sometimes there within reason but quiet often there far large % apart.

    anyways would like your take on this whole skill vs luck deal, and if you went back to back against your self i would be interested in what kind of score devieation your getting on what machine type...

    #2 7 years ago

    I'm going to say that it's totally proportional to your abilities.

    Kid walks up to a game and can put up a high score never having touched the game. Luck.
    Seasoned pro can walk up to the same game and put up a high score. Luck? Maybe.
    Same pro can walk up to that same machine and put up a high score AGAIN. Skill.

    #3 7 years ago
    Quoted from lladnip:

    and if you went back to back against your self

    God I wish I could, no more dealing with chicas.

    #4 7 years ago

    The more skillful you are, the more luck you tend to have. Longer ball time = more opportunity for luck.

    #5 7 years ago

    I only have bad luck. Everything else is skill, baby. YEAH!

    #6 7 years ago
    Quoted from NJGecko:

    I'm going to say that it's totally proportional to your abilities.
    Kid walks up to a game and can put up a high score never having touched the game. Luck.
    Seasoned pro can walk up to the same game and put up a high score. Luck? Maybe.
    Same pro can walk up to that same machine and put up a high score AGAIN. Skill.

    Disagree with your first two items. I have met plenty of people that can walk up to a machine they have never touched and actually do very, very well on it, due to having great hand-eye coordination.

    Is there luck involved? Always. But if you put up enough to put up a high score? No way it's just due to luck.

    #7 7 years ago

    For me it is a lot of luck, but when you see the same people winning or placing in tournaments over and over you know there must be more to it

    #8 7 years ago
    Quoted from GListOverflow:

    For me it is a lot of luck, but when you see the same people winning or placing in tournaments over and over you know there must be more to it

    im certain some people are way better than others and will win fairly consistanly (but i wonder how consistant they are with there own scores on the same machine ect ect). and maybe luck is a poor term to use, maybe randomness is better way to think of it........

    #9 7 years ago
    Quoted from lladnip:

    and maybe luck is a poor term to use, maybe randomness is better way to think of it........

    It's hard to define I agree. A lot of times it's a muscle memory thing from years of playing. There are surely times the ball comes down so fast and you are completely unaware of it, but your mind/body hits a flipper. That's not luck or skill really.

    #10 7 years ago

    I equate it to poker....it's a skill game with a lot of luck thrown in.

    Can an average player beat a top pro? Sure.

    Can an average player beat a top pro in a 100 game average? NO WAY!

    #11 7 years ago

    Skill allows you to take advantage of luck.

    #12 7 years ago

    It is both. Great flipper skills win in the end though. Sure, you will occasionally beat a great player. But in the next game they will hand you your hat. Watch some of the PAPA videos and see Bowen make these little nudges when the ball is up top. He will get it off the rail so it gets to a flipper. Skill doesn't improve your luck, it allows you to save balls ordinary players can't. Over time, that just wins.

    #13 7 years ago

    Very generally speaking, the older the game, the less skill is involved. Skillfully juggling and shooting 3 or 4 balls at a time on AC/DC is a lot harder than knocking down drop targets on El Dorado one ball at a time. Old game, more luck (house balls). New game, more skill.

    Classic tournaments typically get more entries than 'modern' tournaments. They don't get as many cameras or spectators, but more folks feel like they have a chance in a classic division. Often the same guys winning modern will win classics. Which kinda proves that practice is way more important than game choice.

    #14 7 years ago
    Quoted from phishrace:

    Very generally speaking, the older the game, the less skill is involved. Skillfully juggling and shooting 3 or 4 balls at a time on AC/DC is a lot harder than knocking down drop targets on El Dorado one ball at a time. Old game, more luck (house balls). New game, more skill.
    Classic tournaments typically get more entries than 'modern' tournaments. They don't get as many cameras or spectators, but more folks feel like they have a chance in a classic division. Often the same guys winning modern will win classics. Which kinda proves that practice is way more important than game choice.

    disagree, 2 different styles of game play but old em's take a lot more skill when it comes to nudging and controlling the ball

    #15 7 years ago

    You can walk up to almost any game type, hail mary and swing for the fences, and eventually have a killer result. Pinball is very much, however, not about luck after your game reaches a certain level (and if it was, I would have long quit...I hate game types with high luck/random factors). Ball control, accurate shooting and knowing rules/strategy are what separate the men from the boys in pinball. Flailing without purpose is coin flipping control and shooting at the same time. You're gonna lose more than you will win.

    Some players I've been playing with for years still occasionally argue that luck is more a factor than it is and refuse to tighten up. They have killer games here or there and can defeat some players, which empower their feeling that it is a viable way to play (on top of watching very good "on-the-fly" players in our group, or someone like Andrei Massenkoff, and mistaking that solid experienced flow play as just flipping crazily/randomly), but it sometimes doesn't sink in that winning those small battles via luck is not winning the war...and rarely wind up lasting the long haul of any event.

