Over the weekend we were treated to an article in the New York Times Science section: Poker Bots Invade Online Gambling. This is a must read! For us it was De Ja Vu! Witness:
– Brain Taylor could not shake the feeling that something funny was going on; his most frequent poker opponents were acting oddly, playing so eerily similarly that it was suspicious.
– Investigations into the poker site he was playing on, PokerStars, determined that he was playing against “bots”, or algorithms. While these bots were historically easy to outperform, they have gotten incredibly better!
– The poker bots are for sale online: Shanky Technologies is but one firm who sells them for $129/year. His bots are so good that they have been banned by FullTilt, another online poker site.
– Poker Clearinghouse PokerScout.com says there are 600 online poker sites, and while they don’t have official relationships with Shanky Technologies, most of them look the other way when the Shanky bots play.
– “Using a poker bot is just an extension of the game of online poker,” says Shanky’s CEO, Mr. Jetter.
Sadly, this story is parallel to the evolution we have seen in our US Equity Markets. The similarities are just too laughable to ignore: proprietary algo bots invading the game AND the operators of the game “looking the other way”, as the algos give the illusion of real action and activity (liquidity) so that “marks” are enticed to come in off the street and play.
The only thing that appears to be different, is that in our markets the operators of the game (the Exchanges) have evolved so that they have teamed up with the makers of the robots. But maybe that will still come in the world of online gambling; I suspect it already has, come to think of it.
Where we left off 4:00pm EST:
INDU 12,044.40 +59.79
SPX 1,304.28 +9.17
CCMP 2,715.61 +14.59
Futures now at 7:00 am EST:
Key Data out today:
None. Just news from Japan.
Since the prior close, some key stories:
– Earthquake activity continuing in Japan. So Sad.
– Nuclear energy in the spotlight after Japanese disaster; Solar stocks trading higher.
– Bank of Japan injects record $183 billion into economy.
– Profit margins are at 18-year high, signaling dividend increases?
– Japanese stocks fall 6%.
– Berkshire buys Lubrizol for $9.7 billion.
– HIV drug development falters for Merck and Bristol-Meyers.
– Apples Store Jammed with folks waiting to buy iPad II.
– Hacker group releases Bank of America damaging emails.
– Bracket Time.
Pre-market: CHLN, EBIX, GPOR, TNDM, PNY, PGNX, SSW, TNP
After the Close: AOB, CPE, CHDN, TBSI, TCRD, EGY, ZAGG
Significant Movers This Morning:
LZ +27%, EK +9%, FSLR +5%, SPWR +5%, SOLR, +3%, WFR +4%, EWJ -8%, PPO -8%, LUV -5%, SHAW -5%, EXC -4%, VPL -4%, NRG -4%, ETG -4%, AIG -4%, ARUN -3%, DNDN -3%