Man vs Machine – Live Blog

Day 2 - Live Updates!

Sam Fakhreddine is at the AAAI conference providing live coverage of the Laak - Eslami vs Polaris event.

The two teams fought to a tie in the opening session of the match. Polaris walked away with the win in the second session on day one, but team Laak/Eslami came back with a win in session 3. So we're now tied overall and it all comes down to Session 4!
View Session 3 Blog

Session 4 - Humans Win!

Ali Eslami: +$460
Polaris: -$460
(500 of 500 hands played)

Phil Laak: +$110
Polaris: -$110
(500 of 500 hands played)

July 24th - 11:21 PM PST

Results are in and Phil Laak hung in there to edge out Polaris by $110. Session 2 goes to the humans by $570. Phil and Ali are very humbled by the win saying the bots played amazingly well and forced them to play as cold and calculated as the bots. Ali Eslami "I would not wish this on anybody". It was indeed a grueling couple of days for these players and a huge thank you goes out to them for their participation. Both players treated us to a great display of talent and intelligence. A equally big congratulations goes out to the UofA team who had an amazing showing as Polaris put up a valiant stand against a couple of the top poker minds in the world.

Graph Powered by Poker Academy Prospector

July 24th - 11:09 PM PST

Darse Billings is predicting a win for the humans. Watching the play of Ali and knowing the ins and outs of the bot it seems he would know better then anyone. We wait for the official results from Phil Laak's match though.

July 24th - 11:09 PM PST

Ali +$460 (500 hands played)
Final Hand: Ali is dealt 7s Jd and raises. With the board showing 3s 2h Ac Ali bets and Polaris folds. Ali takes the session +$460.

July 24th - 11:08 PM PST

Ali +$470 (492 hands played)
The crowd is getting antsy, including Ali's girlfriend Ana seated beside me who has started tapping her foot. Phil's match must be complete by now, so we should have the results very soon!

July 24th - 11:03 PM PST

Ali +$540 (467 hands played)
Ali has really tightened up his play with the end of the match drawing near. Ali has mentioned that seeing some of Polaris' cards has him concerned about his teammate Phil's fate. Ali will do his best to offset the cold side of the deck Laak might be receiving. We'll know soon if he's done enough!

July 24th - 10:55 PM PST

Ali +$755 (448 hands played)
The hotel needs us out of the room soon but Ali continues along at his furious pace. We will not go until we are done though .... for science.

July 24th - 10:45 PM PST

Ali +$725 (419 hands played)
Ali has really picked up the pace now while continuing his solid play. As I write this Ali just cracked Polaris' pocket Aces using his 89o to come out on top with a Jack high straight.

July 24th - 10:39 PM PST

Ali +$615 (402 hands played)
Well keeping track of every card on this hand didn't quite happen. Pace was too furious for my poor typing fingers. Polaris made his flush and got paid off in a big way up against Ali's pocket 4's.

July 24th - 10:29 PM PST

Ali +$665 (362 hands played)
Hand 362 has a 3 diamonds on the board at the turn. Ali has hit a set of 5's. A 10s comes up on the river. Ali comes out betting only to be re-raised by Polaris. Ali knows he's dead in the water but feels he can't fold his set and calls. Polaris shows his King high flush and takes down the $300 pot.

July 24th - 10:18 PM PST

Ali +$755 (350 hands played)
I must say, I'm sitting here watching the action, taking pictures and just soaking up Ali's poker knowledge and I'm exhausted. The AC in the building has been turned off for some reason, perhaps trying to sweat us out, or perhaps it's Polaris generating an amazing amount of heat. Who knows, but my point is, it's quite something to watch Ali remain so focused throughout the entire session. His analysis throughout the session has been very delibrate and impressive.

Anyways, with that said, Polaris seems to be showing signs of life recently taking down some nice pots and cutting into Ali's lead.

July 24th - 10:04 PM PST

A quick shot of the action as seen by the audience.

July 24th - 10:02 PM PST

Ali +$550 (299 hands played)
Hand 297 finds Ali flopping a flush. He holds Qs 4s with the board showing 3s 10s 9s. He pauses trying to figure a way to maximize the size of the pot. Ali's check raise is called by Polaris. Ali bets after an ace hits the turn. Polaris folds thinking "At least Ali doesn't yell at me like Mr.Laak did".

