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Carom Billiard - 3-Cushion - Bert's column (NED)

The roll of the ball is worse than the roll of the dice

Posted by on October 2, 2015

The roll of the ball is worse than the roll of the dice

© archive
Bert van Manen


Two weeks from now, the fifth World Cup tournament of the year will take place in Istanbul, Turkey. There will be a sixth WC even: in Hurghada, Egypt in December. Who is best positioned to win the overall World Cup for 2015? Who will keep their place in the protected top-12, and who will drop out? We've had four different winners so far, will there be more? It's a miracle they let me write articles about this stuff, because I have no answers.  3-cushion is an almost sadistically unpredictable sport. The bookmakers apparently know that.

An Italian gambling website recently started taking bets on the 3-cushion World Cups. That means  they give you odds for all the major players. No surprise, they mostly follow the world ranking. So for "Guri", you would have received $ 1.75 for your $ 1.00 if you had bet on world nr. 1 Blomdahl, and $ 6.12 if you had picked (then) nr. 12  J.P. de Bruijn, and the Dutchman had indeed won the tournament. 

If this inspires you to risk a few bucks on "Istanbul", go ahead and good luck. But I am not joining you, because these odds are just awful. 

Jean Paul, let's go with that example, is a brilliant 1-cushion player and he can do some serious damage in 3-cushion as well. But 6 to 1 odds, for a player with a 1.383 average over the last 15 World Cups? I would climb on a bar stool and do the chicken dance if he won Istanbul or Hurghada, but I don't think it's going to happen.  If we assume he is 1.4 and has to beat a 1.2 qualifier, a 1.4, a 1.5, a 1.8 and another 1.8 player to win a World Cup (which is more a typical, than an especially tough route to a title), his chance would be just under 1 %.  That makes a 6 to 1 payout look a bit pathetic.

What about Blomdahl, Jaspers and Caudron, the safest bets you can find? TB was worth $ 1.75, betting a dollar on Frédéric got you $ 1.99, Dick paid out at $ 1.87.

Of the last six World Cups, Blomdahl won one (Porto). So that's 6 x 1 = 6 - 1.75: you've just lost $ 4.25, which is 70 % of your money. Not a good idea. By the way, TB is the undisputed nr. 1 in the world, and he still has only about a 15 % chance of winning a World Cup, given the same strength of opposition I used in the J.P. de Bruijn example. That 15 %  corresponds reasonably well with his 1 win in the last 6 events.

What if you had a "feel", a hunch that somebody was going to play astronomical averages, and you turned out to be right? So you bet on Jaspers, who played 3 average in Ho Chi Minh city  and again 3 average in Guri. Unfortunately,  he lost 40-33 in 9 to Sanchez in Guri and 40-40 in 13 (shootout 0-1) in Vietnam, to Shin Dae Kwon. Excuse me, to whom? Yes, to Shin Dae Kwon, 734th on the UMB ranking before that match. You've not made any money betting on Jaspers, unless of course you only did it before Luxor 2015, where he beat Haeng Jik Kim in the final.   

And finally, Caudron is not a safe bet either. He was runner-up to Eddy Merckx in Guri 2014, and has not been in a final since. A semifinal in Guri 2015, that's about it.  It's a dry spell for the greatest all-rounder the game has ever seen, but that means very little for the near future. Today or tomorrow something will "click", confidence will kick in and he will start making his 40 points in 15 or 13 innings again, like he has done more often than anybody. Form can and will elude even the top players, but not for more than a few months. Caudron will be amongst the favorites for a World Cup, every time he shows up and brings a cue.

The two sizzling hot guys, then. Daniel Sanchez: I think he has always had the game, the class, tremendous ability. But he's had trouble making it through a full season in the highest gear. Daniel sometimes brings his B-game, and it has cost him, because TB and DJ are relentless.  And of course, there's always an army of Koreans waiting to ambush him. If Daniel brings his A-game, he is like the summer-of-2013 Zanetti: almost unbeatable.

Tayfun is a different story. He has never been as good as he is now. He was a great player 8 and even 12 years ago, but with chinks in his armor. There were vulnerabilities, his game was just too delicate, and incomplete. These days, he hardly has weaknesses. And if by chance two or three unforced errors slip in, he just runs another 11 to make up for it.    

Would I bet on DS or TT, based on their sterling performance in the last months? No. If I did, Jae Ho Cho or Eddy Merckx would win the tournament, for sure. With these odds, I think the sane thing to do is to not bet on billiards at all. Even a slot machine will give you a better return.

This is the overall World Cup table after 4 tournaments: 1 Blomdahl (188 pts), 2 Sanchez (182), 3 Jaspers (164), 4 Tasdemir (158), 5 Hwang Hyung Bum (93), 6 Merckx (88), 7 Caudron (78), 8 Jae Ho Cho (78). A World Cup tournament win is 80 points, so TB's lead means little or nothing.  

2015 so far:  

Luxor: Jaspers beats Haeng Jik Kim in the final, 40 - 14 in 8, semifinalists: Blomdahl and Sanchez.

Porto: Blomdahl beats H.H. Bum in the final, 40 - 13 in 18, semifinalists: Jaspers and Sanchez.

Ho Chi Minh city: Tasdemir beats Blomdahl in the final,  40 -34 in 17, semifinalists: Merckx and Jae Ho Cho.

Guri: Sanchez beats Tasdemir in the final, 40 - 15 in 12, semifinalists: Jaspers and Caudron.

How do you like the level of play, this year?  


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My Comments

I want first of all say that I admire mr Van Manen for his comprehension and Knowledge of The game.

this time , unfortunately, I completely disagree with his judgement of Daniel Sanchez and his supposed "B" games.
Better said, I disagree when he says that TB and DJ don't have any.

For The Demonstration let's take the world nr 1 and recall some result of The recent years ( not complete but in my opinion enough to prove what I mean ):

2010 : hurghada 1,020 game
Suwon. 1,000
Antalya 1,350
2011 : Portugal 1,307
And more in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 : hurghada 1,350 medellin 1,212 guri 1,130 and again guri 1,090

What about DJ ?

2011 hurghada 1,115, Suwon 1,120
2012 Antalya 1,290
2013 hurghada 0,904
2014 guri 1,227

So, I don't understand why when these players ( FC, TB, DJ ) play a bad Game we just call it with his name ( Bad Game ) and when DS ( 13 World Cup Wins - more than FC and DJ - + 3 World Championship + 3 European Championship ) plays poorly we say that his Game has two different speeds.

Finally, I Report The General average of These Players this year: not all career..unfortunately no Time for this statistic.

DJ. 538 points in 235 innings = 2,289
DS. 598. 263. 2,274
TB. 604. 323. 1,870
FC. 330. 180. 1,833

Message 1/1 - Publish at October 4, 2015 9:57 PM

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