Pokerography: Dealer Deus
Lee Davy shares insights gleaned from Yuval Noah Harari’s Homo Deus and his thoughts on why live tournament dealers should be looking for another job.
It’s difficult getting around California without a car.
It’s a big place.
As I sat in Hertz, reading Yuval Noah Harari’s cracking follow up to Sapiens, Homo Deus, I was struck by the obviousness of a paragraph where Harari preempts a new future for the automobile industry.
Harari writes about the billion cars we have in the world that sit idle, while someone like me sits in Hertz going through the inconvenient process of hiring one.
Harari theorises that in the very near future, computer algorithms will control a central fleet of self-automated cars that can swing by your door at 8 am in the morning, whisk you to work, and be outside at 4 pm to drive you home.
And it’s great news, for everyone, except those whose job, relies on the current state of the automobile industry.
What will they do?
And it’s not just a problem for people who work in the automobile industry.
The Machines Are Coming to Take Our Jobs
In 2013, Oxford University’s finest, Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael A. Osbourne, wrote a paper called: The Future of Employment: How Susceptible Are Jobs to Computerisation?
In that article, the talented duo took a detailed look at 702 occupations in the United States and concluded that computer algorithms ability to do the same job put 47% of US jobs at high risk of being cut down to the bone.
So who should be worrying?
Here is an abbreviated list with the % probability the job will be taken over by a computer algorithm.
99% – Tax preparers
99% – Watch repairers
98% – Insurance claims and policy processing clerks
98% – Driver/Sales Worker
97% – Payroll and Time Keeping Clerks
97% – Real Estate Brokers
89% – Bus drivers
88% – Construction Labourers
84% – Security Guards
83% – Sailors
77% – Bartenders
67% – Lifeguards
There are over 680 more of these positions all destined to fall.
So What About Poker?
Recently, during conversations with professional poker players on who they inspire to emulate, at least two have mentioned the artificial intelligence (AI), known as Libratus.
The poker playing AI, created by Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), soundly beat a collection of the world’s top No-Limit Hold’em Heads-Up players at the turn of the year.
Also, through those conversations, the increase on human reliance on algorithms like PioSOLVER to improve their game is becoming more prevalent.
AI is coming, and it’s not a question of IF the online poker rooms can erect a Game of Thrones size Wall to keep out the bots, but how will they adapt to a new ecosystem that includes both humans and bots.
Like cancer to a cigarette smoker, neither the poker player nor the poker room thinks the threat is severe enough to do something about it, and where would you even begin?
But the impact that AI will have on the poker community won’t only affect the people playing poker; it will have a devastating effect on those who organise and police the games.
Back to that study:
98% – Umpires, Referees, and other sports officials
96% – Gaming Dealers
Anyone who has played at the World Series of Poker (WSOP) in a $1.5k event, as at one time, played with a dealer who has fallen asleep during a deal.
The logistics facing the WSOP when it comes to amassing such an army of dealers is a major pain in the neck, not to mention one of the biggest red marks on the company’s operating expenditure.
In the past, I have been a big fan of giving the dealer more responsibility, especially when it comes to policing the action on their table so that they can speed up play.
Each time, I advocate for these changes, I get shot down by a poker community telling me that dealers aren’t capable of the added responsibility, and it’s not fair to give them the additional workload.
I learned you should never shirk extra workload, because if you don’t do it, someone else will, and then why do they need you?
While I call bullshit on the hilarious assumption that a human being can’t be trusted to organise the pace of a poker game, table by table, I don’t think my plans are ever going to bear fruit.
The dealer, the floor person, and the tournament director need to start looking for a new job and fast.
How long will it be before every table in a live poker venue, or at any gaming table in the casino industry, is entirely electronic? The AI won’t fall to sleep, its understanding of the rules will be second to none, it will be faster, more reliable, and over the long term will be more cost-effective.
Without a dealer, why do you need a floor person?
Why can’t AI organise the event?
What Next For Jack Effel, Matt Savage, and Co?
If I were in those Gucci shoes, I would be tearing the research paper apart looking for the jobs that the AI can’t do as well as humans, or at the very least, trying to find a job that’s not as high a risk as 96% & 98%.
Here are some examples:
0.3% – Audiologist
0.3% – Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Worker
0.3% – Dietician and Nutritionist
0.4% – Choreographers
Jack Effel is a beast when it comes to losing weight, so a role as a dietician and nutritionist would suit him down to the ground. And I’ve seen Matt Savage move those twinkle toes on the dance floor. I’m positive he could become a choreographer. He could even begin experimenting with the Royal Flush Crew at World Poker Tour (WPT) Player Parties, although he had better be quick.
Models are 98% likely to lose their jobs to AI.
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