Playing like a robot? Some thoughts and a roadmap.

    • c4t0r
      Joined: 10.07.2007 Posts: 60
      I have read many posts (especially about SSS) where people complain about being told to play like a robot, being predictable therefore, etc.

      Since i am quite new to poker I am unsure what to make of that. I see the point in the whole predictability argument, however it feels strange for me to read those opinions: Actually what I am trying to do at the moment is to play like a robot, or in other words to program myself. As a simplified model i compare myself to a machine/computer/robot, and I try to elaborate a merely fixed set of rules about which action is to take. In my opinion it may be a good way especially for new players like me to improver my overall play: The whole point behind it is that i actually try to suppress emotions (its emotions that make be do bad calls, stupid raises, or fold because i am afraid).

      However i would say that it really depends on how good the "program" that my brains runs is, so i view the whole process very much like the developement process of a computerprogram. Developing a program always involves the same steps:

      1.) Get a running/working prototype (= become a winning player):

      That means the program should perform its tasks, maybe not in the optimal way at first (optimizations come later, first eliminate any bugs). simplicity is good during that phase. It's got to be slim and easy to debug. Applied to poker that would mean: Get a (simple) strategy to work, be sure that I always play according to it, and be sure that i stick to it. And obviously be sure that the ideas behind my strategy are reasonable - Details come later. SSS, and also the SHC v1.1 seem to be a good starting point, the fact that it seems to be quite mechanical is a plus therefore in my opinion. Personally i would consider myself still being in that first phase of developement.

      2.) Algorithmic improvements (= become a strong player):

      Once the basic program (= my playing style) works as expected its possible to improve its algorithms: Adding procedures for special cases (for example: "if(he's very loose) then (do some apropriate action)" ). A program can grow very complex, that's why the predictability argument is a weak one in my opinion. It would be very important during this phase of developement to only work on one piece of the program and not on all of it at the same time (= focus on specific aspects of my game, and not trashing all of my strategy). Elsewise the program (that whas basically working well) might get broke very fast. Translated to poker it is what would make the difference between a winning player and a strong player: have a wider range of possible moves and know when and how to do them correctly.

      3.) Fine-tuning and optimization

      This is the last step. A lot of time and effort will go into this, but its all about tiny details now. Also, this phase of developement will never end: It is always possible to improove. However it would be a complete waste of time to fine-tune a program that is not working well already.

      I am aware that the theories which I layed out here are quite provocative and will not be aprooved upon by many of you since after all we're humans and not machines. In my opnion though thats precisely our weakness when playing poker (its what causes us to tilt, get angry, and play suboptimal). What do others think of this approach?
  • 1 reply
    • Puschkin81
      Joined: 14.04.2006 Posts: 4,786
      Hi c4t0r!

      I like your approach. You described the typical poker career in detail. At the beginning you have to set some rules (=learn some strategies) to get the system running (=win in poker). After this first step the successful poker player keeps working on his game and tries to improve it with every single hand he is playing. Otherwise he will not be able to win on the higher limits.
      I really like that you underline the fact of always working on the system (=game) and to improve it. That's one of the most important things in poker!

      Good luck at the tables!