Posts Tagged ‘poker’

Artificial Intelligence Developed to See Through the “Poker Face”

 Artificial Intelligence Developed to See Through the “Poker Face”

When players are at the poker table, there is plenty of deception that goes on. One of the biggest things that players attempt to hide is any expression on their faces of how good or bad their hands are – the proverbial “poker face.” According to scientists, they have now developed an artificial intelligence that can see through anyone’s attempts to hide their emotions and feelings.

In a recent TED Talk, Dolby Laboratories scientist Poppy Crum explained how the company came up with the software to be able to break down what someone’s disposition is. “It’s the end of the poker face,” she said during the TED discussion. “We broadcast our emotions…we will know more about each other than we ever have.”

Using a combination of sensors and monitors along with a sophisticated interpretation program, Crum states that micromovements of the face, a rise in skin temperature and other indicators can be read and interpreted for a variety of emotional reactions. Such things as lying, infatuation, excitement, preparing to fight and other reactions can be identified through the analysis of all this information in a split second by the AI.

The potential implications at the poker table could be significant. If the AI can read – and, perhaps more importantly, interpret the information – correctly, such things as an increase in pulse rate or breathing, the dilation of a player’s pupils, changes in body temperature and several other bodily functions could be examined and a pattern predicted by the computers. If a player were able to get these things in real time, it would be a massive benefit to a player on the felt in sizing up his opponents.

Like most technologies, this breakthrough in artificial intelligence isn’t limited to its usage at the poker tables. The technology could be used to better identify how a human is acting and determine a path forward in communications, negotiations, and other areas. It could also be used for less than altruistic purposes when someone wants to manipulate a person or their actions.

The advent of computers has led to some fascinating breakthroughs in the activity of games. First computers were unleashed against the finite game of chess, with computers being trained in the game to the point that they were able to take on grandmasters of the game. In 1996, a creation of IBM called Deep Blue took on legendary Grandmaster and former World Champion Gary Kasparov, with Kasparov able to handily beat the computer. Fast forward one year and Deep Blue, with another year of development and improvement to its calculations, defeated the chess legend.

With chess out of the way, other computer programmers and scientists began to look at other games they could conquer. The professors and students at the University of Alberta began working on AI that took on the game of Heads Up Limit Texas Hold’em. The reason for the parameters of the game – the heads-up nature and the limit format – kept the number of decisions down for their artificial intelligence.

In 2008, the team at the University of Alberta came up with Polaris, who lost to professional poker players Ali Eslami and Phil Laak in a much-ballyhooed “man vs. machine” battle. After making some critical changes and expanding the AI’s database, the Alberta braniacs brought Polaris back for another round with Eslami and Laak, with the final score coming out in favor of Polaris, 3-2-1.

Not satisfied with their work with Polaris, the University of Alberta experts set about building a poker AI that would play the game of Limit Hold’em perfectly. In 2014, that work brought about Cepheus, which taught itself the entirety of mathematical challenges faced in Limit Hold’em in 70 days of play. In 2015, the University of Alberta stated that Cepheus had “perfected” the game of Limit Hold’em; players can take on Cepheus and learn for themselves how good the program is by playing against Cepheus here.

Alberta’s greatest minds then shifted their focus to NO LIMIT Texas Hold’em, with similar success. In 2015, the professors and scientists presented Claudico, the first heads up No Limit Hold’em playing AI and presented it for battle against four poker professionals including Doug Polk and Bjorn Li. Over the span of 80,000 hands, the AI held its own as there wasn’t enough of a statistical difference to determine a winner. In 2017, Alberta presented Libratus for a second “Brains vs. Artificial Intelligence” battle, with Libratus destroying Jason Les, Daniel McAulay, Jimmy Chou and Dong Kim to the tune of $ 1.7 million.

With the rise of Libratus and the ability to decipher a poker face, is it long until the computers take over the game of poker? Well, right now yes. Because of the complexities of No Limit Texas Hold’em, AI has only been created for the heads-up game. It also hasn’t been created for games like Stud, Omaha or other variants. Thus, while the news may be in favor of the development of AI and “poker face” decipherers, it should be some time before sentient beings are taking humans money on the real-life poker tables.

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World Poker Tour to Honor Steve Lipscomb, Lyle Berman with WPT Honors Award

 World Poker Tour to Honor Steve Lipscomb, Lyle Berman with WPT Honors Award

Continuing the legacy of honoring those who were instrumental in their contributions to the World Poker Tour and the poker community also, the WPT will give their WPT Honors Award to two men who will join a legendary cast in May.

