Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Computers: Duds at Poker

From the Austin American Statesman (free registration required):

It may surprise you to learn that it's more difficult for a computer to play poker, perhaps the world's most popular card game, than chess, the pastime of deep thinkers.


Bradley Loh said...

Totally agree! Poker is much more difficult than Chess. How do you model human behaviour?

ggrayggray said...

Computers will almost certainly be duds at poker.

While knowing statistics does matter, more important is knowledge of when to and how to bet.

Also despite all the averages being in your favour, you can still lose through complete luck.

Btw, poker is not more difficult to chess. Anyone can win at poker in the short term, unlike chess.

Bradley Loh said...

In chess you play one player. In poker you are taking up about 10 at a time. Poker is harder than chess. If it was all about luck, how do the same 5 guys make the final of the world series year after year.

Poker is more difficult than Chess.

EricOF70 said...

If poker is easier than chess, can you tell me why it takes chess players so much longer to become elite players than it does poker players? There are poker players who only began to play seriously several years ago that now dominate the tournament circuit. The Grinder comes to mind. Can you name a single top level chess player that did it in five years? Such a thing is *IMPOSSIBLE* in chess. What about in ten years? In fifteen? In 20? A rare breed can do it in 20. A true prodigy in fifteen. The best chess players without exception begin to seriously study the game before age ten and the vast majority do not reach grandmaster level until in their 20's on average. Another few years to reach the very top (there are about 1000 grandmasters in the world).

The idea that because a computer can play chess better than poker means chess is easier is utter stupidity. Computers can do differential equations too. Does that mean poker is harder than a career in math? Computers also don't experience emotion. Does that say something about the difficulty of humans to feel emotion? Is it "difficult" to feel emotions? Some effort involved? No, it's just something we have innately that computers do not possess. There are elements of poker that require abilities beyond that of a computer. This says nothing about how "difficult" it is master poker.

The amount of time and effort it becomes to be a world-class chess player dwarfs that required to become a world-class poker player which is easily proven and does indicate that for humans, chess is far more difficult than poker.