Monday, October 20, 2008

Beat iPhone hold 'em

So that picture is what you get when you win the Dubai tournament. It's the same as the "winner" screen for all the other tournaments except for the prize amount. I've done this a few times now. It's really not too much trouble to beat the bots in the iPhone poker program. They don't really change any as you progress upwards through the tournaments.

I play with the phone in the landscape mode. In this mode, you can't watch the video of them to look for their "tells," but I find I can't easily follow the position very well with the portrait view. And position and relative stack size are more important anyway.

The biggest weakness of the bots is that they don't have any internal concept of being pot committed or of fold equity. They're quite content to bluff 75% of their stack and then fold to the re-raise. This makes the ideal strategy against them to be one of always raising and never calling. They will call you all-in with crap draws that would normally be very -EV plays (particularly in tournament play). Yes, occasionally those will suck out, but most of the time they won't. And once you cash, simply either fold or go all-in on every hand pre-flop (which alternative will obviously depend on the relative stack sizes in question and, of course, your cards).

Of course, all of this is sort of poker masturbation. In general, it's a bad idea to play against bots - particularly bad ones. The risk is that you'll pick up habits against the bots that don't work against real players (particularly good ones). But in this case, the ideal strategy isn't tremendously different from normal SnG strategy. You just need to crank the aggression factor up much, much higher than you normally would.

The payouts for the "two table" tournaments (that is, everything above the "Cruise Ship") have payouts that would be reasonably correct if they were actually 3 table shoot-outs, meaning that they take the top 3 finishers from 3 tables and sit them down at the final table (which means you actually had 27 opponents in the prize pool). I've never come across any real tournaments that do that (most shootouts take the 9 first place finishers from 9 single table tournaments and have them play a final table). The payouts for the single table tournaments (Cruise Ship and below) pay out at a much higher rate than they should (obviously the Garage game, being a free-roll, pays out fixed prizes simply as a bootstrap). Thus the ideal bankroll strategy is to play only up to Cruise Ship for as long as you can to build your bank. Then skip upwards only once you've got a lot of (fake) money. Once you have a couple hundred grand you can take a couple shots at Dubai and if one of them hits, you'll have plenty of bank to repeat and build from there.

1 comment:

Tony Leone said...

Thats funny I found this blog. On 10/26/08 (dont ask how i remember) I beat the dubai tourney.

Its funny reading your entire entry here because everything you said is exactly everything I learned from playing this game as well.

Accurate post, very well said.