The Top Cut Episode Fifty-Five

Download the audio only version here!

13 responses to “The Top Cut Episode Fifty-Five”

  1. poetlarsen

    Something that I have a question about is if you can declump a card or two after you shuffle, and then shuffle a lot after that. So like if you find 3 catchers next to eachother and you separate them throughout the deck and then you shuffle like 5 times, is this okay? Would this be considered cheating by moving the cards even though you try to shuffle throughly?

    1. Micah Tate

      It’s technically not labeled as cheating since it’s basically impossible to catch and a good shuffle afterwards makes the declump almost insignificant. However, as they mentioned in the show, if you are re-organizing cards like that, you have the intention to give yourself an advantage over your opponent.This is like the mindset of cheating.
      So basically, I doubt you’d get in trouble if you gave it a thorough shuffle after declumping, but it is sometimes frowned upon.

      1. Piplup_isPimp

        Cheating is cheating and it doesn’t matter the player nor his or her shuffling techniques. This problem is amplified especially when the stakes of a game increase (which in pokemon is the top cut where prizes are awarded depending on how far you get through).

        1. Micah Tate

          Let me rephrase, “It’s technically not *punishable* cheating since it’s basically impossible to catch”

          1. Piplup_isPimp

            “Catch”. Its impossible to “catch”. If someone isn’t caught doing something they aren’t supposed to be doing, even if they don’t know its wrong, then what is going to stop them from doing it again?

            This is where making an example of people comes into play. Once people understand that you shouldn’t do a certain action (in this case looking at your deck and rearranging the cards it consists of), as long as they weren’t doing it on purpose, they will stop doing it.

            I can see that you feel shuffling your deck well enough after you’ve declumped it is acceptable. However, if I’m judging an event and see this behavior, depending on the circumstances, I will either issue a warning or prize penalty to that player.

            Looking through your deck in the first place, without using a search card, should not be allowed at any time during game play (which means from the second both players sit down to the second one of them wins). It gives an unfair advantage to that player.
            So even if he or she has 3 maybe 4 of the same cards stuck together, they should have considered this possibility and dealt with it before they started shuffling their decks at the beginning of the match.

          2. Micah Tate

            Firstly, I hate declumping and wish it didn’t exist; I do not think it is right even with a thorough shuffle afterwards. I feel like shuffling afterwards makes the declump an almost negligible action, but the intent behind the declump is wrong IMO.
            Making an example of someone would be nice, but declumping is still something that is near-impossible to catch/prove malicious intent for.
            If someone looks through their deck without a search card that can be easily caught and punishable. I don’t think anyone would disagree with that.
            But if someone plays a skyla and starts declumping their deck, you can’t punish that person.
            “Why did you separate those clumped rare candies?”
            “I was sorting one to the front because I might pick it with skyla.”
            “Why those energies that were together?”
            “I’m moving it so that I can decide if I want to get energy search and get an energy”

          3. Piplup_isPimp

            So we are on the same page.

    2. NoPoke

      Finding three catchers adjacent is telling you that your shuffling technique is not good enough. The reasons for this could be that the cards are sticking together or that your shuffling is actually poor. You should not see triples or quads very often when you search your deck.

      Cheating requires intent (for the most part) so what you are describing is the potential for an unfair advantage that MIGHT be caused by a declump. A sufficient shuffle though will negate that potential for unfair advantage. Its not quite as simple as that though. There is a chicken and egg problem here too. If your shuffling is poor enough to cause clumps of triples or quads then it is unlikely to be good enough to make the randomisation after a declump meet the sufficient requirement.

      1. Micah Tate

        I kind of have to disagree with you.
        Seeing three catchers right next to each-other after having one game likely isn’t a problem with shuffling methods, perhaps sleeves sticking or just chance.
        The fact is that most players won’t play three catchers (or cards like it) at the same time, meaning that the three catchers likely won’t be right next to each other in the discard, meaning that if you didn’t shuffle at all, something like three clumped catchers wouldn’t even happen.
        Of course this logic is based off the idea that most players don’t organize their discard or their deck between games/shuffle sessions.
        Sorry for if this comes off as nit-picking.

        What does “sufficiently randomized” mean anyway? IMO, if the player shuffling can’t predict where any specific cards are in their deck, then it’s sufficiently shuffled (given that they haven’t manipulated the deck in general).

        1. NoPoke

          No it isn’t nit-picking at all. You are actually making the same point that I am making: that unusual results need you to check your assumptions.

          My position in the declumping debate as a judge who tolerates brief declumping is because I believe that very few players know how to shuffle well, even fewer can get even close to randomising their deck like a computer might. Being able to see the whole of your deck when you search gives you essentially the same access to information about deck order as a declump. If I don’t like my deck order I might shuffle longer to ensure that the deck gets reset. If I do like that the Squirtle Candy Blastoise are close then maybe I don’t. That behaviour is every bit as bad as the declump.

      2. poetlarsen

        Well I think I shuffle well enough- a six stack and about 6-8 bridge shuffles- and I still seem to get these problems. But something I have noticed is that cards do stick together a lot. And I have asked judges in top cut about this issue and they said that it was fine for me to do it, as long as I shuffle a lot, which I do.

  2. Piplup_isPimp

    love the introduction guys, just love it.

  3. NoPoke

    @crim and the accidental defense: players are a lot more ignorant of the rules and mathematics than most realise. Fortunately players can be removed from tournaments without proving that they cheated.

    Declumping is a smokescreen. Every time you look through your deck you are exposed to information about card location.