Poker’s ‘believe it or not’ Technology

Explaining to friends, colleagues or even strangers that you play poker for a living generally elicits 2 big questions – one concerns the money involved and the other is always about ‘bluffing’.

What really surprises them, however, is when they find out just how much ‘technology’ is available to the modern-day poker buff! Let’s take a look at what the average poker player might use in any given day…

HUDs (Heads-Up Displays)

These little beasts are currently under a dark cloud, with many online poker sites restricting their use, or banning them completely. What do they do?

Basically, they give you all your opponents’ ‘numbers’. How often they bet, how often they raise, how often they try to ‘steal’ your ‘blinds’ – and a hundred other statistics that any serious poker player would like, or need, to know.

When I show my laptop screen to a non-poker player, the open-mouthed shock is a sight to behold – poker’s version of the Terminator-eye view of the world!

Next up in the techno-shock list has to be…

Databases

When I show off my 6million+ games of chess on Chessbase, people are impressed. When they see that in poker I can also download hundreds of thousands of my opponents’ ‘hand histories’ – and use them to devise strategies against their playstyle – they are gobsmacked.

Does this technology really help a player so much? Well, consider this story; back in 2009, an unidentified player was absolutely killing online poker, taking millions off of the world’s best. It turned out his name was Viktor ‘Isildur1’ Blom.

Brian Hastings, a high-stakes pro, enlisted the help of 2 accomplices, and downloaded some 30,000 of Blom’s previous hands. With his 2 friends, Hastings analysed the info and devised a strategy to beat the Swedish sensation – and in one memorable poker session alone he took $4.2 million from the unsuspecting player.

It was against the site’s rules, but the money was never repaid and Hastings & co. had shown just how serious poker-tech had become.

Artificial Intelligence

How would you react if you knew your opponent was playing in a way which was theoretically perfect? An unbeatable game? Such technology exists, and it is ‘Artificially Intelligent’!

PokerSnowie is a program which taught itself, learned from its mistakes and improved! Now you can use it to also learn the perfect way to respond to any poker bet or play – and although it’s intended as a training tool, on some poker sites you can even use it in real-time.

If this seems a bit like iRobot, you wouldn’t be too far wrong! The world of poker is breaking new tech-territory all the time.

Virtual dealers/tables

Technology in poker has advanced to such an extent that you don’t even need real cards, chips, dealers…or even real-life opponents!

Nowadays you can sit down at a virtual table and have everything appear in front of you at the touch of a screen. Want to bet? Type in how much and the virtual chips appear in the middle. Don’t like your cards? Just touch them and they disappear back into the pack.

And of course, with a virtual dealer (and opponents if you’ve got no friends) you can say pretty much anything you like to them without causing offence!