While Super Bowl betting dominated the gambling landscape over the last week, there was still a little bit of poker news to dig through. A former online poker player hit the jackpot while on vacation, and in other news artificial intelligence had a huge breakthrough in the poker world. Is this just another realm where the robots will take over?
Poker AI Out-Bluffs Top Human Poker Players
There is an artificial-intelligence program named Libratus which was designed to play poker, which was the last game in which humans had an edge. However, there was a 20-day tournament in which Libratus took $1.7 million worth of chips against Jimmy Chou, Jason Les, Dong Kim and Daniel MacAulay. These are all very good poker players who have been involved in World Series of Poker events, including Main Events, and have done quite well for themselves.
They played 120,000 hands against Libratus, which is 50% more than the last study with Claudico - the predecessor to Libratus. Against Claudico, human players won $700,000 and beat the machine almost every single day of the tournament. That was over 13 days as there were less hands to be played. This time, the players only won five days out of 20 and had to split a pot of $200,000 between them. Kim played against Claudico, and he said that he could tell the program was a much better bluffer this time around.
This is huge as AI programs had won in chess and checkers before, but poker was seemingly the last frontier. Libratus improved its ability to bluff the human players, which was a problem in Claudico. While this was a really cool display of the advancement of technology, there is also a concern that this could be employed in malicious ways. Are we moving towards a future where someone buys the program and employs those bots online to exploit the system?
Vacation Proves To Be Business Trip For Player
Espen Myrmo was in New Zealand for his father's 60th birthday, but it just so happened that there was a three-day tournament at Sky City Casino in Auckland that caught his attention. So he figured why not mix in a little work while on vacation, right?
Myrmo entered the Waitangi Deepstack Championship, which had a $1,100 buy-in. 134 players ponied up the money to get in the action. Myrmo hails from Norway, and in the past hadn't had much success in live poker. He used to play online poker officially and won an event in 2015 worth $236,000. He also had a third-place result in a Pot-Limit Omaha event and a seventh-place finish in a Pot-Limit event last February.
While the in-person aspect was a bit new to Myrmo, it might be something he gets involved in a lot more. He plowed through the field in New Zealand before going heads-up with Sarah Saifi and claiming the $40,000 prize for his efforts. Saifi, who hails from Auckland, was making her first appearance in a Main Event. She still managed to win $26,200. Third place went to Rohin Rup with $25,800, followed by Wally Lee with $12,660 and Te Rangi Matenga with $10,180.
It was a nice haul for Myrmo, who celebrated with his father and still plans to hang around New Zealand a little longer now that he has some more cash in his pocket.