Friday, 2 April 2010

The EV of smashing your mouse (mathsy version).

A guest post today, dear Melted Felt readers, from Greg over at The Pokerbank... Greg was so inspired by an article over at Deuces Cracked, that he took time off of the usual Welsh passtimes of singing in male-voice choirs on rugged mountain-sides, wearing daffodils and losing international Rugby matches - to work through the numbers of smashing your mouse EV!

The EV Of Smashing Your Mouse (Mathsy Version)

So there I was reading this article by Tommy Angelo on the EV of mouse smashing. It’s really interesting and sheds a whole new light on one of my favourite pastimes.

The idea is that rendering your mouse inoperable prevents you from being able to continue playing poker whilst on tilt. Therefore, because the cost of your mouse is less than you would have lost had you continued to play, you actually save money.

However, like all sports fans my age I was left feeling a little empty due to the lack of mathematics. Just how +EV or -EV is it to smash your mouse? We need numbers. I needed to act quickly.

So I called up the Olsen twins, cancelled our threesome and started work on my mathematically driven project to find out the real EV behind tilt-induced mouse annihilation (or ‘TIMA’ as it’s never referred to).

The variables.

To come up with our equation for the EV of pitching your mouse to the nearest and firmest wall, we need to identify the variables that will effect how much money the act can save/lose us.

1) The cost of the mouse. Needs no explanation.

2) Collateral. Unless you’re playing outdoors, there’s a fair chance that the mouse isn’t going to be the only expense you have to deal with.

3) Your winrate whilst on tilt. This should in theory be very much negative thanks to your raging stupor, courtesy of a horrific bad beat.

4) The time in hours you would normally spend playing on tilt. The more blindly vengeful you are, the longer this glorious time period will be. This may be hard to judge however as severe bad beats tend to send us in to a tilt-coma that melts our own perception of space and time.

5) The time in hour you miss out on playing due to the lack of a pointing device for your computer. Can be referred to as “the downtime”. Assuming you manage to cool down before purchasing your next mouse, there will be a period where you’re actually missing out on playing poker and winning money.

6) Your standard winrate. We’ll need to combine this with our downtime to figure out how much cash monies we’re missing out on.

Now let’s force these all together to form an equation.

The equation.

• EVms = EV of smashing your mouse due to tilt.
• Play time is measure in hours.
• Winrates are measure in $/hour.

If you’re not good with maths don’t worry, just take it as it is and calm yourself down. It does make sense. If you are good at maths, I apologise for my god-awful notation (or lack of it).

This equation is all well and awesome, but it’s not really interesting unless we can plug in some numbers for different player types and work out the actual EV of mouse rape-age.

The EV of mouse smashing for different player types.

Let’s assume that each player experiences a 2 outer on the river and loses 200bbs. They then launch their mouse in an outward direction toward any hard surface or spouse. We’ll assume that if they didn’t break their mouse they would continue to play as they would under the influence of however much tilt they would experience thanks to the bad beat in question.

To make my life easier, let’s also assume that each player type plays $1/$2 NL Texas Hold'em cash and has the following:

• A mouse that costs $50.
• Collateral damage worth $25 on average per throw.
• A standard winrate of 6bb (big blinds) per hour when playing well. That’s $12/hour.
• Misses out on 4 hours worth of good playing time on average because they have no mouse after cooling down. That’s $48 in total.

The totally balanced player - The “Tommy Angelo”.

Tilt winrate = 6bb. Tommy Angelo doesn’t get tilted, tilt gets Tommy Angelo’d.
Tilt time = 0 hours. See above.

EV of mouse smashing for Tommy Angelo = -$123

If you never tilt, mouse smashing is never a +EV move.

The average player that gets a little pissed - The “Me or You”.

Tilt winrate = -25bb. Not great at all, but could be worse. We have a tendency to make more speculative shoves than normal. “Speculative” as in “bad”.
Tilt time = 1 hour. Sounds about right.

EV of mouse smashing for someone like yourself = -$73

Not really what I was expecting to be honest; I thought it would be a little closer to being +EV. Saying that, the “average” player type can vary by quite some margin, so you’re better off filling in the blanks for yourself.

The irate gambler - The “Phil Hellmuth playing a cash game”.

Tilt winrate = -200bb. Absolutely f*cking livid, one could say. Any skill you once had at the table is replaced by a new high-aggression frustration-driven strategy.
Tilt time = 3 hours. The vengeance factor is high here. The reason for stopping is due to lack of funds as opposed to actually coming to one’s senses.

EV of mouse smashing for Phil Hellmuth playing a cash game = +$277

It’s also worth noting that we have to keep an open mind whilst assuming that Phil Hellmuth would be able to achieve a winrate of 6bb at an NL cash table in the first place. Nonetheless, it’s very clear that irate gamblers benefit from a self-imposed suspension from play.


Mouse smashing can pay off under the right conditions. Not for most level headed players though.

Don’t throw your mouse if you’re playing at micro or small stakes games. It’s unlikely to ever pay off.

Buy a cheaper mouse if you’re easily annoyed. The cost of the mouse should be inversely proportional to your susceptibility to uncontrollable rage.

A weighty mouse should create a much more satisfying smash, but increases the cost of collateral damage.

Phil Hellmuth shouldn’t play cash games.

It’s probably more +EV to just control your tilt rather than throw your mouse. Maybe.


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