Negative picking

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Mark Deeks
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Negative picking

Post by Mark Deeks » Wed May 22, 2019 12:51 pm

So when me and Zarte were doing the second marathon, we had a conversation about the concept of "negative picking". Essentially - and none of this is a criticism - Zarte thought I was picking negatively because I overwhelmingly picked three-vowel letters rounds.

For what it's worth, not for a single moment did I decide to do it to be "negative", close up the game, limit scores, etc. I did it then, just as I almost always do it these days, because my word knowledge of four- and five-consonant sevens is the one advantage I have on the field. (It started back in the days of the great Unpencilled Sevens Push. At some point I have seen every seven in the game.)

Therein lies the reasoning I had never thought to question before. I picked that which I felt, rightly or wrongly, gave me the best chance to win. A ledge like Zarte has the numbers and conundrum's advantage on me, so I had to go for the words, and I don't have an advantage when it comes to all the new 'nice' nines. So I went for what I know best; niche shit like PAPOOCH and that. The perception of negativity, then, stuck with me.

Anyway, I I I, me me me, etc.. I only ask this here because I'm curious. Is this a view others hold? Is picking three vowels akin to closing up the board in chess? Was I being naive in not knowing that?

And to the wider point - in my experience of the Apterous and Co:Event seen, through online games with others (especially Goat, and especially Goat Jr), the celebration of metamaxes, and the really quite aggravating judgements you get when you don't stem pick the nine everyone else wants when playing Bristol-style, a lot of people seem to think the aim is to pick letters to give the longest word possible. Isn't that ass backwards? Surely the aim is to pick the letters for the longest word no one else will know?
Last edited by Mark Deeks on Wed May 22, 2019 5:32 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Tom S
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Re: Negative picking

Post by Tom S » Wed May 22, 2019 1:01 pm

I've done this in the past against players who've had a bit of bad luck in the game- to avoid an obscure max popping up...

Thomas Cappleman
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Re: Negative picking

Post by Thomas Cappleman » Wed May 22, 2019 1:15 pm

Seems entirely reasonable, particularly when that's your specialism. When I'm playing a stronger letter player I'll deliberately try to open up the selection for the same reason, to prevent a selection where I have to guess what word like PAPOOCH is valid to match my opponent.

If the aim were to explicitly reduce the maxes to hold onto a lead for example, then that would definitely count as "negative picking", but still a perfectly valid tactic, given that the choice is yours.

The reaction you get in Bristol-style tournaments shouldn't be entirely surprising though - everyone else is relying on your selection for their own games, and if they've spotted a possible 9 then you may have blocked their chance to guarantee points for the round. Even if it would be a flat round, that would still benefit the weaker player in every match.

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Mark Deeks
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Re: Negative picking

Post by Mark Deeks » Wed May 22, 2019 1:30 pm

It's not the weaker players that boo - it's the ones who have worked out all the stems and really want you to know that about them.
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Re: Negative picking

Post by Conor » Wed May 22, 2019 1:39 pm

Well, I'd say you've got to question why someone would not be picking in order to win.

Though at Co-Events, aggregate points also make a difference, so in a Lincoln-style game I can understand a bit of the frustration towards negative picking: you might spot all the words and still have your chances harmed.

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Re: Negative picking

Post by Gavin Chipper » Wed May 22, 2019 5:32 pm

Mark Deeks wrote:
Wed May 22, 2019 12:51 pm
So
Unfortunate.

