Posts Tagged ‘Through’

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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Online Gambling Bill Makes It Through Michigan House Committee

 Online Gambling Bill Makes It Through Michigan House Committee

A bill to legalize online gambling passed through a Michigan House of Representatives committee Wednesday and though it will be nearly impossible for it to advance any further during this legislative session, there is some hope for the next.

The Bill, House Bill 4926, was introduced by Rep. Brandt Iden three months ago. He told Online Poker Report (OPR) in October that he wanted to see it pass the House by Thanksgiving.

“Throughout the month of October, I’m hoping to gain a lot of headway,” Iden told OPR. “If I had my way, we’ll be able to get everyone to the table and put a bill together and through the House before the Thanksgiving holiday. We’ll see how achievable it is, but that’s my goal.”

Well, it clearly wasn’t achievable, as it only just now made it through a committee and the legislative session is about to end. The good news, though, is that in Michigan, bills can carry over to the next session, so Iden will not have to start from scratch.

The bill stipulates that prospective online gambling operators would be required to pay a $ 100,000 licensing application fee. If granted a five-year license, the fee for the first year would be $ 200,000 and then $ 100,000 each year thereafter.

In October, Iden told OPR that the biggest challenge was arguably getting all of the state’s tribes and the three commercial casinos to all agree on the legislation. Lawmakers could always go ahead and vote for bills without the blessing of all the stakeholders, but is generally a good idea to get those who may be operating the gaming sites to be onboard.

“They’re constantly looking to expand their operations with new gamers. They realize they have generations of gamers that are going to be looking at new platforms, and if they don’t get on board they will miss bus,” Iden said to OPR.

For this Michigan House Regulatory Reform Committee vote, Iden said that the committee did meet with stakeholders the day before in order to discuss the bill. The three commercial casinos – Greektown, MGM Detroit, and Motor City – all now apparently support the legislation when they did not previously (they supported legalized online gambling, just not the bill as written.

As first reported on Twitter by Gambling Compliance’s Chris Krafcik, there were two main amendments to the bill in committee. The first requires gaming servers to be located on the property of a licensed casino. Krafcik says this is important because it may put online gambling in sync with the Michigan constitution, which says that gambling must take place at a casino. Having the servers at a casino theoretically means that online gambling is occurring at the casino, in essence a new gaming offering by existing licensed operators, rather than an expansion of gambling.

The other change is an adjustment to the tax rate. The amended bill says licensees must pay a tax of 10 percent on gross gaming revenue, down from 15 percent previously.

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Party Poker MILLIONS Series Looks to Break Through in 2018

 Party Poker MILLIONS Series Looks to Break Through in 2018

While PokerStars has been very active in the live poker community, first with the dearly departed European Poker Tour (a moment of silence, please) and now the PokerStars Championships, partypoker has been relatively quiet. That will change in 2018 as partypoker is upping the ante on their live efforts with the second year of their Party Poker MILLIONS Series.

After testing the waters with smaller live events, partypoker has gone full bore with trying to kickstart their live poker ventures and the MILLIONS franchise. They hired the founder of the EPT, John Duthie, to be the president of Party Poker LIVE (the overseer of the MILLIONS events) earlier in 2017 and followed it up by drawing former World Poker Tour announcer and Poker Hall of Famer Mike Sexton away from the WPT for an executive position with the organization. Those two gentlemen seem to have put the final touches on what promises to be an exciting series come 2018.

Duthie, who has the background from the creation of the EPT in his memory, knows what needs to be done first. “Putting players first is key to ensuring that the partypoker LIVE brand thrives and is well-respected, and it’s been great to be part of this,” Duthie noted during the announcement of the 2018 schedule. “The response to the partypoker MILLIONS series has been incredible, and I think the increased prize pools next year are going to take the events to a whole new level. It’s going to be very exciting.”

Sexton echoed Duthie’s statements, saying, “As partypoker LIVE’s flagship series, partypoker MILLIONS has attracted a huge number of players in its first year and proved a resounding success. The MILLIONS series has brought a great deal of excitement to the live and online poker world and really engaged players with a very competitive environment, so I can’t wait to see the impact of even bigger prize pool guarantees in 2018.”

The newly revealed events will offer a minimum of $ 5 million in guaranteed prize money at multiple stops around the world. Some of those stops will have a massive $ 10 million guaranteed prize pool. At the $ 10 million stops, partypoker is guaranteeing that the top three finishers will walk off with at least a million and that a minimum of 250 players will earn at least $ 10,000 for their min-cash.

The continuation of the inaugural season will be later this month with the first of the $ 5 million guaranteed events, the Caribbean Poker Party at The Level at Melia Caribe Tropical in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. Beginning on November 20, the first two of four Day One flights will be held with the goal to meet that $ 5 million guarantee (1000 players). The final table of the event will be played on November 25 (Saturday), where most of the prize pool will be divvied up.

