Ideal Poker was written as an extension of a lecture series by John Nash entitled “Ideal Money”. I had come across the lecture while engaging with different forums and members on the topic of cooperation, strategy, and mutual gain. I wasn’t received well and quickly realize I would NEVER be received well, unless I familiarized myself with some of the common terms and knowledge that these peoples professed. I had felt that I had insight similar to Nash’s when he was seemingly struck by lighting in certain proposed solutions to significant previously unsolved problems, so I dove a little into his story and into his works to find something I could relate to and use to express myself with.
That is how I came across the lecture “Ideal Money”, which I can perfectly admit I had no idea what it meant when I first read it nor when I first watched him give the lecture (of the written material). However I was instantly struck by the significance of it, yet I also was not able to express the significance and the subject was always met with great ridicule when I presented it to the communities I posted in (online forums).
Something about the whole of the lecture (merely 8 pages), the smugness of the writing and his speech, the deepness of his side streets, and the cleverness that you could feel, made me know that this was IT. I read it over many times and searched the internet for the key words and phrases I didn’t understand. What becomes increasingly clear to me was that his references showed an amazingly vast array of knowledge for one man to possess, even if he was John Nash, and even if he was 70+ years old.
Some of the little side streets Nash goes on requires more than just a keyword search, but the study of an entire field or an entire history, or lineage. Nash often makes comparisons or takes perspectives that are uncommon, awkward, or even seem useless or nonsensical. Always by the most careful reading and intensive study could I finally come back and make sense of all his points (well I don’t understand everything, but I mean to suggest he is generally or always on point even though it rarely seems so!).
He writes INCREDIBLY well, he is incredibly articulate, he is very humorous and clever (I said that already), and when understood as a whole, all the side streets, all the articulation, he makes and incredibly cohesive argument.
But in order to understand his argument I had to relate the subject of Ideal Money to my world. This is where “Ideal Poker” was born. Being a professional (but not very wealthy) poker player I naturally started to think of how Nash’s ideas realted to the game I enjoy. I literally re wrote Ideal Money and changed the words banks to poker and money to chips. I re wrote all of the words that were on the subject of economy and replaced them with poker words and poker history.
Of course “Ideal Poker” isn’t a very coherent paper as a standalone. But after reading this version over and over I finally started to understand something Nash was describing. Ideal Poker described the coming of a poker coin that would asymptotically lower rake (fees paid by players to sites), and take the power out of the hands of the centralized model and status quo of poker sites.
This coin would cause the players to begin to levate a standard of rake/profitability, by enticing a revolution in the way they perceived the game. The paper alluded to the history and evolution of the game and also projected a future for it based on the advent of a new transferable utility that would start a cascade of centralized power, and would ultimately end up with a new paradigm for the game. An industry own by the peoples that use it.
Nash’s point was about the central banking industry and how an electronic currency in the form of a stably issued supply will cause an asymptotic evolution of what he calls “good” or eventually “ideal money”. What I was shown the vision for was decentralized poker, which we are now realizing requires bitcoin to work (and no doubt ethereum/smartcontracts!).
The significance of Ideal Poker is something I’m not sure anyone is thinking about right now. It was through Nick Szabo’s blog I started thinking about the history of poker and games in general in relation to our society’s evolution and economics. What I have learned is that in healthy societies and economies games play a significant role where as in sick societies our affection and confidence in games dwindles.
In recent years the US players have been banned from playing poker with the rest of the world through the restriction of among other things payment processors. Poker itself has always rode the forefront of the waves of expansion such as to the Americas and the gold rush. Poker itself has some of the same inherent flaws as our Keynsian banking system, and I DID find a lecture series by Anthoy Pickles, they seems to articulate very well (in relation to Szabo’s Kula ring paper), how GAMES too seem to arise in relation to a society and its economy.
I take this revelation one step further with Ideal Poker. I have a conjecture and solution. The conjecture is poker as a product of our Keynesian banking society, has arisen with the same inherent problems as our global financial system. In poker the players have no access or guarantee of an average profitability of a game. Historically skilled players have coveted this lack of information because it means less skilled players can’t know they are losing in the long run or how much they are losing or how fast.
But ultimately a problem arises in the the poker players as a community cannot properly assess their own game because they lack access to the hidden variables. Not only does this lack of knowledge pervert the fields (ie create problem gamblers), but there is no way to accurately tell the honesty or quality of the prize pools (without at least expensive third parties!).
Ideal Poker is a solution to levate a rake standard that would exactly give the players this information that they could then use to make informed decisions on where to park their bankrolls (monies). By introducing this easy to reference standard the players would have the magnetic force needed to increase liquidity and therefore put pressure as consumers on companies to offer a superior product especially in regards to a profitable game.
Once this force is in play and change starts to happen, the players, being better situated to assess a given field, will naturally begin to brute force the solution to GTO poker. This is the valuable insight. We are about to watch an entire industry use a massive market solution to brute force a complex problem we otherwise might not be able to solve for years into the future.
Poker has arisen as what we think of a skilled game because of its complexity and room for such intensive and deep strategy. Today in a sick not very stable economy we view poker as gambling and often unethical and immoral. Tomorrow, poker will be the first of many such complex problems humanity used to only wish it could solve, but now has generic solution for brute force market GTO strategy discovery as described by John Nash in Ideal Money for his brute force solution to the problem of Keynesian economics (our society doesn’t yet fully admit or realize it has).