The First Man-Machine
Poker Championship

Live Updates Blog

Note: The information on this page may be incomplete or contain errors. My apologies for any misquotes or incorrect hand history information.

Session One - A Draw!

$10/$20 Limit Texas Hold'em Seat 1 Seat 2
Private Room Polaris +$465 Phil Laak -$465
Public Room Ali Eslami +$395 Polaris -$395
After 497* hands.

Note: 3 hands were thrown out of the duplicate match due to technical difficulties.

04:13 pm The bankroll graphs for the two players are posted here. Note that if the match would've ended halway through the match the bots would have won!!

03:36 pm Phil says he felt that he was getting punched down. He said he got knocked down to -$1500. But he clawed his way back to -$465. So the human team won by $70 -- 7 small bets which means the first match is a draw!
Edit: I apologize, I had the result wrong. Polaris won by 7 bets. In order to be an official win and not a draw, Polaris needed to win by $250 or 25 small bets.

03:31 pm We're still waiting. Ali decided to excuse himself so though Phil is down here, no one knows the result yet!

03:29 pm Ali's bankroll after 500 hands: $395. Final sequence. Ali picks up a couple of big hands including pocket aces and pocket kings. The kings flop a set, but he gets no action. Later on, Ali flops top pair with ATs, but loses to Polaris' flush. Final sequence. Ali picks up a couple of big hands including pocket aces and pocket kings. The kings flop a set, but he gets no action. Later on, Ali flops top pair with ATs, but loses to Polaris' flush later on when Polaris shows him top pair of aces, to beat his pocket fours. Polaris had played it slow. Polaris won the last hand. Now we're waiting for Phil and the group in the hotel room to come down and announce the result

03:22 Ali's bankroll after 475 hands: +$420. Early in this sequence Ali flops trip 9s, but loses to Polaris' trip nines with a bigger kicker. Ali says his only solace is that that hand would go better upstairs. Later on, Ali makes a full house and gets a bunch of action. Polaris folded to the third bet on the turn though. Later, the board showed four tens coming from the flop forward. Ali tried to raise him off the hand, but Polaris called and showed the exact same hand!

Polaris shows the same K2 hand with quad tens on board.

03:13 Ali's bankroll after 450 hands: -$10. Just 50 hands to go! A little bit of chippy play has gone Ali's way partway through the sequence. Late in the sequence Ali tried to make a check-raise bluff against Polaris thinking that it might fold like an earlier hand. Instead, he ran into a Polaris' pair of queens and had to call down because he hit a pair of sevens on the turn. Later, Ali decided to play a 92 and hit two pair and a full house on the river. He remarked that he might've folded that but got lucky that he decided to play it.

03:06 pm Ali's bankroll after 425 hands: +$25. On hand 403, the board shows all diamonds and Ali calls Polaris' river bet playing just the board. Polaris showed a jack of diamonds to take down the pot. Polaris seems to be making Ali make some tough choices in this sequence. Ali has layed down some bigger hands due to Polaris' aggression. We aren't getting to see polaris' hands though so no one knows if it had it or not leader of this match has switched at least 5 times over this sequence.

02:59 pm Ali's bankroll after 400 hands: +$280. I've been trying to get caught up with the photos, so I've missed most of the last sequence. Ali did say he's made an adjustment to the bot's play. He's remarked a few times that he thinks the bot is learning from his play. Ali's adjustment seems to have worked, but it could also just be the cards. We won't know until we hear about Phil's score!

02:52 pm Ali's bankroll after 375 hands: -$70. Midway through this sequence, Ali had made a straight, but only called Polaris' bets. Polaris had the higher straight than him, so Ali really played that well. Polaris has made a bit of a comeback to regain the lead.

Polaris makes a bigger straight than Ali.

