(iStock)

While it’s true that “a royal flush always beats a full house” in poker, as stated in the Feb. 6 Capital Business article “An artificial intelligence gamble that paid off,” folks who are not especially familiar with poker-hand hierarchy may wrongly assume that it is the only way to beat a full house. Four-of-a-kind and straight-flush hands also beat full houses.

But the larger matter of concern to some of us regular dining-room-table, friendly-game poker players is that artificial intelligence programs are making significant progress in stealing the human element from our games.

I’ve played in a regular game for more than 50 years and view poker as a metaphor for life. It helps teach concepts such as playing the hand you were dealt in the best way possible, playing by the rules, and knowing when to hold, when to fold, when to bluff, when to bet aggressively and, sometimes, how to sense a bluff by another person. 

Poker not only helps a person figure the odds but also teaches manners. There are some things one simply does not do at the poker table, such as touch another person’s chips, whine, cheat or make gratuitous comments after you’ve already folded. Also, don’t spill or drip your beer or soda over the cards.

Ed Nanas, Gainesville