How do you train for the Match Poker Nations Cup? Team Germany Shares their Secret!

Team Germany might not have made it to the Finals during this round of qualifiers for the Nations Cup, but their strong second place finish still begs the question “How do they train for Match Poker?” Well, we are going to spill the beans with you in this article. Team Germany is sharing their secret on how they train as a team and improve their poker game together in a group.

The Germans use a platform called Poker Castle. It is an interactive tool that allows a poker coach to train more than one player at a time. So, pretty much perfect for a Match Poker team. While players are playing random or custom created hands, the coach can actually see the cards of the players. This really helps to get behind the thought process of your teammates. 

“Normally, poker is about making the decisions with the highest chip EV (with ICM adaptations in tournament poker, if necessary),” team coach Daniel Eylenfeldt explains, “In the current Match Poker scoring system, however, the overall chips do not play a role. For example, it is often more important to win many small pots than one big one. Therefore, various adjustments have to be made in order to be successful in this system. When we train with the German team via Poker Castle, we usually play the hands as in the normal cash game, but in the replay function we then consider which adaptations would have made sense in Match Poker.”

So, how does it work?

After a hand has concluded, it is discussed in the Replay. During this phase, all participants can see the cards and the coach clicks through the action while interacting with the students via Discord, Zoom or any other third party communication platform.

 

Poker Castle platform

Without a platform like this teams are stuck with theory sessions and/or home games. It is often difficult to get into a flow and really see why and how a player was taking as long as they did for a decision. However, using Poker Castle means that the coach can observe the hand selection and decision making of the students in real time. It also means that the coach can see the learning progress of the players across the different sessions they play. The coach can even “Like” a play, which is obviously only visible to the player who’s move was praised. Poker Castle offers a range viewer tool where the coach can go through different options for the hand selection or explore the opponents’ ranges.

Weekly Preparation Sessions

Team Germany made sure to meet for training sessions at least once a week from a couple of months before the competition date, closer to the event they even trained twice a week for 3 hours each time. That is a lot of high intensity coaching as a team and their close second place finish behind Austria in the Qualifiers proves its value.

In Poker Castle you can choose to play random hands or custom hands and while it was mainly random hands that were played during the coaching sessions, team coach Daniel Eylenfeldt often used actual hands from his own online sessions that he deemed interesting enough.

Team Germany is made up of Jan Heitmann, Timm Albrecht, Niklas Andrews, Alexander Kleppe, Kai Rieche, Stefanie Haffke, Mila Monroe, Julie Schumacher, Arash Fazeli and Daniel Eylenfeldt. During the time the team prepared for the competition, the members really learned to appreciate working with Poker Castle. Especially the fact that once you fold you can see other players cards, which is an incredible feature to learn in a group. Poker Castle is not exclusive to the German team. Any team, study or staking group is welcome to check it out and start training with it. 

They play their next qualifier on 7th August and will no doubt be putting in the hours on training and strategy in the weeks leading up to it, with the aim of sealing their spot in the Nations Cup Finals. For more information please visit www.pokercastle.net

The First Match Poker World Champions, Germany, are ready for 2021

Introducing the German national Match Poker squad for the upcoming European qualifiers, leading up to the Nations Cup Finals 2021.

Name: Daniel Eylenfeldt

Age: 41

Profession: Poker Coach / Professional Poker Player

Bio: I’ve been playing poker regularly since 2007. I think it’s great that even though it’s been around for so long, it’s still possible to improve your poker game. During my poker coaching in particular, I find it very rewarding to watch my students continuously improve.

Name: Jan Heitmann

Age: 44

Profession: Keynote Speaker and Trainer

Started playing: 1996

Bio: I fell in love with poker quite early, when it was still very underground in Germany. During my studies at university (management), I played more regularly. Once I got my diploma in September 2003, I travelled around Europe for a year, playing poker in Barcelona, Amsterdam, Vienna, London, etc., culminating in my first WSOP in 2004 and turned professional after that. I had quite a long and successful career, spanning 15 years, including doing lots of promotional work for poker in Germany (as a commentator, trainer for celebrities and a part of Team PokerStars Germany). These days poker is still a big part of my life, but in a very different way. I use poker as a model for decision making, holding keynote talks and trainings for managers, leaders and decision makers.

Name: Timm Albrecht

Age: 40

Profession: Business, Life and Poker Coach and a Professional Poker Player

Bio: I play poker since 13 years, mostly online cash games but also MTTs and SnGs. I love discussions, books, videos and quizzes about poker and want to travel playing all over the world.

Name: Kai Rieche

Age: 40

Profession: CEO

Bio: Started around 20 years ago in my hometown of Berlin and still playing the game. Had so many good times with this game around the world, so it is in my opinion still the most beautiful hobby. I hope we can play live soon again, so long let’s do it online. Looking forward to the first qualification round.

Name: Niklas Andrews

Age: 24

Profession: Psychology student

Bio: I’ve been playing poker for about 3 years, focusing on cash games since the beginning. What I love the most about poker is the complexity of the game. The fact that the room for improvement seems to be endless is why I keep falling in love with poker.

Name: Stefanie Haffke

Age: 35

Profession: Civil Engineer

Bio: I have about 4 years of experience in playing poker as a mind sport. Mostly live, what I definitely prefer. As an engineer I love solving puzzles. That combined with playing a game, poker is my absolute favourite.

