How to Get Lucky

One of my pet peeves is hearing a loser tell me how I was lucky to win.  I consider that an insulting statement, even if they didn't mean it as an insult.  What they are saying is that the only reason they lost was because I got lucky, not because I outplayed them.  The truth is, sometimes luck is the main reason someone wins, but even when that's the case, it's bad form to suggest that's the reason he won.  Most of the time, when it looks like someone got really lucky, you can go back through the match and find a major mistake or two that the other player made that allowed you to have some good rolls to win.  And often, when someone appears to have gotten lucky, you can run the match through a computer program and find out he played pretty well to give himself a chance to win if he got a good roll or two.  It is easy to prove that the better you play the more good rolls you can get, and the worse you play, the more good rolls your opponent can get.

Last week I had one of those matches where I truly got lucky and won.  In the position below, at double match point (DMP) my opponent was crushing me, and he rolled a 2-1.  He hit me off his 5 point and moved 24/22 with the two.




That's when I got really lucky....I rolled a 5-1, hitting him off the 5 point and making his 5 point, and went on to win the game and match.  Afterwards, he told me I was lucky, and, not being able to hold it in, I gave him my standard response, "Yes, I had an excellent draw."  (Meaning that I was lucky I got him for an opponent!)

He sort of laughed and then said, "You've got to admit that 5-1 was a super joker."  

And I said, "Really?  Let's take a look at just how lucky I was."  

Then I recreated the position in the computer, and he agreed that was the position when he rolled the 2-1, and I showed him that he had made a HUGE BLUNDER with the 2-1 not hitting me twice, and that if he had made the right play, my 5-1 would not have been so good after all.  In fact, as you can see from the ExtremeGammon evaluation below, his play was a 19% error making him a 53 percent favorite to win the game instead of a 63% favorite had he made the right play (hitting two).

I went on to say (nicely and politely) that this was not the only play that put me in a position to roll "lucky" rolls to win the game, and I reminded him of a play two rolls earlier where he could have and should have hit me off his 5 point and he probably would have made it on the next roll and we would never have even gotten to this position.

There's a saying I heard recently:  "Lucky is what losers call winner."

The lesson here is twofold:

1.  Don't look at bad luck when you lose....look for your errors.   That's something you can improve that will make you "luckier" in the future.
2.  Don't insult your opponents by telling them they were lucky when they beat you...even if it might be true.



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