    Control, aim, strategy. Don't pray to the pinball Gods for help, because they are just gonna tell you to stfu and watch more Bowen videos.

    #16 7 years ago
    Quoted from Astropin:

    I equate it to poker....it's a skill game with a lot of luck thrown in.
    Can an average player beat a top pro? Sure.
    Can an average player beat a top pro in a 100 game average? NO WAY!

    Best explanation of this I have seen. Plus one.

    #17 7 years ago
    Quoted from TigerLaw:

    Best explanation of this I have seen. Plus one.

    I'm the complete opposite. If this were anything close to poker, I would have quit in my first month. In a game like poker, chance is such a huge percentage of the game that you can be a poker robot, play absolutely perfect strategy, do everything perfect, even mind game your opponent into a mental pretzel as if you were a mind reading puppet master super villain...and still lose.

    Pinball "luck" is no where even close to that. Maybe more like being lucky in golf.

    #18 7 years ago

    After watching countless PAPA vids, I am sure skill is a leading factor.
    But the crappyer you are the more luck can make a huge swing in averages.
    I have HUGE swings in my scores!

    #19 7 years ago

    Here is skill, 1.4 billion on ball one of one of the hardest games to come down the pipeline in years. If you have enough skill luck never enters into it:

    http://papa.org/blog/2013/02/1-4billion-ball-1-on-acdc/

    #20 7 years ago
    Quoted from TheLaw:

    It's hard to define I agree. A lot of times it's a muscle memory thing from years of playing. There are surely times the ball comes down so fast and you are completely unaware of it, but your mind/body hits a flipper. That's not luck or skill really.

    Instinct is totally skill.

    #21 7 years ago
    Quoted from pinmanguy:

    disagree, 2 different styles of game play but old em's take a lot more skill when it comes to nudging and controlling the ball

    Yes, the old EMs require more nudging, but you are backwards here. The newer DMD games reward good shots by returning the ball to the flippers. Older EM games like Jack in the Box for instance the ball is wild, so a lot more luck is involved. A world class player will still kick your ass most of the time on an EM, but older games do level the playfield a little due to the luck factor. If I am playing in a tournament against Zach Sharpe or any top ten player, I would choose an EM every time. Surely they would choose a newer game like AFM or ACDC when playing against a lesser player like me. On a single game of Jack in the Box or Target Alpha, I might be able to beat Keith Elwin once or twice in ten games. I doubt I could ever beat him on ACDC or Avengers - maybe once in 30 games.

    #22 7 years ago

    For me it's 100% luck. I am thinking about filing a lawsuit against the city of New York because I believe pinball is actually a luck based gambling device and not skill based for amusement. I intend to prove this by dragging a pinball machine into court and repeatedly missing every single shot I try to make.

    #23 7 years ago

    I've had really good games, I've had really crappy games. Skills (basics of flipper techniques) help greatly. I find the more I practice some of those flipper techniques (like on pinball 101), the more I find I'm in control of where the ball is going, and hence I'm less likely to drain it.

    Probably the most important thing I learned is to capture balls on multiball, it's amazing how long a game can go when your just flipping one ball at a time while keeping a nestegg of backup balls, and at the same time you're racking up points because you stay in multiball mode.

    #24 7 years ago

    well interesting definatly- i guess its some where between cards and say firearms marksmanship in the order of ranking chaos systems. the proublem is if i wound break it down it seems like 95% skill and 72% rnadom just seems too much of both to me. would be interesting to me to seen some one quantify it in some doctorate dissertation or something. i could not find anything on the net as of yet.

    #25 7 years ago

    day 2, first 2 games of the day while enjoying a cup of am coffie. typical same as befor, more games than not have a 2 to 3 times difference between them. my conclusion 75% - skill & 25% a chaotic system at work sometimes working for you and sometimes not so for you.

    gorgarscore_002.JPG

    #26 7 years ago

    There is no doubt pinball has some "luck". Even the best players have crummy games and the worst players have breakout games. Pinball play is not 100% controlled and the games are not precision instruments that function the same way repeatedly.

    However, skill dominates in the long term.

    The proof is the same players keep getting to wizard modes, qualify in A division, put up high scores etc.

    All of those things are not happening over and over because they just happen to be "luckier" than other players.

    #27 7 years ago
    Quoted from pinballcorpse:

    The proof is the same players keep qualify[ing] in A division

    And how many entries do they plop down the bucks for to do that?

    Not being snarky, I'd honestly like to know.

