Weekly Poker Roundup: November 19, 2017

Anti-Online Poker Rep. Bob Goodlatte Retiring from Congress

Virginia Congressman Bob Goodlatte, one of the co-authors of the infamous Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 (UIGEA), announced that he will not seek re-election in next year’s mid-term elections. The UIGEA did not explicitly ban online poker, but it effectively did, as it made financial transactions between banks and offshore online poker rooms illegal.

Most online poker rooms and networks left the U.S. market after the UIGEA went into effect, but those who stayed, namely PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, Absolute Poker, and UltimateBet, gained dominance in the industry. That, of course, all ended on Black Friday in 2011. The UIGEA’s passage is usually used as the milestone date for “bad actor” clauses in state gambling bills.

In a press release, Goodlatte wrote, in part,

“….I’ve been proud to work on policies that have become law and advance fiscal conservatism, personal liberty, economic growth, and limited government.”

Never mind that the UIGEA ran counter to most of that.

Super Poker Bot Libratus Wins Prestigious Computing Industry Award

Libratus, the artificial intelligence that has owned teams of poker players twice this year, was bestowed with the HPCwire Readers’ Choice Award at the Supercomputing Conference this past week. HPCwire is

“the leading publication for news and information for the high performance computing industry.”

Tom Tabor, CEO of Tabor Communications, which published HPCwire, explained,

“HPCwire’s readership is broadly diversified; it includes industry leaders from the private sector, innovators in academia, and end users that are bringing HPC to the enterprise. Being selected to win either a Readers’ or Editors’ Choice Award is no small feat.”

Libratus was designed by Carnegie Mellon professor of computer science Tuomas Sandholm and Ph. D. student Noam Brown. It runs on the $9.65 million “Bridges” supercomputer at the Pittsburgh Computing Center.

In January, Libratus beat a team of four poker pros over the course of 120,000 total hands to the tune of 147 milli-big blinds per hand ($14.70 per hand with a big blind of $100). Put another way, with starting stacks of $20,000 (play money) which were reset after every hand, Libratus won $1,766,250 from the four players.

In April, Libratus beat a team of six players in China at the rate of 220 milli-big blinds per hand.

Maxime Heroux Wins WPT Montreal

Maxime Heroux won the World Poker Tour (WPT) Main Event this past week, marking his first ever WPT title. For coming out on top of the 606 entry field (I would say “player” instead of “entry,” but it was a re-entry event, so there were more entries than players), Heroux won CAD $403,570.

Heroux began the six-handed final table second in chips with 5.345 million, behind only Pat Quinn, who had 6.415 million. The two stayed as the top stacks through much of the final table, going back and forth with the lead, until play got to three-handed. Quinn slipped during three-handed and looked like he may be on his way out, but Heroux suddenly knocked out Derek Wolters, who himself was making a run at the pole position, to send the match to heads-up.

That was good news and bad news for Quinn. The good news was he was now guaranteed second place money. The bad news was that he was in a huge hole, facing a 14.6 million to 3.575 million chip deficit. It wasn’t much of a contest from there, as Heroux dominated the rest of the way. On the final hand, with the board showing 6d-5d-4c, Quinn moved all-in with 9d-7s and Heroux made the call with 2d-4d. Quinn had a lot of outs, but unfortunately for him, the next two cards were Deuces, giving Heroux a full house and the WPT Montreal title.

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