On May 22, the WPT will look back into their past and honor Steve Lipscomb and Lyle Berman, two men whose vision created the WPT and cemented its place in poker history. “The WPT is deeply proud to present two extraordinary icons of our industry with the WPT Honors Award,” Adam Pliska, the Chief Executive Officer of the World Poker Tour, said during the announcement of the awards. “These Honorees represent the pioneering ingenuity and passionate leadership that has abundantly influenced poker. Mr. Steve Lipscomb and Mr. Lyle Berman brought poker to new heights with the creation of the World Poker Tour, and their passion and dedication have allowed the WPT to become what it is today.”

It goes without saying that, without these two men, there wouldn’t be a World Poker Tour in existence today. Lipscomb was the man who came up with the concept of a tournament poker series that traveled to different casinos. He also knew how he wanted to present these tournaments. Rather than the staid productions that had come previously where the viewers weren’t shown the hole cards, Lipscomb knew that showing these cards would be critical to driving the broadcasts of the tournaments. With that in mind, he utilized the development of the “lipstick camera” as a method of providing the viewer with the excitement of the game.

From the time the WPT debuted in 2002, Lipscomb was instrumental in the success of the show. He served as the director and producer for every episode during the first eight years of the program, with the WPT becoming one of the catalysts of the mid-2000s “poker boom” that erupted during those years. For his efforts, Lipscomb has previously been honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award during the inaugural American Poker Awards in 2015.

While Lipscomb was the one who had the idea, it was Berman who was the one who provided the monetization and the background to be able to work in the cutthroat casino industry. As a businessman, Lipscomb was responsible for the growth and expansion of Grand Casinos, Inc., which allowed him to be able to finance the WPT in its infancy. Because of his casino background, he was also a key player in the negotiations with the different casinos across the States of America and the world when it came to creating the schedule of events and to allowing for the taping of the programs.

Berman’s experience in the world of poker is also noted in his other achievements. He is a three-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner, earning over $ 2.6 million in his career in tournament poker. He is also a feared cash game player, giving him the gravitas to be elected into the Poker Hall of Fame in 2002.

The WPT Honors Award is a relatively new accolade in the poker world, but it has a glowing list of honorees. Former WPT announcer, hostess and tournament director Linda Johnson was the first-ever honoree in February 2017. Later that same year in June, former WPT announcer and Poker Hall of Famer Mike Sexton and French poker legend Bruno Fitoussi (instrumental in bringing the WPT to the legendary Aviation Club in Paris) were also feted the award.

Ceremonies to honor both Lipscomb and Berman will be held during the play of the WPT Tournament of Champions in Las Vegas in May. That tournament will be held from May 24-26, so it is likely there will be one night chosen to honor both men simultaneously. Congratulations to Lipscomb and Berman for receiving this prestigious award!

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Scott Margereson Takes Down Faraz Jaka to Win WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown

 Scott Margereson Takes Down Faraz Jaka to Win WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown

In one of the longer final tables of the Season XVI schedule, Scott Margereson was able to vanquish Faraz Jaka to win his first major live tournament championship, the 2018 World Poker Tour Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown, early on Thursday morning.

Margereson, who was a fixture in the Top Ten since Day 2 of the tournament, started off the day as the third largest stack among the six men at the final table. Brian Hastings had a massive 12.855 million stack, but Joey Couden (8.255 million) and Margereson (8.195 million) were within shouting distance. Looking to come off the short end of the game were Jeff Fielder (4.32 million), Matt Stout (3.19 million) and Jaka (2.45 million).

The sextet would play out the remainder of the level from the night before (40K/80K, 10K ante) and jump to Level 30 (50K/100K, 15K ante) before the action would get warmed up. On Hand 34, Couden took enough chips from Margereson and Fielder to move into the lead over Hastings, but ten hands later the tide would swing in Margereson’s favor. After a raise from Jaka, a call from Margereson and Fielder and a completion from Hastings in the big blind, a 10-10-4 flop greeted the players. Hastings would be the only one who dropped from the action after Jaka popped a 325K bet in the center and the 7♣ put two clubs on the baize. Jaka now checked his option but, after Margereson bet 1.35 million and Fielder called after some thought, Jaka cleared out of the way.

