Daily 3-Bet: Poker as Crime, Poker as Siren, AI Wrecks Shop

Jason Les plays while Libratus co-creator Tuomas Sandholm looks on. (Photo: CMU)

The PokerListings Daily 3-Bet is a steamy Chinatown laundry, a plush Tribeca loft and just the right handshake to join the afternoon poker news underground.

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Today in the 3-Bet we find a poker 'criminal' making his case, a 55-year-old outsider finding her call and the Libratus AI wrecking shop.

1) "I'm a Class C Felon"

Washington State High School Math Teacher David Shick has a confession to make: He's a 'criminal.' A Class C Felon, in fact.

David Shick (Photo: John Stang)

His crime? Playing online poker.

As we all know online poker is still only legal in three US states: New Jersey, Delaware and Nevada. Pennsylvania and New York may join the fold this year but that's still the sad state of affairs as we start 2017.

In the other 47 states online poker is 'illegal.' You won't to jail for playing it, but it's still technically a 'crime.'

In Washington state it became illegal in 2006 making the thousands of Washingtonians who played online criminals overnight. 

One of those criminals? Math teach Shick, who testified before the Washington Senate Commerce, Labor & Sports Committee this week to both 'confess' his crime of playing poker again in the summer of 2009 and in hopes of moving forward legislation that might change poker's status.

No bill is currently on the table but Shick, who used the data from his 214,000 illegal hands to show he made a profit and says he deserves to get his "second job." back says it's time:

“I’m here to tell you," Shick testified, "first of all, this is absolutely a game of skill. It was absolutely secure, and it was safe.

2) Be Vulnerable and Die

At 55, divorced New York City writer Eileen Sutton says she felt "capricious." Anxious about death. Unhappy in her work.

Eileen Sutton (Photo: Twitter)

Then, by accident, she found Texas Hold'em at a corporate networking event. And she found herself feeling alive again.

We've always contended poker is a thrilling and life-changing hobby that can open doors of perception and joy few others can. Sutton thinks so, too, as she's since discovered after her epiphany playing at underground poker clubs in NYC.

She's written about it in a great new piece for Salon, which you can read here. An excerpt below:

"Like countless 'good girls' of my generation, the message was 'be tiny.' Reduce like a white sauce and privilege masculinity. With few success models, I wasted decades feeling jealous of other lives, my sense of purpose mostly buried alive until 50 years out my passion for poker on New York’s illicit underground scene exploded. The game teased my domination muscle, offering me a radical new identity rooted in the idea of warrior. Across weeks and months, as my poker id became itself, I had to yank myself from the gloomy tar pit of self-sabotage and doubt, rinse off the failure goo, and see myself as heroic. Every hand I played was, in some quiet way, revolutionary."

3) All Hail Our New AI Overlord

By now you now there's an ongoing challenge at the Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh between four talented poker pros and one super-powered AI named Libratus over 120,000 hands of No-Limit Hold'em.

Over the weekend they passed the halfway mark and, at last count, the humans are now down around $800k. That's not good. Even more ominously? The bot is learning as it plays. 

“It’s like a tougher version of us," pro Jimmy Chou says. “The bot gets better and better every day."

It looked for a second last week the Brains were starting to figure the bot out but, well, that clearly hasn't happened. It was fun being in charge of the machines for a while, at least. So let us be the first to extend a hearty welcome to our new AI overlords.

If you're a glutton for human punishment, watch the latest sessions for all four players here.

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