Improving Your Poker Skills Against Artificial Intelligence

Date: 2011-11-01
Author: David Huber

Thanks to new methods introduced by poker training sites like Advanced Poker Training, online players now have the ability to improve their skills and identify weaknesses through AI competition.  The format has sparked a wide range of feedback from APT customers and those interested in this form of training, which was discussed in a recent PokerSoftware forum thread.

We caught up with Advanced Poker Training founder Allen Blay and asked him to give his thoughts on how AI poker training is revolutionizing the way players from around the world hone their individual skills.

PokerSoftware: How does AI training vary from the traditional forms of poker training?

Allen Blay: Historically, poker players have improved by actually playing poker.  Most methods of training involve the use of videos, which does not give players the practice they need to improve.

Videos are great and are certainly a valuable training method.  But, as you move up levels in real money games, it costs you a lot of money before you get good enough to play at that level. In a sense, you are paying for training against better opponents. By playing against AI bots, you get to practice against intelligent opponents without risking your own money.

Another huge benefit is that you can play more hands than you could in a real money game, so you can improve very quickly.  The Advanced Poker Training game is fast enough that some players play over 250 hands per hour.

PokerSoftware: Do you believe training against poker bots is superior to training against human competition?

Allen Blay: Yes. A well-designed AI bot can actually give you better practice than a human opponent because unlike humans, AI bots have perfect memory, can keep a database of your actions, and then try to exploit them. A human opponent only has access to a limited set of your actions even with a PokerTracker or Holdem Manager database. The AI bots at Advanced Poker Training know everything that you have done and learn to beat you.

PokerSoftware: How specific can an online poker player be when working on certain situations against artificial intelligence opponents?

Allen Blay: At least with the Advanced Poker Training bots, you can easily identify your weaknesses and practice just those specific hands.  For example, if you know from your real money database that you lose money with A-Q or from early position, you can easily select just that hand or that position and play it repeatedly.

That's something you can't do with real money, and no matter how many training videos you may watch, nothing beats practice.  Many studies have shown that repeated practice is the single best way to learn something.

PokerSoftware: Are there situations where more complete information can be obtained in a controlled environment compared to traditional training?

Allen Blay: One of my favorite features of Advanced Poker Training is that you can save and replay hands or sessions.  During this, you have the ability to see the cards that your opponents were playing.  In real money poker, you typically cannot see very many of your opponents' cards.  This hinders your ability to learn from your mistakes and improve your ability to read your opponents based on their play.

By saving hands, you can see where you misread your opponent.  You also have the ability to get feedback on how the AI bots would have played the same hand.  Advanced Poker Training has several different types of bots that give "advice" on how they would have played it, and not all of these bots are exceptional players.

For example, the ones described as loose-aggressive are often overly loose.  Others, like the tight-aggressive bots, are exceptional players.  From this, you can learn more about how different types of players might play different hands.

PokerSoftware: What are some other ways that players can incorporate AI training into their other methods of self-improvement?

Allen Blay: A good program using AI Bots, like Advanced Poker Training, will give you the ability to share saved hands and sessions with others.  We allow our players to share their hands to almost any medium, whether it's a forum, e-mail, or even Facebook.  This can be tremendously beneficial because you can save sessions to use with a live coach.  You can also very easily do a more cost-effective live lesson with a coach because you can play more hands against AI bots than you can against live opponents.

PokerSoftware: Do you believe AI training should be the only way a player seeks to improve his or her skills at the tables?

Allen Blay: I don't believe that AI bots should be used as the only method of training - live coaches and videos certainly have benefits that you can't get from an AI bot.  However, I think AI bots can benefit players of any level and they should be a part of all players' training regimens.

I am fully confident that there is not another set of training bots that can play better than the ones at Advanced Poker Training.  In fact, because of their ability to learn, the more you play against them, the tougher they become.  So, they improve along with your game. We feel so confident in the value of our program that we have a double-your-money-back program for people who fully try it out and don't think that they improved.

Check out our Advanced Poker Training review today.

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