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Scoring Mathematics

The Poker Rodeo™ Association’s mathematicians are attentive to the mathematical and statistical details of our sport while also contemplating strategic thinking and riding skill sets. Our goal is to challenge riders to think strategically and creatively, communicating as a team, while exercising their best riding skills. Teams who have the better balance of processing strategy under time pressure are rewarded with a higher score.

These sports uniquely challenge experienced riders and novice riders alike with thought processing requirements in an inherently dynamic riding environment. You may experience a sharpening of your ranch sorting and team penning skills while having a fantastic time in the arena!

In PokerPenning™ and 2Man PokerSort™, our herds utilize 28 cows, each with a unique playing card attached, such as the king of hearts, ten of clubs, ace of spades, etc. To make the herd size manageable for producers, we opted to remove all 2’s through 7’s for each suit. Doing so affects the statistical probability of randomly choosing each poker hand compared to the probabilities for a standard 52 card deck (see Figures 1 and 2). With this in mind, we utilize an ideal suite of (patent pending) scoring multipliers to ensure fair, fun, and sustainable competition on a 28 cow herd.

Figure 1. Probability of Hands for 5-Card Hand, 52 Card Deck

Figure 2. Probability: 28 Card Deck vs 52 Card Deck

The Poker Rodeo™ Association’s scoring multipliers for each hand contemplate the probability of riders randomly achieving the hand and also include a human psychology and interference factor (HPIF). The HPIF adjusts scoring multipliers taking into consideration that riders consciously and intently select their cows to be cut from the herd using analytical thinking, time management, strategy, and riding skills. The scoring multiplier, HPIF, and probability of randomly achieving each hand for 5-card PokerPenning™ and PokerSort™ are considered in Figure 3.

Figure 3. 5-Card Hand, 28 Card Deck & HPIF

The HPIF factor was adjusted in April, 2016 after analyzing twelve hundred individual PokerSort™ and PokerPenning™ rides. Our analysis clearly determined that hands considered to be less-likely in poker, such as a four-of-a-kind, were psychologically easier to achieve while riding. In fact, four-of-a-kind PokerSorting™/PokerPenning™ hands were achieved twenty five times more frequently than the royal flush and straight flush hands combined. It was determined that the mental processing aptitude required to achieve more abstract hands, such as an out-of-order royal flush, straight flush, or straight, especially when combined with time pressure and a dynamic riding environment, was far greater than that of a four-of-a-kind, three-of-a-kind or a full-house. The adjustments to the HPIF adjustment now substantially rewards riders who process more difficult hands with a fast time.

How is the Score calculated?

The HPIF factor represents the adjustment needed to affect the score multiplier for each clock setting. A team’s score is calculated by multiplying the Score Multiplier by the number of seconds left on the clock. For example, on a sixty-second clock, a team that achieves a royal flush in 50 seconds will earn a score of 170. The ten seconds left on the clock (since they used 50 of the allotted 60 seconds) is multiplied by the Score Multiplier as follows: 10x17=170. All scores are instantly calculated using the Poker Rodeo Association’s proprietary scoring calculator.

While speed is the major multiplying factor early in the team’s ride, the value of their hand gains increasing multiplier value as time on the clock is reduced. This is a game of skill, not luck. Communication between riders is critical to achieving a better hand with a faster time for a higher score.

How does the hole-card-first affect scoring?

The rule adjustment made in April, 2016 was also the result of analyzing twelve hundred individual rides as well as the preparation of cattle prior to an event starting. It was found that as PokerSorting™ and PokerPenning™ cards were packaged in order (aces were stacked on top, kings were next, and so forth) combined with the fact that un-numbered cattle already have individual groupings, the tagging process predetermined groupings and in fact further encouraged groupings. When the first naturally grouped cows were lined up in the chute, they were tagged with the four aces, followed by the four kings and so forth. The pre-grouped cows were now tagged as a group and sorted as four-of-a-kind and, once sorted, the grouping was reinforced. Now, cards are shipped pre-shuffled for a more random distribution such that groupings are not affected by the order of the cards as received from the factory.

As groupings continued, despite efforts by settlers to shuffle and settle the herd, the herd was found to un-shuffle itself as groupings continued. With the hole card NOT being required as the first sorted, the groupings were easily picked (and continued to be reinforced) with the hole card being sorted last. This became especially evident in the four-of-a-kind hands, three-of-a-kind hands and the like. The new rule of requiring the team to sort the hole card first necessarily shuffles the deck ensuring a more fair distribution of cards for teams to sort/pen with a better distribution of hands achieved and ultimately a lower impact on the cattle.

Tips and Scoring

You can download and print for FREE our Tips & Scoring.

Riders interested in testing various hand/time strategies before competition may do so using Poker Rodeo's™ proprietary interactive scoring app which may be downloaded for free to your iOS and Android Smartphones.