This post originally appeared on the geekchicago.com blog and is being re-printed here with permission.
Technology is infiltrating life in ways we may not even expect. One of those areas is the poker arena.
Technology may have just found a way to "solve" poker. What does that mean? Consider a simple game like tic-tac-toe. If player A does one move, then with the goal of winning in mind, player B has an optimal move, guaranteed to put him on a path to victory (or in this game, at least a "draw".) It is a "solved" game.
Poker is way more complicated than that, though... right?
Yes, and no. It seems that this new "pokerbot" artificial intelligence that provides the "brains" over 200 Texas Hold 'Em Heads Up machines across the US basically always comes out on top. The pokerbot uses knowledge that it has from billions of staged rounds of poker, fed through neural networks (essentially a complex decision making formula), resulting in an unpredictable but virtually unbeatable poker player.
In fact, it took the developers 2 years to dumb down the system enough so that players wouldn't walk away. Even so, its estimated that only 100 around the world will be able to beat it on a regular basis.
...you and I are probably not one of those 100. But it's worth a try, right?
We reached out to Dave Thornton, the CEO of Skill in Games, a company dedicated to separating out the luck component from the game of poker to measure a player's relative skill quotient to understand whether or not the game has truly been solved. When asked, "is the game of poker solved", he had this to say:
Yes in the sense that [Artificial Intelligence engines] exist which can profitably play heads-up limit hold'em against tough opponents. No in the more formal sense - as far as I know, we haven't fully enumerated a game theory optimal strategy for heads-up limit hold'em.
Windy City Poker Championship returns with its fourth season on Sunday nights in June and July at 7pm and 8pm.
The first two episodes of the season showcase the spring heads up eight man tournament, including Rick Rahim, Nick Jivkov, Pawel Andrzejewski, and Ryan Leng.
The second half of episode two features the $3000 buy-in single table tournament featuring WPT Boot Camp instructor Nick Brancato, 2003 World Series of Poker Main Event Champion Chris Moneymaker, WLS and Sun-Times' Richard Roeper, ABC7's Ron Magers, Circuit Event Champion Aaron Massey, and additional pros and amateurs.
Tune in every Sunday night to Comcast SportsNet (what channel number is that?) to catch the latest episode, hosted by Jason Finn and produced by Kirk Fallah.
Alternately, episodes can be found online at WindyCityPokerChampionship.com.
Join HFS Chicago Scholars on Friday, May 31 at 6:30pm for their Casino Night, featuring a $125 buy-in poker tournament.
The event is being held at the Holiday Inn, Chicago Mart Plaza. Your $125 ticket includes food, drinks and entry into the Texas Hold 'em Poker Tournament with $5000 of poker chips to start. Poker chips have no cash value.
Attire: Cocktail, Business Casual or Dressy Casual is appropriate.
HFS Chicago Scholars assists economically disadvantaged Chicago inner-city high school students who show academic and leadership promise achieve their educational goals by providing financial assistance and mentoring. They provide the following to their scholars:
- financial assistance to attend top Chicago private high schools;
- Academic Directors dedicated to each high school class and one-on-one mentors;
- four-year written commitment specifying performance expectations;
- college visits, selection and admissions support.