Statistics showing the break has minimal effect on game outcome

jalapus logan

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Firstly, thanks to member Atlarge for compiling these statistics. Wish we had an army of folks like him. It's sure hard to fire off opinions when faced with hard facts, lol.

Anyway, per these stats for the 2018 DCC, the breaker won the game 53% of the time. Granted, these stats came from the tv table, which implies that the level of player is higher than tourney average I would think. I was always under the impression that the break was a stronger advantage, now I'm rethinking this.

Thoughts/comments?

Best,

JL
 
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NH Steve

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Firstly, thanks the member Atlarge for compiling these statistics. Wish we had an army of folks like him. It's sure hard to fire off opinions when faced with hard facts, lol.

Anyway, per these stats for the 2018 DCC, the breaker won the game 53% of the time. Granted, these stats came from the tv table, which implies that the level of player is higher than tourney average I would think. I was always under the impression that the break was a stronger advantage, now I'm rethinking this.

Thoughts/comments?

Best,

JL
I noticed in another post he commented how much those break/win stats varied from event to event due to the sample size (and maybe also due to how the tables were breaking). He had an overall winning% of 56%
Aggregating all 389 of those games, the breaker won 216 (56%), or about 5 wins for every 4 losses.
56% might not seem like that much more than 50%, but don't forget, every win or extra percentage point for the breaker reflects more losses for the incoming player, and that overall difference is what makes the break such a significant advantage. I.e., 56% to 44% is a net advantage of 27% for the breaker the way I see it anyway -- which incidentally is very close to amounting to a 9-7 score difference. I.e the "two balls" often referenced by players for many years.
 

jtompilot

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I noticed in another post he commented how much those break/win stats varied from event to event due to the sample size (and maybe also due to how the tables were breaking). He had an overall winning% of 56% 56% might not seem like that much more than 50%, but don't forget, every win or extra percentage point for the breaker reflects more losses for the incoming player, and that overall difference is what makes the break such a significant advantage. I.e., 56% to 44% is a net advantage of 27% for the breaker the way I see it anyway -- which incidentally is very close to amounting to a 9-7 score difference. I.e the "two balls" often referenced by players for many years.
I’ve never put the percentages together but I agree with what this. How many times does the breaker but a lock down break? How many times does a ball leak out? How many times does the breaker leave a return shot to turn around the break? This is why the percentage is 53%.

Vegas was built on 53%. So over a period of time it’s significant.
 

gulfportdoc

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Years back I kept statistics on 50 pro matches, which included many different events over about a 20 year period from 1990 to 2009. The breaker won 60%+ of the games. It may have even been 63%, I can't find the tally sheets. My sense is that with amateurs, the win percentage might be slightly higher.

~Doc
 

vapros

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Clocking the matches that I had on disk, some years ago, the breaker won only 58 times against 57 losses. My small library, of course, did not include any of the shootout matches we are seeing recently. Just another stat from another sample.
 

Scrzbill

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It’s pretty simple to understand, because of OP.org the players have learned so much in a response to the break, that breakers advantage has decreased.
 

El Chapo

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I have sort of a corollary comment. I don’t want to put words in the original statement’s mouth but Ive felt the break is given too much importance many times. If you listen to commentary, many times a match will be getting gnotted up hill hill and supposedly one guy is doomed because he isn’t breaking.

You hear this stuff all the time, “if he doesn’t get out here it’s over”, then he doesn’t get out and wins.

Odds are a funny thing, and a single bad shot or a single good shot can completely turn the odds around.

It’s sorta hard to put this point I’m trying to make into words, but in a sentence I’d say the more pool I watch odds don’t seem to matter at all, what matters more is which player wants it the most and things of this nature.
 

El Chapo

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Years back I kept statistics on 50 pro matches, which included many different events over about a 20 year period from 1990 to 2009. The breaker won 60%+ of the games. It may have even been 63%, I can't find the tally sheets. My sense is that with amateurs, the win percentage might be slightly higher.

~Doc
That’s really interesting doc. I would have never guessed it would have approached that high of a number.

Ok, how to put this. I don’t think that number is “real” personally. In other words, I think that 60% figure is a result of players being mentally weak and thinking they’re supposed to lose if they don’t break. I know you can say that is part of it but I really don’t believe breakers “are supposed” to win 60% of the games. Just an opinion of course, the numbers don’t lie.

Maybe I’m wrong about that though. It could be that number is a result, as someone else pointed out, that players are just more savvy now. Guys know they have to take a chance now when they’re in a bad spot after the break, and we see people shooting at these 60/40 flyer shots now like tony did to beat orcollo at the end of that last set. Years ago I feel like there was much more bunting and conservative play, which a stat like this 53% proves to me that aggressive play after the break is the way to go. The old “I can bunt my way out of this” mentality just doesn’t hold up at high levels imo.
 