From the sunny climes of the Dominican Republic, the Party Poker MILLIONS will traverse the world, including the cyber world:

MILLIONS Online                                         December 2-6
MILLIONS Germany                                     February 10-18
(end of Season One)
MILLIONS Grand Final – Barcelona             April 7-15*
MILLIONS North America – Canada            April 21-29**
MILLIONS Russia – Sochi                            August 4-12
MILLIONS UK – Dusk ‘Til Dawn                September 20-October 9
MILLIONS Caribbean Poker Party                November 10-18*

(* – $ 5 million guaranteed prize pool)

(** – $ 10 million Canadian guaranteed prize pool)

The resurgence of partypoker in the live arena comes at an intriguing point in the international poker community. There is already a plethora of live poker events in the world, especially with the PokerStars Championships, the World Poker Tour and even the World Series of Poker Circuit and its ventures into foreign lands. The brain trust behind the Party Poker MILLIONS have cast an eye at the tournament poker calendar in the scheduling of their events, however.

From a look at the schedule, the MILLIONS is avoiding the beginning of the calendar year and the glut of international tournaments that occur just after January begins. In particular, the newly revived PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (back from its one-year experiment as the PokerStars Championships Bahamas) and the Aussie Millions suck up much of the oxygen in the room during the month. By waiting until mid-February for their stop in Germany, the MILLIONS team is giving themselves the best opportunity at success when the calendar is less crowded.

They’ve also utilized their online home as a springboard to get players to the live events. Satellites are running continuously on partypoker for the MILLIONS tournaments and they have been well received by the international poker world. Duthie, obviously remembering how the EPT exploded from online poker satellites, is looking for lightning to strike twice with the MILLIONS series.

Still, the players will be the ones who vote with the most important marker – their money. Many eyes will be cast towards Punta Cana later this month to see if Duthie and Sexton have something going with the MILLIONS. Knowing their history in poker, don’t bet against them.

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Five Years Too Late: Howard Lederer Apologizes for “Black Friday” – Through Daniel Negreanu

 Five Years Too Late: Howard Lederer Apologizes for “Black Friday” – Through Daniel Negreanu

In the five years since “Black Friday” hit the online poker industry, poker professional Daniel Negreanu has been one of the more vocal critics of the people that were in charge of one of the rooms involved in that situation, Full Tilt Poker. Now, more than five years later, Negreanu is allowing one of the culprits of that infamous day to issue his mea culpas, for reasons that are unknown at this time.

Negreanu opens his blog post discussing his own opinions that came from the “Black Friday” actions. “I don’t regret being vocal about it all, but I would have left out the talk of baseball bats (Negreanu once threatened “old school Vegas action” on the person we are soon to meet) and handled my response more responsibly,” Negreanu writes. He then goes on to introduce the disgraced Howard Lederer, who issued a statement to the poker community through Negreanu’s blog at Full Contact Poker.

In his longer-than-necessary statement, Lederer finally says the words that the poker community would have liked to have heard him say five years ago:  he screwed up. He now understands that (and we’ll paraphrase for brevity here) he was trusted with people’s monies and that, as that person that represented Full Tilt Poker, he had a unique position that put him at the front of the firing line if there was a problem. He learned this after talking with a friend in 2014, who’s comments to him finally made him see the light. Finally, Lederer says, “An apology is not enough, but it is what I am able to offer to the poker community in the wake of a travesty that I should not have allowed to happen. I am sorry.”

Negreanu then offers his opinion on the statement from Lederer.

“I think this is the kind of apology people would have liked to read five years ago,” Negreanu starts by writing. “It may be too little too late for some, but it’s a far cry from The Lederer Files (the devastatingly awful series of interviews done in 2012 by Lederer with PokerNews.com in which Lederer tried to blame everyone other than himself for the downfall of Full Tilt Poker). Does it definitively answer all the questions surrounding what he knew and what he didn’t know? No. Does it change the fact that people who trusted Howard, both investors and customers alike, were let down? No. Does it mean that you should be any less pissed at him for what happened? That one is up to you, I guess.”

So why is Lederer coming out now to discuss the issue and offer to the poker world the grandest of apologies? Well, we ARE a couple of weeks from the start of the 2016 World Series of Poker and, it is fair to assume, that Lederer would like to be able to walk into a poker room again without feeling the scorn from every set of eyes that hit his face (this is a possibility also floated by Negreanu). Especially with some of the biggest tournaments and cash game action set to hit Las Vegas kicking into gear at the end of May, Lederer might like to get in on that action (it isn’t known just how much money he DID get away with from the Full Tilt fiasco).

Then again, it is also possible that the apology is a truthful one. Sometimes it can take several years for someone to see the error of their ways and set about trying to rectify the situation. While it is completely illogical to think that Lederer is personally going to go around and prostrate himself for everyone he’s wronged, this might be as close as he can get.

Negreanu also states this as he reaches the end of the post. “If anything, I think writing this statement is good for him (Lederer),” Negreanu says. “It’s the right thing to do…The choice to accept his apology is a personal one. There is no right or wrong way to receive it. For what it’s worth, I personally believe the apology to be genuine.”

What the poker community thinks…may be hard to define.

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