Now down to two players, the 6♣ put the possibility for a flush on the board. Margereson used up a Time Chip to consider his action before he settled on an all-in move. Fielder, thinking he had trapped Margereson, immediately called and spiked his 5♣ 4♣ on the felt for the rivered flush. That wasn’t good enough, however; Margereson turned up two red fours for the flopped boat that had Fielder drawing dead from the start. After the chips were counted, Fielder was determined to be the player at risk for elimination, leaving the tournament in sixth place.

Only three hands later, another player would go down. Stout would open the betting and Jaka would three-bet him until Stout’s remaining stack was in the center. Stout turned up pocket tens for the fight, but Jaka had the goods for battle with pocket Queens. A Queen on the flop left Stout drawing way thin and the case Queen on the turn left him drawing dead, sending the popular philanthropist (Stout is the founder of the Charity Series of Poker)/poker professional to the rail in fifth place.

Now down to four players, Couden (12.14 million) and Margereson (12.005 million) were the massive leaders, but Hastings (9.045 million) and Jaka (6.075 million) looked to make a run at the top. Hastings drew first blood, doubling up through Couden when his pocket Aces defeated Couden’s pocket sevens after both players flopped a set, to take over the lead. Margereson, however, would fight back to take the lead away from Hastings again as Level 32 began.

With the blinds beginning to catch up with the stacks, the swings became more massive. Over the span of 20 hands, every man at the table held the lead. Another 20 hands, however, would lead to another player leaving the tournament.

After a Couden raise under the gun, Jaka woke up in the big blind and three bet the action. Couden would move all in and Jaka snapped off the call, showing pocket Kings that served as a cooler to Couden’s pocket Queens. Once no ladies came to the flop, turn or river, Couden was out of the tournament in fourth place as Jaka took over the lead with more than half of the chips in play.

The trio of pros (while Jaka and Hastings have quite a bit of live success, Margereson’s has come online, where he has earned over $ 4 million in tournament earnings) battled it out over 45 more hands before someone took command. That “someone” was Margereson, who knocked out Hastings after he rivered a flush and headed to heads up action against Jaka with nearly a 3:1 lead.

The twosome would play for 30 hands without a significant move in the chip counts, but on the 200th hand of the final table the drama became more intense. After Jaka limped in and Margereson checked, a K-8-7-9 flop and turn only brought a before from Margereson on the turn and a Jaka call. An Ace on the river brought another bet out of Margereson, this time for three million chips, but Jaka read Margereson for a bluff and called. Jaka was correct as Margereson, holding a 10-5, had air as Jaka tabled his 7-5 for bottom pair, good enough to take the pot and tie up the event as each player held 19.6 million chips.

With the match even, any hand held the potential for a player to be eliminated. That outcome arrived on Hand 232 after Margereson moved all in and Jaka made the call. Jaka’s A-8 held the advantage pre-flop against Margereson’s Q-J, but the poker fates put a Q-J-9 flop that switched the advantage to Margereson. The turn seven teased Jaka with the inside straight possibility, but the Ace on the river slammed the door and knocked Jaka out in second.

1. Scott Margereson, $ 696,740
2. Faraz Jaka, $ 454,496
3. Brian Hastings, $ 336,466
4. Joey Couden, $ 251,523
5. Matt Stout, $ 189,880
6. Jeff Fielder, $ 144,775

With the completion of the tournament in Florida, the WPT will now head to Las Vegas for a spate of tournaments to complete Season XVI. The WPT Bellagio Elite Poker Championship will be conducted from May 1-6 and a WPT High Roller event ($ 25,000 buy in) will take place from May 5-6, with the final table of that tournament being played on May 25 at the sparkling eSports Arena Las Vegas. The WPT will give one more shot for players to win on the Season XVI schedule with the WPT Bobby Baldwin Classic from May 20-23 before bringing together as many current and former champions as possible for the WPT Tournament of Champions. That tournament will run from May 24-26, with the final table also being held in the eSports Arena Las Vegas.

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Phil Galfond Announces Run It Once Online Poker Room Launch Coming This Summer

 Phil Galfond Announces Run It Once Online Poker Room Launch Coming This Summer

In September 2016, poker pro Phil Galfond announced that he was going to start his own online poker room named after his poker training site, Run It Once. His idea was to build something that would cater to players of all types, that would focus on fairness, and that would be transparent. Since then, we have heard so little about the new poker room that most of us assumed the project had been shelved. But last week, Galfond wrote a long blog post on RunItOnce.eu (which we assume is the web address for the poker room), explaining what has been going on and trying to get back to the concept of transparency.