02:46 Ali's bankroll after 350 hands: +$135. On hand 327, Ali flops bottom two pair and tries to trap Polaris into getting more bets in the pot. Oddly enough, Polaris had the same 93 hand for the split! Ali chose to cap the flop with middle pair of 8s, but gave it up on the river. Ali says that "as we can see, Polaris is determined to win all the pots". Later on, the board shows a straight on the river, but with the flop being three clubs. Ali held the 6 to make the higher straight. Ali check-raises and Polaris folds to the check-raise. Just one hand later, Polaris makes the 6 high straight against Ali's wheel! Overall, this sequence has been pretty good to Polaris. Late in the sequence Polaris makes a huge third bet against Ali's bluff raise forcing him out of the hand.

Both Polaris and Ali had the same two pair, 9s and 3s!

02:36 pm Ali's bankroll after 325 hands: +$385. On hand 311, Ali ran into Polaris' flush which only really came clear on the river when Polaris three-bet him. Ali called and saw that his pair of jacks were well beat. Polaris went on a pretty good run over a few hands and picked up a few good hands in a row. Late in the sequence, Polaris check raised the river with a full house 4s full of Ks and Ali fell into the trap.

02:29 pm Ali's bankroll after 300 hands: +$485. On hand 288, Ali flopped a straight with AJo, and got called down by Polaris' pair of queens with an open ended straight draw. The bankrolls seem to be pretty steady over these last few hands. If anything Polaris is slightly climbing.

The crowd enjoying the action.

02:21 pm Ali's bankroll after 275 hands: +$510. Early in this sequence, Ali flops top two pair with A9o, and turns a full house. Polaris reraises his bet. The river was an ace, which gave Ali pause. Polaris showed a 9, and Ali took down a big pot. Ali talked about how Phil would probably have not bet out on the river like Polaris did. We'll have to find out what he did! Later on, Ali flopped a flush, and got action from Polaris all the way. Polaris only had a middle pair.

Ali has a full house that beats up Polaris' smaller full house.

02:12 pm Ali's bankroll after 250 hands: +$600. Ali's been moving quick over the last while. Ali layed down a hand around number 229 or so, but I didn't catch the action. He discussed the hand at length though so it sounded like a pretty big laydown. Ali's bankroll has slid up a little, but no crazy hands that I've seen. Late in the sequence though, Ali picks up A9 and flops top pair. Polaris three bets him though and goes into thinking mode. He says he's folded a bunch of these situations before, and thought about reraising. Polaris had bottom pair and Ali's hand held up.

Mike Johanson, and your diligent blogger Morgan Kan at our station.

02:01 Ali's bankroll after 225 hands: +$445. On hand 213, Ali makes top pair, but runs into Polaris' ace kicker. Polaris won a large-ish pot. A big hand happened when where a Ali had JT and flopped middle pair of jacks. Ali raised the flop and the turn, but then checked the river when a third diamond came in. Polaris had made its flush! Something to note on that hand, Polaris had capped the betting preflop with 87 suited.

Ali's girlfriend Ana and Ali's friend and Bluff player of the year Chad Brown enjoying the action.

01:54 pm Ali's bankroll after 200 hands: +$485. Ali has hit a lot of really good hands over the last little while. Polaris is calling with king high. Speculating a bit about the match, we think that maybe Phil wouldn't make those calls which means the humans might have gained an advantage over the last few hands. Ali is playing a bit faster at this point trying to pick up the pace a little bit. It's making it a bit harder for me to find specific examples of hands for you. Late in the sequence Ali remarks that he "chopped a jack high! That never happens in human play!"

Darse Billings and Neil Burch enjoying the action.

01:44 Ali's bankroll after 175 hands: +$520. Ali has hit some good hands over the last little while and has made some gains in his bankroll. He had pocket jacks and got Polaris to call all the way with king high with the board showing two pair.

01:39 We're back online now. Ali's bankroll after 150 hands: +$95. Ali's rivered a couple of big hands against Polaris. In one, Polaris had a better middle pair of sevens, but Ali got lucky and hit his two pair on the river. A few hands later Ali hit a straight on the river to beat Polaris' two pair. Later, Ali flopped two pair, but didn't have a spade to help him with the three spades on board. The turn was another spade so he slowed down but bet on the river to be called by Polaris which held the deuce of spades.

