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Opponent AI, and what makes hard mode harder?

posted by Arodin on - last edited - Viewed by 594 users

I've been playing on the "hard" setting for a while. I figured they would play better on hard mode, but from what I've seen that's not the case. They still play almost any two cards and make a lot of really bad calls. I just saw the Heavy call an all in bet with an absolutely unwinnable hand on the hard setting. There were three nines on the board, and he had 3 2 in his hand, with no flush draw. There was literally no hand he could possibly be winning against, but he called all-in and just gave away all his chips. I guess it's just bad AI that has him think "oh great I have 3-of-a-kind" even though the 3-of-a-kind is all made up of community cards.

On the other hand, ever since I enabled Hard mode it suddenly seems like they draw out against me constantly. I play poker a lot and I know in poker you can get unlucky sometimes and go on a streak of bad-beats, so maybe it is just a coincidence. But I just turned on hard mode and I see that they aren't playing any smarter and suddenly they're getting lucky against me constantly. It leads me to the ugly conclusion that "hard" mode basically means the computer cheats by giving the opponents the cards they need to make the winning hand more often. That would certainly be easier to program than trying to make the AI smarter.

Has anyone tried hard mode, and what have you noticed different about it?

19 Comments - Linear Discussion: Classic Style
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    HoboStew Telltale Staff

    The main difference between normal & hard is that on normal the AI is more likely to bluff/play bad cards, and is easier to scare off pots when it has a hand (ie more likely to fold to a raise even though it has good cards).

    Beyond that, we are talking about degrees. Ill spare you the boring details, but every AI decision runs through a tree, with weights based on its skill level. The smarter the AI, the better decisions it will generally make. But nobody is perfect, and in poker even good decisions can have bad results. Also, each player has slightly different play styles, so even on Hard mode, Max is wild and unpredictable.

    I know some people won't believe me, but I took care to make sure that the AI never cheats, and never takes advantage of the "God's Eye" - the fact that the program knows everyones cards at any given time. If you are getting bad beats, that's just poker. If it makes you feel any better, I played 9 times on hard before I won my first tournament, losing some on some horrible luck!

  • Great, thanks. I believe you, and had a feeling it was just my imagination =)

  • I'm not actually sure Max is bluffing, technically. I think he just raises at random sometimes, which can appear to be bluffing, but it's actually just impulsive, weird Max-ness. I mean, he does say, "What do these numbers on the cards mean?"

  • @HoboStew said: The main difference between normal & hard is that on normal the AI is more likely to bluff/play bad cards, and is easier to scare off pots when it has a hand (ie more likely to fold to a raise even though it has good cards).

    Beyond that, we are talking about degrees. Ill spare you the boring details, but every AI decision runs through a tree, with weights based on its skill level. The smarter the AI, the better decisions it will generally make. But nobody is perfect, and in poker even good decisions can have bad results. Also, each player has slightly different play styles, so even on Hard mode, Max is wild and unpredictable.

    I know some people won't believe me, but I took care to make sure that the AI never cheats, and never takes advantage of the "God's Eye" - the fact that the program knows everyones cards at any given time. If you are getting bad beats, that's just poker. If it makes you feel any better, I played 9 times on hard before I won my first tournament, losing some on some horrible luck!

    That is a very interesting note, actually, arranging characters by relative intelligence if going by 'the smarter the AI' statement. I find the subject fascinating, actually, and would love the boring details.

    I take it this means that the further to the right the character sits, given what's been observed, the smarter they will generally play?

  • One tournament, I won just by calling all in on every turn, everyone seemed to get shocked and fold
    This would be much better if the AI was tweaked, but there is a patch on the way so happy days :D

  • You mean raising all-in? It's not possible to have all opponents fold after you call.

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    HoboStew Telltale Staff

    @spd12 said: That is a very interesting note, actually, arranging characters by relative intelligence if going by 'the smarter the AI' statement. I find the subject fascinating, actually, and would love the boring details.

    I take it this means that the further to the right the character sits, given what's been observed, the smarter they will generally play?

    That is basically correct. Each character has both skill and aggression. Skill is the major decision factor, usually aggression just affects size of bets (although it will sometimes alter the decision entirely). Tycho is the smartest and most conservative. Heavy is slightly less smart and slightly more aggressive than Tycho. Strong Bad is slightly less smart and considerably more aggressive. Max is actually as smart as Tycho (on hard difficulty, he is the dumbest on normal) but his aggression changes from hand to hand (unlike the others, who only change aggression on various semi-rare game conditions). So while Max technically is tied for the smartest, his erratic aggression causes him to make questionable plays and act dumber. For what its worth, I didn't originally set out to go left to right, I just tried to make play styles that I felt fit the personalities.

    Getting that kind of AI granularity is a really fuzzy thing to quantify, so it pleases me that people playing it seem to be experiencing what I set out to accomplish. That was definitely one area of the game I wish I had more time to work on; I could have easily spent another 6 months refining it. Every time I see it do something dumb I want to tinker with the code.

  • @HoboStew said: For what its worth, I didn't originally set out to go left to right, I just tried to make play styles that I felt fit the personalities.

    In this manner, I think you have succeeded. It's one thing to just make them talk and move just like they probably would in their native series, but I think you really went above and beyond in making us believe we were actually playing them based on their personalities - as defined by their AI.

    If there's ever more Inventory stuff, I do look forward to hearing about how you go about it to the extent you're allowed to share! You were definite credit to development team in that respect I say.

  • @spd12 said: You were definite credit to development team in that respect I say.

    And Heavy agrees! "Engineer is credit to team!"

  • I'm inexperienced at poker and playing on Normal, but yeah I can kind of tell that the players are different. Which is really neat. The only thing I'd been able to pin down is that Strong Bad "bluffs" a lot, throwing around a few thousand dollars a lot in the early game. This was actually pretty effective with me, a newbie, in the first handful of games, but once I noticed that pattern it was pretty easy to beat him.

    Something that's probably my imagination, maybe: When The Heavy has a decent lead on most of the players, he throws around noteworthy amounts of money before the flop quite a bit. Max seems to be the only player to do this in the early game, and now I know why.

    I think I'll start playing on Hard now. Ill lose a lot more (and just when I finally got my balance into the positives again!) but it sounds interesting.

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