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Mark Deeks
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Re: Negative picking

Post by Mark Deeks » Wed May 22, 2019 5:33 pm

By the way, Zarte, if I've massively misrepresented what you said here, apologies and correct at will.
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Mark Deeks
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Re: Negative picking

Post by Mark Deeks » Wed May 22, 2019 5:34 pm

Gavin Chipper wrote:
Wed May 22, 2019 5:32 pm
Mark Deeks wrote:
Wed May 22, 2019 12:51 pm
So
Unfortunate.
I knew there'd be some form of Gevspergers in response to my post at some point but I thought it'd be you pointing out the "me and Zarte" instead. What a wide range of needlessly pedantic comments you have, a real soldier to your cause.
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Elliott Mellor
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Re: Negative picking

Post by Elliott Mellor » Wed May 22, 2019 6:20 pm

Irritating? Can be, especially when someone will pick 6 consonants on a selection screaming for another vowel (like with III vowels). Can I blame them? Not at all, the aim of a match is to win, not produce the highest maximum you can. If your speciality is 3 vowels there's no reason why you shouldn't use your picks to create 3 vowel selections.

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Jon O'Neill
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Re: Negative picking

Post by Jon O'Neill » Wed May 22, 2019 6:28 pm

The order of importance for picking any round - letters or numbers.
1. Winning the match
2. Finishing as high in the competition as possible
3. You just fancy a certain selection
...
9999. What your opponent thinks/perceived negativity/opponent is on for a high score.

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Re: Negative picking

Post by Gavin Chipper » Wed May 22, 2019 6:56 pm

Mark Deeks wrote:
Wed May 22, 2019 5:34 pm
Gavin Chipper wrote:
Wed May 22, 2019 5:32 pm
Mark Deeks wrote:
Wed May 22, 2019 12:51 pm
So
Unfortunate.
I knew there'd be some form of Gevspergers in response to my post at some point but I thought it'd be you pointing out the "me and Zarte" instead. What a wide range of needlessly pedantic comments you have, a real soldier to your cause.
It's very rare for me to do anything like that. I feel misrepresented.

Anyway, back on topic (ish) it does kind of annoy me when contestants on the show always go for three vowels even when the selection is screaming for a fourth. But in a lot if these cases they simply don't know so it's probably a bit unfair on them.

There was an octochamp a while ago with a name quite similar to the current champion who would always pick three vowels, but what specifically annoyed me was that he always paused before the final letter, pretending that he was seriously thinking about it. Clearly a terrible human being.

Zarte Siempre
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Re: Negative picking

Post by Zarte Siempre » Thu May 23, 2019 10:43 am

Only things I feel the urge to point out are

a) I still maintain it was negative picking, but I get people picking to win. I just usually expect it from people who are trying to gain an advantage rather than people who already have one - your letters will always be better than mine.

b) My main issue with it in that setting was the fact that last time, we got sponsored by Rachel (and maybe others) for each 9 spotted, and I felt it was plausible to think that that might happen again. So endless 6 and 7 fests might have been counter-productive to our main goal

I don't think anyone doesn't sometimes play to their strengths in replacement for an entertaining game - everyone likes to win. But in any setting where you're playing against the probability of long words, I still view it as negative picking, whether it's someone else doing it, or it's me. it's just more evident when it's over the course of a 26.2 hour game when the letters rounds are the dull bit to you already :)
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Re: Negative picking

Post by JimBentley » Thu May 23, 2019 5:27 pm

Mark Deeks wrote:
Wed May 22, 2019 12:51 pm
So when me and Zarte were doing the second marathon, we had a conversation about the concept of "negative picking". Essentially - and none of this is a criticism - Zarte thought I was picking negatively because I overwhelmingly picked three-vowel letters rounds.

For what it's worth, not for a single moment did I decide to do it to be "negative", close up the game, limit scores, etc. I did it then, just as I almost always do it these days, because my word knowledge of four- and five-consonant sevens is the one advantage I have on the field. (It started back in the days of the great Unpencilled Sevens Push. At some point I have seen every seven in the game.)
There's absolutely nothing wrong in this at all if the objective is to win the game. But in the marathon, did it really matter who won? As Zarte has said, bonuses were on offer for 9-letter words, so it does seem a bit off to intentionally pick to avoid them.

Speaking as a crap player, when I go to COLIN I always pick as awkwardly as possible, because I know that my opponent will have a better knowledge of the longer words. I'd back myself to win or draw a round where the max is 5 or 6, but if it's 8 or 9, I'm toast, because I simply don't know any of that stuff.