Name: Arash Fazeli

Age: 39

Profession: IT Specialist / electronics technician

Bio: I have been playing poker since 2003. I’m a poker coach and passionate tournament player. Heads-up is my favourite discipline. I love Poker… You grow with your decisions and keep developing. The mixture of strategic thinking and tactical action, taking incomplete information into account, is what makes this game so fascinating.

Name: Alexander Kleppe

Age: 39

Profession: IT architect and project manager

Bio: Alexander is 39 years old and loves to play poker – has been for over 20 years, especially online cash games and tournaments, as well as the German Heads-up live championship. He works as an IT architect & project manager and plays for the German Nations Cup Team since 2019. Alex loves the idea of poker as a mind sport along with the international challenges with players from different nations and wants to see Match Poker advancing to the next level of recognition.

Pluribus by Stephan Kalhamer

Pluribus!

The Latin translation corresponds to “with several” I would say. Addressed here specifically is the poker game against several opponents probably. A regular poker set up: No Limit Texas Holdem at a table of six. A fortress of human decision-making power now attacked by the algorithm “pluribus”. And as we learned – since July 11th, 2019 – “it” was victorious.

After Chess and Go, we are now inferior in the perhaps most complex classic mental exercise of artificial intelligence as “genius human”.

What a insult.

What a development!

How can this be classified or understood in a nutshell?

After the great victory of Deep Blue over Garry Kasparov in 1996, the immense ambition to create better chess machines than world chess champions gave way to the vision of making computers successful on the free market. Chess is caught on his board. There are limits of all kinds. The field. The figures. The moves. All truth, every information, is open in itself. It’s “only” a question, who can see how comprehensively, judge and decide accordingly?

It’s completely different in poker. Poker is much more human than chess. “Doing the wrong thing, but at the right moment” turns a good one into an excellent poker player.

How should a machine even understand the meaning of this deep quote from the movie “Cincinnati Kid”? With pitfalls like these developers were challenged worldwide – and now it is solved.

It took place step by step.

In the spring of 2011, my colleague Stefan Rapp and I competed against the “Fat Tony” program, led by Prof. Dr. Fürnkranz at the University of Darmstadt. The software was coded for “Limit Poker 1vs1”. The match was set up by mirrored cards, meaning that team computer was faced with the same decisions as the human team.

Stefan and I won back then. Although Fat Tony had a much, much easier setup than pluribus today.

Tony never had to decide how high – but only if it bets. This is a huge difference. Because zero or one is the core of computers, but to make an offer creatively, that’s something human! On top of that Tony had the advantage of a duel one-on-one, with no heated, irrational interaction between different opponents at the same time. “Man on man” is way easier to categorize than a wild marketplace, where offers sometimes simply are made due to a personal reaction from a third party.

Human poker players beat a whopping 15 years after Deep Blue its poker playing colleagues in their home game by human judgment. I was pretty sure that it would remain that way for a long time. Just eight years later, however, I am disproved. Pluribus has taken all hurdles. How was that possible?

By Darwinism.

Pluribus – in contrast to its even very considerable predecessors – did not learn from humans playing poker.

The “newborn little Pluribus” was just presented the complete set of rules including the aim of the game. From there on, the program was on its own. Pluribus played and played against versions of himself. In a few days it had billions of hands of experience. Being a massive looser against virtually every amateur player during his first billions of gambling decisions, it now beats everything and everyone by virtue of his constant learning process.

It should give us some encouragement.: Getting up again and again as an improved version of himself – this pays off apparently.

Of course, it is also frightening: Where is all this leading to, if machines even play poker better than we do?

Mathematic as the language of logic is – as so often – the winner.

We should realize that, accept that and start building up reasonably for the future on this basis.

Most important is your own attitude to consciousness and consequence.

Let us be aware of what mathematics can do and, consequently, let’s be curious about it.

If it were still valid today to say that mathematicians are sitting only in their own ivory towers anyway, then it would also be correct to say: The world simply is an ivory tower.

About the author: Stephan Kalhamer

Stephan Kalhamer is a mathematician and successful poker coach. In 2011 he led the German team to the title of world champion and in 2013 to the EM title of amateur. In addition, since 2009 he is honorary president of the German Poker Federation and author of several books on the subject of “poker”. He acts as a speaker and advises companies.

The original article was written in German by Stephan and published here – http://summa.stiftungrechnen.de/pluribus/

7th Playoffs for the DPSB HeadsUp Live Liga 2016

IFP’s German national federation, Deutsche Poker SportBund (DPSB), just completed its 7th DPSB HeadsUp national event and crowned 89suited Poker München as the winner!

The final was held in Ingolstadt (Bavaria) this time with the 16 qualified teams from all over Germany.

In the group stage (http://dpsb.org/playoffs-season-7/) the teams played three matches against every opponent to determine the first two spots in the group which would advance to the quarter finals.

From then on they played knock out matches. (http://dpsb.org/playoffs-season-7-k-o-phase/)

Our new Champion 89suited Poker München won their group even though they lost their very first match. From then on they won the next five consecutive matches.

Especially the captian of this team – Gerhard Schwarz – had an incredible weekend winning 15 out of 17 headsup matches (both losses in the group stage).

89suited Poker München is one of the teams playing the DPSB HeadsUp Live Liga from the very beginning on.

Some media links: