Your Most Dangerous Opponent At The Poker Table Isn’t A Person. It’s AI

Written By JR Duren on January 31, 2022 - Last Updated on May 27, 2022
A new AI program trains poker players to be unbeatable

You settle into a seat at a Texas Hold’Em table at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. You look around the table to size up the competition.

A couple of weekenders. A guy attending a convention. A woman from a bachelorette party. And one local pro you’ve seen before.

Yet the local pro isn’t your biggest worry. It’s the AI program she’s been practicing with at home that’s made her virtually unstoppable for the past year.

And while expected value, position, and other metrics have long been a part of betting decisions, it’s the sheer power of computing that’s fed Texas Hold’em mavens’ pursuit of consistent, perfect play.

PioSOLVER leads the way

A recent article from New York Times Magazine highlighted the emergence of “solvers,” or AI programs that help players decipher the right play at the right time.

Among the bits of history in the article, one name stood out: PioSOLVER, written by Polish computer programmer Piotrek Lopusiewicz.  His program was the outworking of game theory explored by economist Oskar Morgenstern and mathematician John von Neumann.

Reporter Keith Romer wrote:

“For $249, players could download a program that approximated the solutions for the far more complicated no-limit version of the game. As of 2015, a practical actualization of John von Neumann’s mathematical proof was available to anyone with a powerful enough personal computer.”

The theory behind PioSOLVER and other “game theory optimal” (GTO) strategies are simple and hearken back to von Neumann’s research. If you make the right bets at the right time (including bluffs and checking), your worst outcome over time is breaking even.

And the kicker: Your opponent, over time, won’t be able to beat you. Unless they play the same perfect strategy you do.

In practical terms, the betting and checking that AI recommends can lead to strange bets. So strange that poker legend Erik Seidel told Romer that poker players in the olden days would’ve seen the moves as the stuff of amateurs.

Seidel went on to say:

“If people saw them back in the day, I think that they’d be invited into the game every night”

The leading options to sharpen your poker skills

The GTO world is vast and provides platforms for master GTO strategies, equity calculators, and poker trackers. Each type of software has its advantages and disadvantages.

In terms of popularity in poker circles, the GTO solvers that pop up the most are:

  • PioSOLVER 2 (released this past year)
  • Simple Postflop
  • MonkerSolver
  • GTO+

Prices range from $75 for GTO+ to more than $1,000 for PioSOLVER 2. Most GTO solvers offer pricing tiers that provide varying levels of data.

For example, Simple Postflop is $299 and provides no preflop or flop calculations. But an upgrade to the $1,499 version gives you three calculations in order. And an average three (a hand’s various outcomes) of six points.

Solvers take time to understand

One of the main drawbacks of using GTO solvers is the complexity.

There’s a steep learning curve; you can’t just download the platform and become an expert in a few hours. A solver is a long-term investment; work with it every day.

February Florida poker promotions

Before you test your skills against AI with your money, you can play poker for free in a social poker room in Florida. Otherwise, if you’re feeling confident in your game here are some local poker promos.

Seminole Hard Rock Tampa has a variety of poker promotions going next month, including high-hand bonuses ranging from $1,000 every 90 minutes to $5,000 every three hours.

Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood is running high-hand bonuses in February, with prizes ranging from up to $1,000 every 20 minutes to $777 every 30 minutes.

Bestbet Jacksonville is offering high-hand promos ranging from $100 to $1,000.

Photo by Syda Productions / Shutterstock
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JR Duren

J.R. Duren has covered the gambling beats for more than a dozen states for Catena Media since 2015. His past reporting experience includes two years at the Villages Daily Sun, and he is a first-place winner at the Florida Press Club Excellence in Journalism Contest.

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