A new software to train poker

Did you know that if you search in Goole for “poker training” there are almost 500,000 results? From online videos to articles, there are all kinds of options. What is missing is variety. Most of the training is in three of the four primary forms of learning, that is, visual, auditory and reading. What is missing is, at least up to now, kinesthetic learning.

Poker Fighter is a poker training software designed by Guy Sela, programmer and developer of the product, and the poker player Stas “Stasia42” Tishkevich, who is the Product Manager. In part simulator and partly game, Poker Fighter uses the latest technology to allow players to play without risk while receiving advice from pros.

“You can play, practice and improve using this unique software that simulates real games,” they say on their website. “The game has been designed to give poker players a better access to both the new and the more experienced players who want to maximize their profits and improve their understanding of the game.”

How does it work

Poker Fighter, which is oriented to play online 0.05 € / 0.10 € and 1 € / 2 € live, is a simulator that takes the user hand by hand to different poker situations. The user has to make a decision and the program will make comments. However, by adding the possibility of winning points, characters and allowing players to choose a rival, Poker Fighter has gamified poker workouts.

“The beginner version teaches optimal play against loose and passive players, who usually pay a lot both before and after the flop,” says Tishkevich. “These types of players tend to limit and rarely do third or fourth bets. After the flop they continue with their passivity, they do not usually raise the projects, they pay more trying to reach the showdown, etc. As a result of this, Poker Fighter teaches a conservative method against the ups and downs and tends to make bets for value with medium hands and semifaro with good projects. This is what the players can learn. “

Keep telling us Tishkevich: “We also have a Pro version that teaches you polarized ranges and take advantage of loose and aggressive players putting pressure with wide ranges. It can be adapted to various types of opponents based on their trends and ranks. “

Origins of Poker Fighter

In 2010, Sela, who was in the Army, had the idea of ​​developing a poker training software. Trying to improve in the game by accessing limited resources, Sela tried to do something new, especially by creating artificial intelligence software that would teach people to play. The idea was simple, develop a software that adapts and offers you information about your decisions.

Meanwhile, Tishkevich was bursting the middle levels thanks to the use of HUD and mathematical rank analysis. In 2013 they met the two and decided to develop Poker Fighter, although at that time the idea was to offer sophisticated software for pros with advanced scenarios and ranges.

Two years later, an alpha version of “Poker Fighter for Pros” came to light, and while they received good reviews of the pros, new and recreational players complained that the scenarios and explanations were very sophisticated. Since the recreationals are the majority of the players, they adapted.

“By simplifying the scenarios and explanations, we created a beta version of Poker Fighter for beginners in early 2016, and received rave reviews from our testers,” says Sela. “We have invested time and money in the aspect of the application and started a local marketing campaign. This month, we hope to increase the campaign to the rest of the world. “

Adventures and misadventures

Developing Poker Fighter has not been easy. One of the biggest challenges has been to take a complex game like poker, analyze every possible situation and translate it into a language that understands a computer.

“We had to program AI algorithms to give the software the skills of a professional poker player, allowing him to make the right decisions according to the strength of the hand, the texture of the table, the most likely hands of the opponent, etc.” says Sela.

While many believe that computers play poker better than humans, Sela and Tishkevich realized that this was not the case and that programs fail to adjust to rivals. In most of them there is only one solution for each hand, which is not always the case. For example, there are different strategies against players who bluff a lot and against players who only bet on value.

Among the decisions that were codified in Poker Fighter are:

  • Relative strength of the preflop and postflop hand based on the actions and positions.
  • Ranks of hands based on actions and positions.
  • Textures of the table and its effect on the ranges and the strategy for Flop, Turn and River.
  • Strategies for common situations: isolation of limpers, pressing with dangerous cards, etc.
  • * Adjustments to different types of opponents (Tight / Loose, Aggressive / Passive)

“Everything that can be expressed in words can be codified,” explains Sela. “Without exceptions. Some concepts are more complicated to program than others, but that is because they are more difficult to explain. Take a video of NL1,000 compared to a NL10 video. The explanations and analysis of the hand and table in NL1,000 are much more complex. The same happens when programming the different levels of thought. It is feasible, but difficult. “

Poker Fighter technology

Unlike other simulators, the hands in Poker Fighter are not predetermined. By not doing so and allowing AI to generate them while you play, Poker Fighter is an infinite game. As there are millions of different scenarios in poker, there is always something you can learn with Poker Fighter.

“We have programmed his brain with enough knowledge of poker to allow him to manage all the scenarios we wanted to teach,” says Sela. “The biggest advantage over other poker software is that it can explain why you recommend doing something. It does not act like a black box that simply says ‘you should have gone up’. Instead, it tells you why you should have done it. “

As they have not programmed it to solve any possible situation, the artificial intelligence of Poker Fighter is not what online players call a bot. For those who do not know, a bot is a computer program that plays without human intervention (like playing chess against the computer).

“The Poker Fighter teaching method divides the game into different scenarios: preflop raises, continuation bets on complicated tables, turn defense on two bet pots, etc.”, continues Sela. “We have optimized the poker brain to handle these scenarios and we have not programmed it for what we do not teach. We have the necessary blocks to convert Poker Fighter into a poker bot if we want. “

Poker Fighter’s “poker brain” is separated from the GTO game to adaptive, which both Sela and Tishkevich say is more profitable against humans.

“The main problem with GTO strategies is that, by definition, it is never an adaptive strategy,” explains Sela. “It never adapts to the opponent’s game. The reason is that if you change your strategy according to what you’ve seen in the opponent, he can adapt and win, changing his strategy before you adapt to him. “

The problem is that poker is a game between people, with which there is a human element. Poker Fighter takes it into account.

“Applying an adaptive strategy against humans, even if it is theoretically exploitable, is the most profitable thing in most poker tables,” continues Sela. “We let game theorists continue to search for their unexploitable strategy in their ivory towers, while we apply ours in the casino.”