Posts Tagged ‘reasons’

PKR Poker Shut Down For “Financial” Reasons

 PKR Poker Shut Down For “Financial” Reasons

Once again demonstrating the need in the States of America for regulated online gaming and poker if not in the international industry, the online poker site PKR Poker seems to have shut their doors in citing “financial difficulties” as the reason for the shutdown.

Over the past week, there has been some precursors of what would happen over the weekend. On Wednesday last week, the site shut down for what was said to be “regular maintenance” for PKR. That “regular maintenance” stretched out to a full day before the error message was changed to indicate that there were financial issues with PKR that required the shutdown of the site. The problem with this is that, with the site shut down, there was no way for players to access their accounts nor withdraw any money that they had.

If that wasn’t reason to panic, the network supporting PKR’s withdrawal of service sent everyone into a frenzy. The Microgaming Network, who hosted PKR since March of last year, shut down their support of the site, leading to another ominous statement from PKR themselves. According to a statement from PKR, the companies’ corporate entities, PKR Limited and PKR Technologies, had filed “applications” (could be read as bankruptcy proceedings) with the Court for Administrative Orders in the United Kingdom. That hearing is supposed to be heard today.

With the courts getting involved, Microgaming removing their support (the company has stated that PKR held their players’ money, not the network), and the dribble of statements from the site, it doesn’t look good for players who had any sort of funds on the site. For those affiliates who were making some coin from sending players to play at PKR, they have been informed to remove any banner ads or other advertising links from their sites and, as with the players, any monies they are owed could be gone.

The shutdown of PKR is an excellent demonstration of why there needs to be stronger regulation of the online gaming industry worldwide. PKR is simply the latest site – joining such sites as Lock Poker, Ultimate Bet, Absolute Poker, and others – that has shut down operations and left players in the lurch. The supposed “governance” bodies that look over and license the sites – the various Caribbean organizations, those on the Isle of Man and the Kahnawake Gaming Commission, which hosts many of the sites – have NEVER held the rooms responsible for their closure nor their failure to pay back players for the funds they had on the sites.

In the States of America, and in particular the states that have regulated and licensed online gaming and/or poker, there has been a recourse for the players. When Ultimate Gaming shut down – leaving players in Nevada (poker only) and New Jersey (online gaming/poker) with bankrolls on the site – there was a process established for those players to receive their monies FIRST, rather than the normal process of bankruptcy where the players would have been treated as creditors and may or may not have seen their money. To this date, Ultimate Gaming’s calm, orderly shutdown is the epitome of how to treat the customers when a gaming site goes under.

When it came out, PKR Poker was quite innovative in its approach. Advertised as the first 3D online poker site, that stylish delivery of the game never seemed to catch on with the online poker community. Although it has battled valiantly through the years, PKR could never mount up enough momentum to challenge partypoker at first and then PokerStars after its ascension to the #1 slot in the industry. At one time sporting a stable of sponsored professionals that included Sofia Lovgren (LONG ago) and Jake Cody, PKR hadn’t been that active in the poker sponsorship field over the past couple of years.

Players who have funds on the site or other questions are encouraged to e-mail, but don’t expect an immediate reply, if one is forthcoming at all.

Poker News Daily

Editorial: Three Reasons Why We Shouldn’t Be Worried about “Libratus”

 Editorial: Three Reasons Why We Shouldn’t Be Worried about “Libratus”

A couple of weeks ago in the Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh, a rather stunning occurrence took place. Over the span of 120,000 hands and roughly 20 days of play, a computer artificial intelligence (AI) called “Libratus,” developed by the Carnegie Mellon College of Computer Science, defeated a squad of tough poker professionals – Dong Kim, Jason Les, Jimmy Chou and Daniel McAulay – in heads up No Limit Texas Hold’em. “Defeated” is a bit too mild a word. “Devastated” would be a better one as, once the final numbers were tallied, “Libratus” was able to score a $ 1,766,250 win over the humans, a crushing defeat so thorough there was no room for any discussion.

