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    How to Build a Texas Holdem Bot with Chen’s Formula

    How to Build a Texas Holdem Bot with Chen's Formula

    Texas Holdem is one of the most popular variants of poker, where players are dealt two cards face down and have to make the best five-card hand using five community cards. The game involves a lot of strategy, bluffing, and probability, which makes it an interesting challenge for programmers who want to create a bot that can play against human opponents.

    One of the methods that can be used to build a Texas Holdem bot is based on Chen’s formula, a system that assigns a numerical value to each starting hand based on its strength and potential. The formula was developed by Bill Chen, a professional poker player and mathematician, who wrote a book called The Mathematics of Poker with Jerrod Ankenman.

    The formula works as follows:

    1. Assign a base score to each card according to its rank. Aces are worth 10 points, kings are worth 8 points, queens are worth 7 points, and so on, down to twos which are worth 1 point.
    2. If the cards are paired, multiply the base score by two. For example, a pair of aces is worth 20 points, a pair of kings is worth 16 points, and so on.
    3. If the cards are suited (of the same suit), add two points to the score. For example, ace-king suited is worth 20 points, king-queen suited is worth 17 points, and so on.
    4. If the cards are connected (have consecutive ranks), add one point to the score. For example, ace-king is worth 19 points, king-queen is worth 16 points, and so on.
    5. If there is a gap between the cards (the ranks are not consecutive), subtract one point for each gap. For example, ace-queen is worth 17 points, king-jack is worth 14 points, and so on.
    6. If the gap is one and the cards are lower than queen-jack, subtract one more point. For example, jack-ten is worth 11 points, ten-nine is worth 9 points, and so on.
    7. If the gap is two and the cards are lower than jack-ten, subtract two more points. For example, nine-seven is worth 6 points, eight-six is worth 4 points, and so on.
    8. If the gap is three or more and the cards are lower than ten-nine, subtract four more points. For example, seven-four is worth 2 points, six-two is worth -2 points, and so on.

    Using this formula, we can rank all possible starting hands from best to worst. The highest score is 20 for a pair of aces, and the lowest score is -5 for seven-two offsuit. The formula can be used as a guideline for deciding whether to play or fold a hand before the flop (the first three community cards).

    A simple way to implement Chen’s formula in a bot is to use a lookup table that stores the score for each possible hand. The bot can then compare its score with a threshold value that determines its action. For example, if the score is higher than 12, the bot can raise or call; if the score is between 8 and 12, the bot can call or fold; if the score is lower than 8, the bot can fold. Of course, this strategy can be adjusted depending on the position of the bot at the table, the number of players involved in the hand, the size of the bets and the pot, and other factors.

    Chen’s formula is not a perfect system for playing Texas Holdem. It does not take into account other aspects of the game such as post-flop play, opponent tendencies, bluffing opportunities, etc. However, it can be a useful tool for building a basic bot that can play reasonably well against novice or intermediate players. It can also serve as a starting point for developing more advanced algorithms that incorporate more information and logic into their decisions.

    Hi, I’m Adam Smith

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