July 24th - 9:51 PM PST

Ali +$345 (267 hands played)
Play has resumed with Ali picking up a few small pots. Pocket Jacks (Js Jc) now for Ali, who comes out re-raising Polaris. Hits a Jack on the flop and the board now showing 2s 3h Jd. Ali's bet is called by Polaris. Ali decides to check saying the board is too disjointed. Polaris bets, and Ali puts him on a bluff immediately and calls. As on the river and Ali again checks to Polaris who bets. Ali re-raises and Polaris calls and loses with Kd 7d to Ali's set.

July 24th - 9:45 PM PST

Ali Eslami is taking some time during the break to do a little Q&A with the audience and press. He explained that during his huddle with Phil Laak they discussed how they learned from the bot as opposed to learning to play the bot. For exmple he explained that he used to play 3-5 4-5 type low hands to bluff and represent big hands. He's taken this out of his strategy saying 'if the bot was near equilibrium then he would take the math they had done on it and use it for himself'. He also added that he's playing K low card a lot harder then he typically would as he's sensing Polaris has a slight vulnerability to it. Lots of interesting dialogue from Ali throughout the match.

Time for my shameless plug of the night. Laak and Eslami used Poker Academy's new poker analysis software, Poker Academy Prospector, to interpret the data from their first three sessions. We'll be releasing all the hand histories from this event after the competition for you to browse, replay and analyze in Prospector.

July 24th - 9:28 PM PST

Ali +$105 (250 hands played)
Halfway point of the match. The cards seem to have balanced out after an initial surge by Polaris making for a very even final session. Ali has regained the lead in the match as we take a short break.

July 24th - 9:15 PM PST

Approaching the mid way point of the final session, Darse Billings (right), one of the masterminds behind Polaris, is seen discussing the play with local poker pro, Terence Chan (left).

July 24th - 9:11 PM PST

Ali -$100 (222 hands played)
Ali picks up pockets Kings (Kh Kc). Polaris raises and Ali's quick to re-raise preflop. Polaris calls and the Flop comes 3h Jc 5h. Ali's bet is called by Polaris. Turn comes 3c. Again the play is bet and call. 6d comes on the river and again Polaris calls Ali's bet. Ali picks up the $80 pot as Polaris shows 4h 5d.

July 24th - 9:05 PM PST

Ali -$175 (208 hands played)
Ali offers some advice for the audience while staring down a possible straight in hand 208. He says at this point in the flop heads up, you worry more about maximizing the pot then you do about possible straights or other draws. Ali picks up the pot as he continues to exploit the aggressive play of Polaris.

July 24th - 8:57 PM PST

Ali -$375 (194 hands played)
Ali picks up Jc Kh and caps the betting preflop. Board hits Ali hard with Jc 7c Jh 2d 3d. Ali caps the bet on the river and takes down a big pot as Polaris shows Ah 9s. Polaris' lead is getting cut down quickly at this point.

July 24th - 8:54 PM PST

Ali -$525 (191 hands played)
With a raise preflop Ali has flopped a straight holding 6d 7c with 9h 5h 8d on the board. Concerned about the heart he raises and turn comes 10s. Ali no longer has the nuts. Now worried about queen jack the river comes 8s. Polaris calls his bet and shows two pair. Ali picks up the pot with a 10 high straight.

July 24th - 8:48 PM PST

Ali -$640 (182 hands played)
Ali's looking at 4d 6c. With a raise preflop the board comes 6d 4h 8c giving Ali two pair. Ali throws out a raise but Polaris doesn't bite and folds. Ali has cut into Polaris' lead slightly though.

July 24th - 8:39 PM PST

I mentioned the UofA group earlier. Here they are posing with Phil Laak and Ali Eslami before the final session tonight.

July 24th - 8:35 PM PST

Ali -$820 (165 hands played)
Ali has gone completely card dead unable to pick up anything worthwhile. It will be interesting to see how Polaris in the duplicate match against Laak is holding up.

July 24th - 8:29 PM PST

Ali -$735 (155 hands played)
Ali holds 4h 10h with the flop coming 7c Ks 3d after Polaris called Ali's preflop raise. Ali figures Polaris will bluff, and so he starts the bluffing first. He bets after Polaris' check and Polaris re-raises. Ali goes with it, and the turn comes 5d. Ali bets, but Polaris just calls this time. River comes 2s and Polaris checks on the river. Ali knows Polaris has hit as the pot is $140 and figures Polaris wouldn't get this deep with a bluff. He pauses here before checking. Polaris flips over A2 and wins with a pair of deuces.