Fear not, humanity. This isn’t the end of the world as we know it. The truth is that there won’t be a tableful of “Libratus” knockoffs sitting around the online baize at any point soon. Here’s three reasons why the human race is still the “top dog” when it comes to the game of poker…at least for the immediate future.

Did They REALLY Play Texas Hold’em?

As my friend and colleague Dan Katz pointed out in his rundown of the rules for the staged event, there’s some question as to whether what happened at the Rivers Casino could be held as a true facsimile of an actual Texas Hold’em game. With each hand played, the players and “Libratus” started with identical stacks (20,000 chips, with blinds of 50/100). No matter what had occurred on the previous hand, the stacks were reset each and every time. The logic of this is that it didn’t allow for either side to build up a stack to “bully” their opponent.

That in its very nature is a part of the game of Texas Hold’em, however. You use your stack as a weapon just as much as the cards and, as such, can make players with stronger holdings let their cards go to the muck rather than stay around. It would have made more sense to reset the scores if someone busted to allow for that “bully” factor to be involved rather than start each hand equal, which in no way is how poker is played.

Then there was the odd “all in” rule. If either the live player or “Libratus” were to go all in at any time during the dealing of the board, action on the hand was immediately stopped and the winning percentages were determined AT THAT POINT, with the chips in the pot then being divvied up by those percentages. This removed “luck” from the game in the form of “sucking out” on a better hand, but that is a part of the game of Texas Hold’em; sometimes your pocket Aces are going to get run down by that paltry 9-3 (and usually at the worst moment ever).

These rule changes were enough to allow mankind to question the outcome of the “Brains vs. AI” battle in Steel City. If they weren’t playing by the rules that humans normally play by, were they actually playing poker?

So You Think You’d Like to Own “Libratus?”

There is no question that “Libratus” is a feat of engineering and computer programming (done by humans, it must be added). The ability of the AI to not only build its own database (it played, per the Reading Eagle, literally trillions of hands against itself – the human analog of sitting on the bed and turning cards – before even entering the competition to build information) was stupendous, but it also would continue to learn about its opponents as the game was going on. This allowed for “Libratus” to do exactly what humans do on the felt – make gear changes that throw the opposition off their game, so to speak.

It isn’t going to be next week that a card sharp will have “Libratus” in their pockets, however. The AI was run by a supercomputer that, per the Eagle, costs millions of dollars to operate per year. You’re not going to see someone wheel a bank of computers up to the chair behind them to play anytime soon – and you’re not going to run into someone online who has a similar capacity sitting in their home (just as an aside – and one of the reasons the development of “Libratus’” AI is important – it gives artificial intelligence improvements to be able to better make decisions in an “imperfect” situation).

It’s Just Heads Up Texas Hold’em

Let’s not completely disavow the victory by “Libratus.” Over that many hands of play – and even with the weird rules in place – the monumental victory is obvious. But let’s also keep in mind that this is just ONE discipline of the game, ONE part of what makes poker a fascinating game.

First, it was heads up. You’re not going to see special tables set up in a casino for a mano y mano battle. Hell, they barely can keep such tables active in an online setting. It is a special game, heads up No Limit Texas Hold’em, and there are nuances that are utilized that would be devastating in other settings. This was pointed out by Kim, who noted to the Eagle, “Those guys (his fellow human players) don’t play our game type. They might play other kinds of poker, but even small-stakes heads-up players on the Internet would crush them.”

Second, the AI only had to deal with one opponent. The calculations utilized to make the choices numbered in the billions in that singular circumstance. There has never been the attempt to take any poker-playing AI against even a four-player setting, let alone a six-max table or a full nine handed cash game. With that, the number of calculations would be astronomical and could overwhelm the AI.

Finally, did the AI even try to take on the complexities of another game…Omaha Hold’em, for example? With more potential hands, would that hurt the AI’s computational powers? Let’s not even get into the potential of “wild” games or other variations (Hi/Lo?) that could muck up the AI’s strategy.

