Day 5: Polaris Victory, Cirque Du Soleil, and Celebration

Sorry about not getting up a blog entry yesterday. Yesterday morning we had to move hotels so we were busy with that, and blogging about the previous day kind of got pushed to the wayside. Alright, so where to start? Sunday morning felt very similar the past 3 days. We got up around 8, and headed down to the expo for around 9. This morning we had a decision to make. Was there any reason for us to try and modify the bot in any way before the 4th and final live match went down? We argued for awhile about it, but eventually came down to a consensus. The bot wasn't going to chance much. We got the booth setup, and got to chat with a couple of media people who were shooting video for the discovery channel. They would do several interviews throughout the day, including the players IJay Palansky and Matt Hawrilenko. So before the match started, IJay went through a pre-game interview and then got sent up to the hotel room to start his half of the match around 11am.

At around 1pm, Matt arrived and he went through the same pre-game interviews before sitting down to take on the bot. It's interesting watching only half of a duplicate match -- there is so much luck to the cards that you really have to try and think about how the other player would have played against the bot on the other side of the cards to see whether you're getting more money or not.

To make a long story short, we won. We won by a large margin which is probably statistically significant. Our analysis tools say that Matt broke even with the bot and that IJay got crushed -- which wasn't so surprising to us since IJay said he was going to try and change his style. There are a limited number of poker players who can change their styles and still not be exploitable, and this was a case where the player couldn't do that.

So this was the year that Man fell to the machine in heads-up limit texas hold'em. No doubt there will be many who will want to challenge the bot now to see if they can beat it. But I guess I won't be with the group anymore to see those first hand.

The group of us packed up our stuff and got ready to celebrate. We had already purchased tickets to the Cirque Du Soleil show called O, but we had some time to kill before the 10:30 showing we had tickets for. We wandered over to the Bellagio with the aim of finding some dinner before the show and eventually found ourselves at a pretty fancy restaurant there called Senshi. The place was quite nice, and I was a bit amazed at how deep the restaurant went back. The place was quite a bit more pricey than places I'm used to, but it was a celebratory dinner! I had a glass of red wine with my meal of a huge hunk of new york style steak. The thing was massive ... like nearly 2 inches thick, and it was probably the best steak I've ever had.

After dinner, we went back to enter the Cirque theatre, and spread ourselves out across the theatre. We ordered tickets pretty late, so none of the 12 people in our party could sit together, but we still all got tickets! For those that don't know, the O Cirque show is their water one. The stage is a big pool of water, but the stage was *very* dynamic. They could raise the depth of the pool to very shallow or even make a floor overtop of the water. There was parts where only parts of the stage were a pool, but not others. It was fascinating just watching the stage change configurations throughout the show.

The Cirque performers were pretty incredible too. There were all manner of different tricks and feats of strength and flexibility they did throughout the show. There was probably too much going on for me to remember everything, but here's some highlights I found cool. To start the show, the curtains in front of the stage were whisked away in an incredibly entertaining fashion. I can't even really describe it except that it was awesome. Two trapeze artists shared the same trapeze for some pretty incredible moves (included one holding the other with just one arm). The three people-launching dive platforms that they used to send the Cirque divers high into the air and with little-to-no splash at the end. I wonder if this might be one place olympic divers go. A set of 4 creepily flexible women dressed in red formed all kinds of human pyramid type formations. Two people dressed in red were whisked around the stage by what looked like long strands of red fabric. They were flown up in the air and around the stage -- it was really fun to watch!

All in all, the show was pretty incredible. There sure is a lot to see though, and I'm pretty sure I missed some cool things. Between being pretty tired from the last 4 days of competition and lack of sleep, I found it a bit hard to follow everything at the late showing. Still, I think it was a fitting way to hang out. After the show was over we returned to the hotel where we ended up playing poker until something silly like 5 in the morning. This was just a fun game in one of the hotel rooms, but it ended up going pretty late.

I gotta run now to hang out with people, but I'll get myself caught up here soon!