You know someone likes your software when…

…he buys it twice. Here’s the story:

“I bought Poker Copilot twice because I absolutely needed it at the time to make money. My email was broken, and one of my hard disks containing the Poker Copilot license key was broken too, so I bought it again.”

Of course all he had to do was e-mail me for the original key, but it may have taken some hours or even a day for me to respond.

Sentence(s) of the Day

From Clay Shirky:

An internet user in rural Utah has access to more books than a citizen of Greenwich Village had before the web. Millions more books.

Nifty iPhone Poker App

It’s called THETA Poker and it lets you play No Limit Texas Hold’em on the iPhone. You play against a range of surprisingly subtle AI players, each with their own characteristics.

It’s highly playable. And perfect for passing time on public transport or in a doctor’s surgery.

This game got me thinking about what it would take to make a good AI poker player.

The danger of any computer game where you play against a computer-controlled player is that you quickly learn the style of that player, and develop a counter-style. You become adept at beating the computer but not necessarily at beating real life players. Real life players adapt to your counter-style and develop a counter-counter-style.

It would be fun to be a computer science honours student these days. If that were me, my honours project would be developing an adaptive AI poker player that measures up each opponent and alters its play accordingly. It would also add a random factor to particular plays. And would modify its playing style every so often, to confuse the humans. Tight-aggressive for 10 hands or so, then Loose-Aggressive for another 10 hands or so. A few rounds of obsessive blind-stealing, then backing off for a few rounds.

It could be that every second CS honours student is already doing this – and then unleashing it as a bot on the world of online poker.

Disclaimer: The creator of THETA Poker and I did a “you can have my software if I can have yours” arrangement.

30 Day Trial AND Money Back Guarantee

Someone on the Business of Software forum asked about using a “if you are not satisfied, we’ll give you your money back” guarantee instead of a 30-day free trial.

I think a software company should consider offering both.

You want to reduce the feeling the potential customer has of “taking a risk” when they buy your product. This makes people far more likely to purchase.

Take stock of your own feelings next time you are parting with a significant amount of money. Feel the sense of risk. Feel the sense that it might not be what you want. Consider what would alleviate that sense of risk. What about a chance to try it first? and a no-questions-asked money back guarantee?

It works. That’s why many software companies offer both. That’s why the Poker Copilot home page mentions both:

Screen shot 2009-11-19 at 7.11.05 PM.png

Full Tilt’s New "Run It Twice" Gimmick

Ah crap. Full Tilt has introduced a new feature called “Run It Twice”. “Run It Twice” hands seriously screws things up for Poker Copilot.

There’s a sample hand history below in which I’ve changed the names to protect the innocent. One game number, one flop, two turns, two turns, two rivers, two pots. This doesn’t fit into Poker Copilot’s database, model or user interface.

I’m not sure what to do about this. Any smart readers got a nifty suggestion?

Full Tilt Poker Game #1111111: Table ZZZZZZ (heads up) – $5/$10 – No Limit Hold’em – 11:11:11 ET – 2009/11/11
Seat 1: XXXXXX ($1,029.50)
Seat 2: YYYYYY ($1,273.50)
YYYYYY posts the small blind of $5
XXXXXX posts the big blind of $10
The button is in seat #2
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to XXXXXX [3d Ad]
YYYYYY raises to $30
XXXXXX calls $20
*** FLOP *** [4c Qd 6d]
XXXXXX checks
YYYYYY bets $50
XXXXXX raises to $150
YYYYYY has 15 seconds left to act
YYYYYY has requested TIME
YYYYYY raises to $390
XXXXXX raises to $999.50, and is all in
YYYYYY calls $609.50
Players agree to Run It Twice
XXXXXX shows [3d Ad]
YYYYYY shows [Qh Th]
*** TURN 1 *** [4c Qd 6d] [8h]
*** RIVER 1 *** [4c Qd 6d 8h] [4h]
*** TURN 2 *** [4c Qd 6d] [As]
*** RIVER 2 *** [4c Qd 6d As] [Kh]
*** SHOW DOWN 1 ***
XXXXXX shows a pair of Fours
YYYYYY shows two pair, Queens and Fours
*** SHOW DOWN 2 ***
XXXXXX shows a pair of Aces
YYYYYY shows a pair of Queens
YYYYYY wins pot 1 ($1,029) with two pair, Queens and Fours
XXXXXX wins pot 2 ($1,029) with a pair of Aces
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot $2,059 | Rake $1
*** SUMMARY 1 ***
Pot 1 $1,029
Board: [4c Qd 6d 8h 4h]
Seat 1: XXXXXX (big blind) showed [3d Ad] and lost with a pair of Fours
Seat 2: YYYYYY (small blind) showed [Qh Th] and won ($1,029) with two pair, Queens and Fours
*** SUMMARY 2 ***
Pot 2 $1,029
Board: [4c Qd 6d As Kh]
Seat 1: XXXXXX (big blind) showed [3d Ad] and won ($1,029) with a pair of Aces
Seat 2: YYYYYY (small blind) showed [Qh Th] and lost with a pair of Queens

How to Be Rich

Marshall Brain has a fun slide-show called “How to Make a Million Dollars“:

Last week I was invited to speak to a group of 200 students at Duke University. The organizers gave me pretty much free rein in picking my topic, so I decided to talk about [How to Make a Million Dollars].

How to make a million dollars is: a) something students are interested in, and b) something I am qualified to talk about. And the talk went really well. So well, in fact, that I have received requests for copies of the presentation.

The gist of it is to start a business. If it doesn’t work out for you, start another. And another. And another. Until you succeed.

Here’s three alternative ways to be rich:

1. Regularly spend less than you earn. It’s slow but effective. You won’t be mega-rich but you’ll be richer than you are now.

2. Measure your wealth against those poorer than you. We usually define ourselves as rich or poor in comparison to those around us. So move to a neighbourhood where people mostly earn less than you. You’ll have the biggest house and nicest car in your street. Better still, move to a country much poorer than yours. If you can keep your current income, you’ll have a lifestyle the envy of those around you. Be careful though: with envy comes venom. You’ll be an obvious target for theft.

3. Choose to define wealth in non-monetary terms. If you earn little but live as a bum in a Western Australian surfing town, catching glorious waves on a glorious beach every day, you’ll have a rich quality of life. Expect to be looked down upon by your relatives who don’t understand your lifestyle choices.

Problems with PowerPC Macs and Poker Copilot 2.19

I’m not certain if I’ve correctly identified the problem, but it seems that Poker Copilot 2.19 doesn’t show the HUD on PPC Macs.

Here’s what I’ve done about this:

You can download Poker Copilot 2.17 here. It seems that this works fully on PPC Macs.

Secondly I bought a PowerPC based Mac Mini on eBay today. You haven’t been able to buy these things new for some time, so eBay was my saviour. As soon as it arrives I’ll try to isolate and fix the problem.

What hands does a player take to showdown?

Loyal Poker Copilot customer Regan asks,

Is there a way in Poker Copilot’s SQL database console to search for a player’s showdown hands?

Here’s the answer. This returns all hands I (‘stevoski111’) took to showdown in the last 10 days in ring games:

select  playerid, playername, handtype
from gameplayersummary
where starttime>sysdate-10 -- returns data for last 10 days
and isplaymoney=false
and istournament=false
and wenttoshowdown=true
and playername = 'stevoski111'