It isn’t the end of the world that “Libratus” and Carnegie Mellon’s brainiacs could defeat the human race. There’s still a great deal of space between a person having the AI’s power in their pocket to utilize and, furthermore, there’s more to the game of poker – long respected because of its “incomplete information” setup – than just Texas Hold’em. When the AI is ready to take on a full table of nine players – or, better yet, step into a 1000 player tournament – and win, then get back to me. For now, humanity is still the “king” over artificial intelligence when it comes to the game of poker.

Poker News Daily

Swedish Appeals Court Acquits Svenska Spel Botters for Dumb Reasons

 Swedish Appeals Court Acquits Svenska Spel Botters for Dumb Reasons

Attention online poker botters: head over to Svenska Spel if you know what’s good for you. Then again, you might all just be competing against each other, so your efforts might be futile. Why, you may ask? Recently, a group of five Svenska Spel account holders who were proven to have used bots to win thousands upon thousands of dollars from players were acquitted of fraud charges by Sweden’s Svea Court of Appeal. Botting may be against the rules of the poker site, but hey, the worst that will happen is that you have your ill-gotten gains taken from you!

Svenska Spel is owned and operated by the Swedish government, the de facto “official” online gambling site of the country. Five players (or programmers or botters or whatever – they weren’t necessarily real players) were discovered to have used bots – automated poker playing computer programs – on the Svenska Spel poker room, pulling in a profit of about 2.5 million SEK, or around $ 290,000 U.S. dollars, from an estimated 25,000 players on the site.

Using bots is against the terms of service of the poker site. The five botters were originally found guilty of aggravated fraud, but the appellate court overruled that decision, saying that because luck is involved in poker, the bots could have just as easily lost as they won. Of course, this is just stupid, it simplifies things to the point even my 7-year old would shake his head and say, “No, that’s not how it works. That is not at all how it works.”

Yes, of course a bot could lose, and many do. But well-designed bots put in the right situations will win in the long-run. They make perfect decisions based on the mathematics of the hand and probabilities of opponents’ actions. They also never fatigue, never tilt, never make an error in their calculations. They win because they play better poker than their human counterparts and never mess up.

But the appellate court just doesn’t get it. They’d probably think a burglar should be found guilty because he could have gotten unlucky and slipped on a roller skate in the living room, thus foiling his escape.

Below is the translation of the court’s reversal, in part:

The prosecution had argued that the five persons guilty of serious fraud by inducing together about 25 000 people to play poker against the robot on the Swedish Spel site. According to the prosecutor had the procedure entailed gain for the defendants with 2.5 million and the corresponding harm to plaintiffs.

The District Court sentenced the five defendants for aggravated fraud to probation. Both the prosecutor and the defendants appealed against the judgment.

The Court of Appeal has now acquitted the five defendants of the charges.

According to the Court of Appeal, the defendants through misleading persuaded a large part of the 25,000 plaintiffs to play poker on the poker robot. However, it is not proven that the procedure entailed harm to the plaintiffs or gain to the defendants in the manner required for liability for fraud. The Court of Appeal has considered that it is the question of a game where the outcome in substantial part due to chance. It is not proven that the software has been designed so that it has had a greater ability – skilful been – other than the defendants themselves when they have played without software. Chances of profit for the injured party has not been less because the defendants used the software at the game.

Poker News Daily

Am I raising for the right reasons preflop?

 Am I raising for the right reasons preflop?
A single of the principal factors I elevate preflop is to slender the field of the gamers and get considerably less people to see the flop. My basis is that if an individual has called a increase, they most very likely have a respectable hand, this kind of as a 10K, QK, JK, J10 or a little pair etc and that when the flop does arrive, I can get a much better perception of what variety of hand they’re keeping. Is this the proper? Am I playing this proper?

For example, if I raised preflop to 3x massive blinds, just 1 participant limps in to make a heads up pot, and the flop will come 429, I can be quite self-assured that the player could not have strike the flop?

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