July 24th - 7:59 PM PST

Ali -$275 (100 hands played)
I'm really starting to like this guy. When asked if he would play simalarily against Phil, Ali responded "No, I would crush him". He went on to explain that he is an aggressive player whereas Phil is a trapping player, so the game would be very different.

July 24th - 7:59 PM PST

Ali just made an interesting comment saying his game at this point is "... all about manipulating the pot size".

July 24th - 7:55 PM PST

Ali +$55 (79 hands played)
Ali is talking about how much he's looking forward to getting back to playing 'normal schlubs - humans that cannot play' again! "The bot is exhausting me". Was that a smirk I saw on the faces of the UofA team's face? "We just came off the world series of poker and after 2 months this is not a wind down." continues Eslami. Well now the UofA team is just beaming with pride and a hint of evil eye.

July 24th - 7:48 PM PST

Ali -$40 (72 hands played)
Pocket Aces for Ali. Betting is capped preflop with Ali in the small blind. Ad Jc 9c hit the board. Polaris check to Ali who raises. Polaris calls the turn comes 3h. Same betting occurs with Polaris checking, Ali betting and Polaris calling. River comes 2d. Polaris check but this time folds to Ali's bet. Just like that Polaris' lead is down to $40. It'll be interesting to see what Polaris was holding there. We'll look that up after the match.

July 24th - 7:45 PM PST

Ali -$190 (59 hands played)
Ali holds Jc 8s with the board showing Kh 2d 5h and Polaris and after calling Ali's preflop raise Polaris is re-raised by Ali after the flop. Polaris calls and the turn comes As the turn comes 4h. Ali is excited, as he feels Polaris will bet into the flush draw, Ali bets but Polaris just calls. 7s comes on the river. Ali explains he's going to go through with it and bets to keep the bluff going. Polaris calls and shows Ace high to Ali's Jack high. Ali goes on to explain to the audience that that play only has to pay off 1 in 5 times to make it a good play.

July 24th - 7:38 PM PST

Ali receives yet another round of applause from the audience as he correctly puts Polaris on a King high bluff twice in the first 50 hands. So far I'm very impressed with Ali's play and thoughtful analysis of play.

July 24th - 7:33 PM PST

Ali +$105 (40 hands played)
Eslami has bluffed his way into a few small pot victories as regains the lead over Polaris.

July 24th - 7:27 PM PST

Ali -$20 (30 hands played)
Ali Eslami looks down at Jc 10d and re-raises Polaris. Polaris calls. Flop comes Ac 3h Jh and Ali comes out betting to which Polaris just calls again. 4d hits the turn and this time Ali's bet gets Polaris off his hand. Ali wins the hand.

July 24th - 7:18 PM PST

Ali +$35 (12 hands played)
Ali notes after 12 hands that Polaris is playing more conservatively.

July 24th - 7:11 PM PST

Ali +$70 (1 hand played)
First hand has hit the 'electronic' felt. Ali Eslami looks down at 9s 5c. Both players choose to see the flop with Ali calling Polaris' raise. Flop comes Jd Ac 9c and Ali checks to Polaris who bets and is called by Ali. Turn comes 9d and Polaris calls Ali's bet. River comes 2c and again Polaris calls Ali's bet. Polaris shows Jc 10s and Ali takes down the first pot ($140) with trip 9's.

July 24th - 7:05 PM PST

We're just about ready to get going here. Phil Laak will be playing in seclution upstairs in a hotel room here at the Regency Hyatt while Ali Eslami will be playing here live in the conference center. Both players stated they had to huddle together and figure things out as this bot is, in typical Laak lingo, "totally sick and twisted". Both players also noted this is the first time either of them had ever been in this type of event.

July 24th - 6:35PM PST

Turns out the reason why the session is late starting is that the players were swamped with media attention after the early session. It's very cool to see this event getting some well deserved press!

July 24th - 6:00 PM PST

The match is running a little behind schedule getting started as the players are eating dinner! Perhaps it's pointing out the obvious and I'm not trying to take sides, but interestingly, Polaris doesn't need to eat. ;) I'm getting word now the match will get under way in 30 minutes to an hour.

July 24th - 5:50 PM PST

The room is filling up once again as we get set for the final session of the Man Vs Machine, Laak - Eslami vs Polaris match. See my blog from this afternoon's match. The earlier session today saw Laak & Eslami square the match with each team having one win, one loss and one tie. All the makings for a great finale to the $50,000 Man vs Machine match!