We came back from a long, long trip, home late at night. Feeling rough. My friend raised a glass and said, “That’s what happens when you get on vacation”.

I looked at the ceiling and thought, “that’s what happens when you are an A.I. master”. I chuckled heartily. It was very useful information.

In the summer of 2016, my daughters’ teacher taught a few computer and neural network games. What I found most fascinating was how accurately she could work out how to make us play.

At the time, I said I was interested in merging these two abilities and had been thinking about incorporating them to create strategies in poker.

Yes, I said, we are all gamers. Robots are really “computer gamers”. I added that at the end of the day, for “players”, the real work is done by the game, much like the scorekeeper can tell if a league table or hockey competition is “winning” or “losing” the season.

Given my cynicism, I don’t think anyone saw that coming, except me.

My now ex-wife, a poker obsessive, would rather let us use the image of a poker playing human playing cards and try to win because she knows I am always a player.

I agree. That is the game we play and that is what we are good at.

But, my theory, based on all the knowledge I gained over the years of watching computer chess matches and watching poker matches unfold, is that there is much, much more to the games we play than just X-Y-Z.

The signals of good and bad (called “value packets”) are so intricately woven into these games that A.I. has been able to get a handle on things we don’t even understand. Can we change our form, say “Hello, Noley, Breakdown” in a game we’ve been playing all this time, and get our opponent to lose interest?

This is something that I think is just starting to catch on among professionals. They now feel the competitive fire burning around them every time they play. They know how they are going to play, what their opponent is going to do, what tactics we are going to use – and A.I. can see and explain and interpret that.

This is new. I think that even in poker it will start to become a game more about the strategy, more than the skill.

Then again, the real game of course still has to be played for money, meaning people aren’t actually playing the strategy alone on a machine…