    #28 7 years ago

    For me, there is a huge separation between people that can figure out the rule set faster than others. You can take great shots, but it is not always obvious where you should shoot to get the most points. My son, has an uncanny ability to know where to put the ball in play. I have better saves and can keep the game going a long time, but he is more proficient.

    #29 7 years ago
    Quoted from DanQverymuch:

    And how many entries do they plop down the bucks for to do that?
    Not being snarky, I'd honestly like to know.

    The implication of course is that a player can eventually "buy their way in."

    This is basically a fallacy, often asked by non-tourney regulars. (Not to be snarky back)

    Here is why.

    In tournaments where players can repeatedly enter or buy in, the same condition exists for everyone. That is, everyone can play as often or as little as they choose. So, money aside, nobody has more chances than anyone else.

    It is true that some players may make it in sooner than others (ie spend less), and others may have to spend more time and money to qualify. Regardless, a solid run on several machines must be achieved. This premise is not contestable.

    Now with the money aspect, for some players money is no object. But you can't buy skill. Money is ONLY buying the opportunity to play more games. To throw in an analogy or 2, owning the best set of tools does not make one a good mechanic. Owning the best sports equipment does not make one a good athlete.

    Can a player "luck" into one good game or keep buying entries hoping for that one miracle? Sure, but most qualifying events require solid play on several games, often 4 or 5 pins. Now for a player to be lucky on 4 or 5 pins compared to all the other players competing is improbable, but it could happen-maybe once in a blue moon.

    Now take that same lot of players over multiple tournaments. It is probable many of the same names will once again be in the top 16. The amount of tries may vary compared to the previous tournament, but the same names will likely appear. The tourney databases show the names, and many of the same names reappear in the top 16. There simply is no other explanation for repeat qualifying other than skill.

    So, if after throwing in tons of money, a player eventually puts together a run, the skilled player who has not spent much, could probably spend a little bit more time and money and overthrow the lucky one or "rich one".

    The money aspect only factors in if for some reason it was known the higher skilled player would have less opportunity to play while the lucky or rich (but less skilled) player could just keep trying to win. The skilled player will not have to throw tons of money to beat the qualifying run of a lucky or rich one. So once that happens, the lucky or rich (but less skilled) player has to decide, do they throw money at it all over again?

    Eventually they clue in: This guy is better than I am.

    One last scenario is when you have talented players and they have lots of money to throw at a run. They cannot be bought out, but the skill is still present.

    Anyway you twist and turn it, skill trumps the Top 16.

    #30 7 years ago

    The luck factor is only in the kinetics of the ball. Skill simply stacks the odds in your favour.

    A player with poor skill sends a ball out of control more often than a player with good skill. And a player with poor skill can't save an out of control ball as often as a player with good skill.

    #31 7 years ago
    Quoted from DanQverymuch:

    And how many entries do they plop down the bucks for to do that?
    Not being snarky, I'd honestly like to know.

    You can click on their names in the standings to get a rough idea.

    Last year Keith had 5 attempts, Bowen 4, Jorian 4, Zach 3. There's some voids thrown in there for sure, but there's also a lot of attempts thrown in there where they're just playing to check stuff out or fighting for even better position after already qualifying. Keith's first attempt, for example, would have qualified around 10th, but he kept trying and finished first. There are many players who did not qualify who are long into double-digit attempts.

    Players who qualify at PAPA Division A do not do so accidentally. They are the best of the best.

    #32 7 years ago

    Skill v Luck is really about discipline. If you watch the pros, they remove a reasonable amount of the luck factor by employing maximum ball control. If you have skill, the key to being able to use it is getting control.

    2 months later
    #33 7 years ago

    It depends on the machine.

    I looked at over 400 games played across the UK Pinball League to see which machines 'rewarded' the better players (based on final standings of league). I even went so far as to work out the standard deviation of scores for each player and for each machine.

    The results varied quite considerably from machine to machine. In general the newer machines the better players consistently achieved top scores whereas a lot of the older EM games the scores were more random (although there were less plays on these machines increasing the chance of larger variations)

    Of all the tables looked at (played in more than 5 meetings) the better players performed best on WH20, STTNG & BOP consistently and worse on TAF, AFM & BSD.

    Some of the conclusions I drew were:
    That the scoring was more balanced on the former games with no easily achievable large skewing scores as opposed to the latter.
    The latter have more opportunites for 'death balls' which no matter how skillful you are the ball just cannot be saved.
    Knowing the rules (and scoring opportunities) to a game (which the better players tend to know as they have played more machines and researched rule sets) can vastly improve scoring potential on many of the newer games, not so much the older games which are more intuitive for first time players.

    Just my thoughts. Luck does play a part in any given game, but not as much as skill.

    #34 7 years ago

    It's the old rule.
    80% Skill 20% luck

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