Tom Braband (titantom32) Talks Advanced Poker Training

Date: 2013-12-24
Author: Jason Glatzer

PokerSoftware sat down with Tom "titantom32" Braband to talk about his involvement with Advanced Poker Training, a unique hands-on training site that relies on artificial intelligence to teach poker players instead of training videos like many trainings sites utilize. Braband has almost $3 million in total online tournament cashes according to PocketFives and is very experienced at coaching players.

PokerSoftware: When did you get involved with Advanced Poker Training?

Tom Braband: Steve Blay initially contacted me about the potential to work with his site a couple of weeks following this year's WSOP.

PokerSoftware: Why did you choose APT over other training sites?

Tom Braband: I chose to work with APT because I think their software offers expansion to other learning techniques that most training sites don't. We are continuing to appeal more to the younger online generation, but the software has a fundamental value in learning that you can't get anywhere else

PokerSoftware: How are you involved with the site?

Tom Braband: I just released the first "Beat the Pro" videos where members can play a specific starting hand or situation many times and then watch a replay of me playing those exact same situations with my commentary included.

I am also sharing new ideas to help attract a younger brand of poker players. I am helping with some of the details of the bots themselves and the AI that goes along with that. I am also modifying or adding features in other areas of the site.

PokerSoftware: How does the AI keep up with different styles of play that we see today?

Tom Braband: That is one of the things I am working on with Steve: to improve some of the bots' styles of play to incorporate more of the bet sizing and betting patterns that you see in current high-stakes tournaments.

PokerSoftware: Can you tell us more about the Beat the Pro series?

Tom Braband: The Beat the Pro series is a really unique learning experience where a member can play a specific set of starting hands or scenarios, analyze their results using APT's software, and then watch a replay of myself or one of the other pros on the site playing the exact same scenarios in order to compare how we played the same hands in real-time and listen to us explain why we chose to play the hand in that fashion.

PokerSoftware: In your opinion, is Advanced Poker Training's use of artificial intelligence a better learning tool than a poker training site that shows videos?

Tom Braband: Poker, to me, is a game of situations and thinking on the fly when you encounter those situations. A person can learn by observation (through videos), but it may not always be the most effective or efficient training tool. While I earned my degree in psychology, I found out that not everyone learns most effectively in the same way. Some people learn best from observation, others need "hands-on" coaching, and others need to "do it themselves."

I originally read books and watched training videos in order to improve. Because I had so much to learn, I found that my knowledge and skill improved quite rapidly. Eventually, though, it became difficult to learn from videos and books. It was either because much of the material was repetitive and so I had a hard time keeping my interest level and focus at a peak or because I found it difficult to apply some of the material against the players and situations that I was in.

I know that many of my peers struggle with applying the material from videos in the wrong situations or against the wrong types of players. Poker is a game of incomplete information and it's also a game of detail. That's a really tough concept to wrap your head around sometimes.

One minor detail could be different in a situation you face compared to one you saw in a video that could throw off the entire hand and learning process. For example, if you saw some incredible, well thought-out bluff from a high-stakes pro in a training video and try to apply it versus a big fish in your local home game who's a calling station, you might fail miserably. That is an extreme example, but these kinds of things happen all the time.

The APT software allows members to jump right into these situations and get feedback on specific leaks or spots they struggle with individually. Of course, hands-on coaching is crucial to learning as well and APT offers that too.

Another benefit to the APT software is that one of the reasons that the online generation has been so successful at poker is because we have put in so many more hands in a very condensed time frame as opposed to players who play primarily live. Playing against APT's AI software is even quicker than playing against other human players, even online. In addition, our software will be able to target specific scenarios or hands that are a member's greatest weakness. Members can accumulate an amazing amount of volume in those target scenarios, which creates an extremely rapid learning rate.

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