Gambling And Computers On The Brain This Year In Pennsylvania

Posted on January 23, 2017 - Last Updated on May 13, 2020

[toc]Pennsylvania has its eyes set squarely on the future in 2017. Namely, the Keystone State is thinking about poker, gambling and technology in 2017.

The developments are not just political, either.

A new online gaming bill should be introduced in the state Senate soon. Elsewhere in Pennsylvania, it was a battle of men and machines thanks to a new artificial intelligence study at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.

Sen. Jay Costa teases comprehensive PA online gaming bill

The state legislature started the newest session on Monday, Jan. 23. Just because the Senate just began a new session does not mean Senators haven’t been planning ahead for 2017.

State Sen. Jay Costa’s proposed bill addresses a number of gaming issues in a single piece of legislation, including online casinos, online poker, and daily fantasy sports (DFS).

Moreover, it proposes a solution to the current brick and mortar casino taxation issues in the state stemming from a court ruling that the existing taxation structure was unconstitutional.

The state is running out of time to figure out a fix to the taxation issues. The state will need to come up with a long-term solution by April unless legislators request an extension.

Costa’s bill has so many components, it may take a while to debate through all of the issues and come up with a series of laws the state Assembly can agree on. Last year the state House passed an online gaming bill the state Senate never voted on before 2016 came to a close.

So far men are not faring well against the machine

The last time high stakes heads-up poker players took on a bot from Carnegie Mellon, the boys bested the bot. The humans technically won, but the monetary difference between the winners and losers was not deemed statistically significant.

It is time for round two. A new quartet of pros are currently holed up at Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh to play 300,000 hands of heads-up action against the newest iteration of poker artificial intelligence, Liberatus.

This new study features AI which incorporates some of the suggestions and observations for the pros who played the first bot, Claudico. This time around, the sample size is much larger too. Claudico played 80,000 hands against the players. This time the tally is upped to 300,000.

Players arrived in Pittsburgh and action began on Jan. 11 and will log hours through Jan. 30. If they can beat the bot, the foursome will split $200,000.

Those interested in the action can watch it live on Twitch on the casino’s website. As of Saturday, Jan. 21, the crew had played just over 55,000 hands and the humans were down by around $675,000.

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Jessica Welman

Jessica Welman is a contributor to PlayPennsylvania and managing editor of PlayIndiana and PlayTenn. A longtime poker media presence, Jess has worked as a tournament reporter for the World Poker Tour, co-hosted a podcast for Poker Road, and served as the managing editor for WSOP.com.

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