I’ve had poker on my mind since last Thanksgiving, specifically Texas Hold’em. At this point, I have special hold’em software, four poker strategy books and one nonfiction book about poker. I mostly study the books and play a bit with the software, but eventually I want to start a real-money account on one of the online poker sites. I feel that if I apply what’s in the books, then I can win money, which would be a very fun goal to shoot for. Of course, to avoid having a gambling problem I have to tread very carefully and lower my expectations within reason for the early stages. I have been procrastinating setting up a new checking account for my poker money both because I truly hesitate to take this step, and because I don’t feel I’m good enough yet.

The poker sites all offer games with pretend money, but the problem there is the opponents are so crazy and bad that you can hardly apply any real strategy. The poker software offers a good challenge, but it’s almost to the other extreme – it’s designed to provide challenging opponents. This is a good thing, but the kind of opponents I’m aiming to win money from are inbetween: they’re better than lunatics, but they won’t play like a typical strong opponent. They’ll play too many hands and go too far with them. If I can tune my poker software to simulate this, maybe I can grow more confident and eventually open that bank account. I’m sure my friends and family will all be equally horrified by this (my wife doesn’t like to discuss it with me), but I still feel like it’s something I should try.

Machine Learning Engineer

I am a software engineer and mathematician. I work on NLP algorithms for Apple News, and research homotopy type theory in CMU’s philosophy department.