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Matt Morrison
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Re: Negative picking

Post by Matt Morrison » Thu May 23, 2019 10:13 pm

Gavin Chipper wrote:
Wed May 22, 2019 6:56 pm
Mark Deeks wrote:
Wed May 22, 2019 5:34 pm
Gavin Chipper wrote:
Wed May 22, 2019 5:32 pm
Unfortunate.
I knew there'd be some form of Gevspergers in response to my post
It's very rare for me to do anything like that. I feel misrepresented.
I guess this was the "Edited". Gev still has some space to manoeuvre as you said "seen" instead of "scene". Unless this was part of the edit and you were trying to suck Gevin into further Gevspergerism. In which case I've either ruined that and/or proven myself to be a Gevsperger sufferer too.

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Matt Morrison
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Re: Negative picking

Post by Matt Morrison » Thu May 23, 2019 10:14 pm

Part of the problem is probably the word "negative". That seems quite subjective when we're talking really about "tactical" picking. Any negativity can seemingly only be perceived by people other than the picker.

Zarte Siempre
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Re: Negative picking

Post by Zarte Siempre » Fri May 24, 2019 1:24 am

Matt Morrison wrote:
Thu May 23, 2019 10:14 pm
Part of the problem is probably the word "negative". That seems quite subjective when we're talking really about "tactical" picking. Any negativity can seemingly only be perceived by people other than the picker.
I'd call anything designed to keep the maxes lower as negative. Cos in terms of the point scoring it is. It's a focus on the scoring opportunity rather than the "Boo, you suck!"

Equally, the converse is true. If someone happened to know there was one obscure consonant that stemmed into a 9, but vowels would give nice cosy 8s, and they go consonant, it's positive picking, even if it's a bit stupid in the situation.
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Re: Negative picking

Post by David Williams » Fri May 24, 2019 11:41 am

If my opponent has 140 points going into the last numbers game and I've got 40, then you could say picking six small was being negative. If he's got 140 and I've got 125 . . . ? No-one would argue that picking anything other than one large or four vowels every time is negative, would they?

Ashton Hancock
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Re: Negative picking

Post by Ashton Hancock » Sat Jun 01, 2019 8:51 am

Hi guys

I played a 15-rounder against someone the other day and I was loosing 125-119 and going into the final numbers round and I selected 6 small(like I did on my 1st Numbers pick because I was behind then) and got it spot on and my opponent got nothing so was leading 129-125 and got the Conundrum in 1 second which was CIGARETTE and won 139-125.
I am hosting a Co-Event on 31st August if you are free please come down to “The Centre” in Rotherham.My best friend is Dinos Sfyris who will be my co-host for this event

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Bradley Horrocks
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Re: Negative picking

Post by Bradley Horrocks » Sat Jun 01, 2019 11:19 am

Ashton Hancock wrote:
Sat Jun 01, 2019 8:51 am
Hi guys

I played a 15-rounder against someone the other day and I was loosing 125-119 and going into the final numbers round and I selected 6 small(like I did on my 1st Numbers pick because I was behind then) and got it spot on and my opponent got nothing so was leading 129-125 and got the Conundrum in 1 second which was CIGARETTE and won 139-125.
You put this in the wrong thread mate, you want this one: http://www.c4countdown.co.uk/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=5573
"And PANTIES, thank you for that, that cheers us up enormously" - NH

Ashton Hancock
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Re: Negative picking

Post by Ashton Hancock » Sat Jun 01, 2019 3:42 pm

This is not a dream
I am hosting a Co-Event on 31st August if you are free please come down to “The Centre” in Rotherham.My best friend is Dinos Sfyris who will be my co-host for this event

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Re: Negative picking

Post by Danny Carey » Sat Jul 06, 2019 6:53 pm

I usually pick 3 vowels as I know a lot of 3 vowel 9 letter words as for the numbers I like to pick 6 small but if I am well ahead I pick 1 large. I find 4 large and 2 large hard. I like 3 large sometimes.

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