Galfond explained that the delays have largely been related to software development.

“Our software delays weren’t the typical delays that come with the territory,” he said. “We made some significant missteps early in our software development (I don’t just mean our tech team – I’m as much to blame as anyone) and it set us on a course that’s been very difficult to navigate.”

He brought in new leadership and a new tech team, which resulted in a reworking of the development strategy. They believed they had the option of either continuing down the track they were on with the downside that future development would be hampered, or redo a whole bunch of things to increase flexibility, but which would also push back the launch even further.

They decided to go for a hybrid strategy of staying on track with cash games and launching them this summer while continuing to work on tournaments, which would be launched in Phase 2.

Galfond said this decision was made for a few reasons:

1. We didn’t want to release anything we aren’t proud of, so launching with unpolished and partial versions of multiple offerings was off the table.
2. We figured that you’d rather have something from us than to wait much longer for us to offer everything.
3. We were furthest along on cash games, and even if we hadn’t been, launching with tournaments only would be extremely challenging for a new site fighting for liquidity.

As mentioned, a big goal for Run It Once was to make a poker room for players, rather than make all decisions just to benefit the business. As such, Galfond said that the rake will be “sensible,” allowing people to actually be able to beat the games if they are good players. He also said the cash games will be “focused on fun and on pure, authentic poker.”

The rewards system will be good for both pros and recreational players. Pros will benefit the most, but recs should be happy, as well. And interestingly, Galfond said it will be impossible to leave rewards unclaimed.

Phase 2, which does not have a target date yet, will include:

1. General software enhancements, more user options
2. A distinct SNG offering
3. An innovative Tournament experience
4. An awesome nosebleed stakes offering, with several unique ideas from someone who’s played these games for a long time and thinks he knows what they need!

Between now and when Phase 1 launches, Galfond has promised to provide updates on what to expect.

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2018 WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown Final Table Set

 2018 WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown Final Table Set

It was a relatively short day at the 2018 World Poker Tour (WPT) Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown in Hollywood, Florida on Tuesday, but that was to be expected, as only eight players needed to be eliminated for the tournament to reach the six-handed final table. After six hours, that final table was determined with Brian Hastings emerging as the chip leader of an extremely tough group of players.

Hastings enters Wednesday’s action with 12.855 million chips, giving him a sizeable edge over his closest competitor, Joey Couden (8.255 million chips with blinds and antes of 40,000/80,000/10,000). The chip leader going into Tuesday, Scott Margereson, is third with 8.195 million. After those three, there is a gap to the next three, but the next trio is a load to handle: Jeff Fielder (4.320 million), Matt Stout (3.190 million), and Faraz Jaka (2.450 million).

Hastings is no stranger to deep trips in major tournaments. He owns three World Series of Poker bracelets: 2012 $ 10,000 No-Limit Hold’em Heads-Up, 2015 $ 10,000 Seven Card Stud, and 2015 $ 1,500 Ten Game Mix Six-Handed. Overall, he has more than $ 2.6 million in live tournament earnings.

He is still gunning for that first World Poker Tour title, though, which makes him no different than the five other players at the final table. They are all accomplished: Jaka won the Season VIII WPT Player of the Year race, Couden has over a million dollars in tournament winnings, Stout has $ 3.7 million in earnings, multiple WSOP final tables, and a fifth place finish in this event four years ago, and Fielder is trying to become the first player to win a WPT Main Tour title and a WPTDeepStacks title.

As we told you a few days ago, this is the largest WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown in history, with 1,309 entries. It is also the fifth-largest World Poker Tour event of all time. Now, that number is slightly misleading, as since it is an unlimited re-entry event, the tournament didn’t actually have 1,309 players, hence the use of the word “entries.” That said, the fact that so many people would be willing to plunk down multiple $ 3,500 buy-ins is impressive.

938 entries were needed to meet the guaranteed prize pool of $ 3 million, so that turned out to be no problem whatsoever. The total prize pool escalated to $ 4,188,800 with the winner taking home nearly $ 700,000.

2018 World Poker Tour Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown – Final Table Chip Counts

1. Brian Hastings – 12,855,000
2. Joey Couden – 8,255,000
3. Scott Margereson – 8,195,000
4. Jeff Fielder – 4,320,000
5. Matt Stout – 3,190,000
6. Faraz Jaka – 2,450,000

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