Why netpoker is not IRC poker
Netpoker is a completely different software package from IRC poker.
When I started writing Netpoker, my goal was to better understand
poker strategy by simulation. I wrote some very fast (I thought)
code to do poker hand evaluations, and gathered some statistics.
It became clear that the only way to really gather interesting
statistics would be to "play" different strategies against one
another. At this point, I could have written an IRC player 'bot, but
- I don't know how to write IRC 'bots.
- firing up buggy (as they would certainly be) 'bots on somebody
elses IRC channel is extremely rude.
- the IRC has a rather long lag-time, which makes it hard to play
- I found the interface to the IRC clunky.
This was probably due to the fact that it was my first and only
experience with IRC.
The visual appearance has
been greatly improved by
Xpoker, but you still need to remember lots of commands (at least
that's how it looks to my reading of the web page.)
Thus I decided to write my own poker dealer and player.
I realized that if I used TCP/IP to communicate between players and
dealer, then I could not only write players to explore strategy
options, but I could also practice against them! Thus, Netpoker
took its present form as separate processes for dealer and players,
communicating via TCP/IP. Eventually, the user interface, and making
the system usable by multiple players took up most of the effort, and
I haven't had a chance to really get back and improve the strategies.
Comparison with IRC:
- Netpoker is free software, including the dealer.
You are encouraged to improve upon it.
As far as I know, this is not true of the IRC 'Pbot.
- You can practice against a set of Netpoker "shills" in private.
No need to worry about playing too slowly or too badly on a public channel.
No need to worry about taking a long break from the table.
- The Netpoker player has a builtin "analysis" system that will
run a monte-carlo of couple of thousand random hands to help you
make a decision, and learn about how various hands play. Just type 'h'
at a betting prompt.
- You are encouraged to program your own Netpoker players. I'd
really like to see a tournament of machine players.
- IRC is fundamentally a "chat" network, with some very nice poker
playing software layered on top. This makes it a social place, but
can be an impediment to the poker game itself. On the other hand,
Netpoker is fundamentally a poker playing program with a chat window
- If you don't already have an IRC client, then connecting to the
IRC is pretty painful. If you do have an IRC client, then connecting
to IRC is simple, but you have to learn a bunch of commands to get
started with poker. Building netpoker is comparable in difficulty to
building one of the IRC poker interfaces. IMHO, playing netpoker is
easier than playing IRC poker, but you'll have to decide for yourself.
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