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J.R.

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There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics! The secret language of statistics is used to inflate, confuse, and oversimplify.

This is the guy who lost his cash and didn't believe the break was a "spot" equaling approximately one ball to one and a half balls between two players of equal ability: :frus

These are all the guys who got the break as a "spot" between themselves and another player of equal ability: :heh :lol :rolleyes: ;)
 

Jeff sparks

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Two players of equal ability, playing a long session, with one player breaking all the time will render an actual value to the break...

Statistical information gathered from random matches with players of varying abilities means little, as it isn’t able to assign a true value to the break... Jmho
 

vapros

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I will toss this in here, just for entertainment. Most of the guys I play seldom run 8 and out. When I have to respond to a break and can't find anything I like, I am not above kicking into his corner off the center of the head rail. It's a reliable shot, easy to fine tune, and often the answer to my problem. Depending on the situation, I might even kick it briskly, to move some balls around. One of the few opportunities to feel gleeful in a one pocket game. :eek::heh
 

beatle

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jeff understands probability so maybe listen more to him.

also the sample sizes you guys are looking at are too small to be confident.
 

LSJohn

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the more pool I watch odds don’t seem to matter at all,
I'd guess two things are probably going on. First, in contests of skill, we never know what the actual odds are, we only have our own opinions, or someone else's. Second, if we knew for sure that the true odds were 60/40, we might think 40 times out of 100 that the result went against the odds, but it was really proving them.
 

youngstownkid

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Statistics showing the break has minimal effect on game outcome

I think the tv table at DCC saw players with much better ball running ability, where runs of 7 and 8 may have overcome the initial advantage enough to lower the percentage a bit. How much? Who knows. I’m not sure I’d like giving up the break to avoid giving a guy a one ball spot. Maybe I’d do it instead of giving up a two ball spot...idk


MM
 

baby huey

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I think our math/statistical guys need to weigh in here. But, if you think about it the breaker supposedly has a two ball advantage in each rack assuming the skill level is comparable. One way of calculating these percentages is to track all the matches lets say at DCC and find out who broke first and the final score and then run the numbers. That data won't be empirical because of skill but enough data would be collected to determine some idea about what percentage the breaker had over the long haul. Interesting thread in that I never really thought about the percentage the breaker had if any in matches. In the two Dennis/Tony matches we do know that the final scores of both matches were fairly close and we know that both did break through on each others break. A 5% advantage may be quite close to thae actual percentage.
 

Cory in dc

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Two players of equal ability, playing a long session, with one player breaking all the time will render an actual value to the break...

Statistical information gathered from random matches with players of varying abilities means little, as it isn’t able to assign a true value to the break... Jmho
I think the edge from being spotted the break is larger than the % advantage from breaking in regular matches. First, with the spot and breaking every rack, the breaker is going to dial in the break and get stronger and stronger breaks. Second, always having to start out from behind and equalize can wear you down a bit faster than doing that half the time.

So if in a gambling setting, the break is 1.5 balls, it may well be less than that in a tournament race to 3 setting.
 

beatle

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the better the player or players are the lesser the spot is worth.
 

El Chapo

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I'd guess two things are probably going on. First, in contests of skill, we never know what the actual odds are, we only have our own opinions, or someone else's. Second, if we knew for sure that the true odds were 60/40, we might think 40 times out of 100 that the result went against the odds, but it was really proving them.
Yeah, we can’t know the odds, that’s for sure.

You know that comment sort of ties into the assertion I was trying to make. I think the opposite of most people, and it’s not pessimism! I think humans are useless. I sincerely do. We think we know stuff. Did you know that professional predicting waves heights for the last 20 years, who have all the data and tools they need to be right on the money, are so far off many times it would make your head spin. What about the weather? Look at that huge storm we had, the predictions were shit which is why everyone stayed put. This is like next day or two day out outlooks, and we can’t predict shit. There are so many examples. We think we know things, but I see time and time again that we actually know nothing, we can predict nothing with any certainty. Look at the pool matches... seasoned veterans say all the time things like “if he doesn’t get out here it’s over”, then he doesn’t get out and it wasn’t over.

I guess what I’m saying is as humans we suck, but we don’t think we suck. We’re good at pumping ourselves up and saying things like “we put a man on the moonl”, but all the practical, actually useful shit we are horrendous at. It’s very interesting to me, almost like a fat chick who walks around with her gstring showing thinking everyone is drooling.

So, when I’m watching pool and some guy says it’s over, or someone says he’s breaking so he’s the big fav I just sort of chuckle.
 
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