01:34 We're having some technical difficulties. The client on the machine that Ali is playing on keeps crashing. It might be a hardware problem so a new laptop has been sustituted in its place. Hopefully the issue resolves itself.

View from behind Ali.

01:20 pm Ali's bankroll after 125 hands: -$75. On hand 115, Ali made a straight flush on the river and got paid off by Polaris who had bottom pair of 3s. A few hands later, Ali flops trip 6s and Polaris calls him down with 77. Ali's hit several good hands in this sequence including higher pair against lower pair situations and trips a couple of times. The bankrolls are looking almost even at this point.

Ali hits a straight flush on the river.

01:12 pm Ali's bankroll after 100 hands: -$80. Polaris won several hands in this sequence. Including a hand where Polaris sucked out the river with J8 hearts and hit three jacks by the river. Ali had AQ and top two pair. A hand or two later, he commented on a hand that Polaris played saying "That was quote-unquote well-played". Polaris is now on an upswing in bankroll. However late in the sequence Ali catches Polaris bluffing a board with three aces and calls with just King high.

01:05 pm Ali's bankroll after 75 hands: +$350. Early in this sequence Ali hit top pair of aces and rivered his queen to make two pair. Polaris showed 69 -- two pair on the turn! Ali won a big pot but he said "Phil's not gonna like that hand!" Ali won a few pots in this sequence but not a lot of showstoppers this go around. We're having some some technical issues at this point. Late in the sequence Ali had pocket tens but lost to Polaris' A3 when an Ace came on the flop.

Ali on the stage.

12:52pm Ali's bankroll after 50 hands: +$370. On hand 32, Ali made a set with 22 on the flop. The betting was capped on the flop, which surprised Ali. Ali got to raise Polaris on the turn but Polaris folded on the river. Ali was certain that Polaris had a low flush draw. On hand 40, Ali had pocket eights, and hit his full house on the turn but Polaris folded on his turn bet. On hand 44, Ali had AQ and hit top pair on the flop. Unfortunately for him, Polaris had AK to outkick him. Continuing his discussion he says "Like I said, I had the second best ace." Ali has been having a pretty good string of cards over the past few hands. He remarked that he's glad that he's on this side of the cards and saying "poor Phil!"

Ali on the stage.

12:38pm Ali's bankroll after 25 hands: +$145. Ali called the hand that polaris had about 5 hands in. He did some analaysis and thought that Polaris had a straight draw and/or a flush draw and was bluffing the river when he missed. He was right: Polaris had both a straight and a flush draw but it didn't hit either. There is now about 70 people in the room. Later on Ali got TT, but won only a small pot when he made a flush on the river. Immediately after, he had 77 and three-bet preflop, but was very surprised to see that Polaris folded on the flop. Later, Ali had K5o, but played it weakly. When the river hit a queen Polaris won the hand with Q7o. Chad Brown, Bluff magazine player of the year, commented "Computer Hand!" for the hand's nickname.

12:13pm Phil is now exiting the room and we are about to begin. Ali sits down and he's ready to start!. He gets dealt A6 of spades. Polaris folds to him before Ali gets to make an action.

12:04pm Phil, Ali, match organizer Jonathan Schaeffer and match arbiter Michael Littman are discussing some stuff next to the stage. Jonathan is now introducing the match and the players. The match will get under way shortly.

A Photo of the crowd.

11:57am The room is starting to fill up. There's about 50 people here with a couple of cameramen and a bunch of AAAI attendees. Ali is here being interviewed by the BBC before he takes his spot on the stage.

11:32am Half an hour before the match begins! Ali will be playing in the public room, so you'll be reading about his progress on this page for the first session. Word is that Phil will be playing session two in the public room