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The Tournament Playoffs


There are four rounds in all to determine the distribution of the top prizes. According to Shuffle Master Gaming, in October 1995 the prizes were distributed as follows:

Grand prize $2 million
Second prize $500,000
Third prize $250,000
Fourth prize $100,000
Fifth prize $50,000

It's Not My Fault
This difficulty in really accepting randomness seems to be a normal human trait. Another typical human trait that contributes to this is what psychologists call attribution error. You see this one in poker players all the time: if you win, it's because you're good at it, if you lose, it's bad luck. You attribute success to internal causes (your personal skills) and attribute failure to external causes (bad luck). Phil Helmuth, a well-known tournament player and author of a popular book on poker, is one of the worst in frequent demonstrations of the attribution error at work. An example is a hand that busted him out of a recent tournament. In a no-limit hold'em game, he had a pair of Queens against his opponent's pocket pair of jacks before the flop. All the money went in the pot before the flop. A Jack came on the river, beating Phil's pair of Queens with three jacks. Phil threw his usual fit, moaning about what bad luck he'd had. Of course it was bad luck to have the pair of Queens beat by a pair of jacks-before the flop Phil was better than a four to one favorite. But while bemoaning that particular bad luck, Phil forgot how lucky he had been in the first place to have been dealt Queens at the same time an opponent had jacks. For him to have been in the situation where he was a big favorite, he first had to get lucky.
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