Sunday, August 28, 2005

Attack of the Clones

If you play online poker, you have to read this article on poker 'bots.

I'm not trying to make an "I told you so" post - my thoughts on online poker have already been well versed here. However, as I've said previously, I think automated poker Bots are a fascinating subject that any serious player should be interested in. In essence, I believe that the best players should strive to play like a robot: optimize bluff frequency, optimize call/raise/fold frequency, optimize hand selection, and most importantly: remove emotion from the equation.

Maybe one day, once all the human players have been eliminated from the online realm, we can have a World Championship of Artificial Intelligence Poker - that would be tremendous - you could run massive numbers of hands - and see which Bot performs best... Someone like Bill Gates should sponsor a contest like this: it would do wonders for the advancement of AI technology.

In the meantime, keep an eye on the developments on the automated 'bot front: the poker sites are fighting them, but why? Why don't they bar their best players too - players who are frequently using statistical software to do exactly what the Bots are doing? I would be willing to bet that the players who play the most hands on PartyPoker are the most savvy, and are largely using outside software programs to enhance their play - and why wouldn't they? I am not blaming them or judging them, but it's worth a little thought.

Okay, Okay... I don't want to get into this debate again... Yet... Let me leave it with a simple statement: as long as poker sites allow the use of Pokertracker, or any other software which analyzes hand histories, they should allow automated Bots. I am told that many PartyPoker users received emails advising them that the use of software such as Pokeredge (which displays opponents' statistics during play) will result in them being banned from the site. I believe that they should extend this ban to ALL software - but I think this is more of a theoretical/philosophical argument, because I don't think it can be realistically enforced: the computer geeks will always figure out a way to avoid the detection of their software.



1 comment:

Wes said...

I think that there is nothing wrong with bots if they act alone, but if they, as with humans, use collusion, it is definately inadmissable.