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That score is calculated once per generation for all candidates, and can be used to compare them to each other. One of the cool things about GAs is simply watching them evolve a solution. Using a single strategy, multiple tests are run, resulting in a set of fitness scores. But how many hands is enough? The lack of genetic diversity in those small populations results in poor final fitness scores, along with a slower process of finding a solution. Because of the innate randomness of a deck of cards, many hands need to be played so the randomness evens out across the candidates. In fact, the coefficient of variation for , hands is 0. Given those findings, the fitness function for a strategy will need to play at least , hands of Blackjack, using the following rules common in real-world casinos :. First, testing with only 5, or 10, hands is not sufficient. Knowing the optimal solution to a problem like this is actually very helpful. Once an effective fitness function is created, the next decision when using a GA is how to do selection.

One of the great things blackjack 21 training machine learning is that there are so many different approaches to solving problems. Could we run withor more hands per test?

This is the very best solution based on fitness score from candidates in generation 0 the first, random generation :. The process of finding good candidates for crossover is called selection, and there are a number of ways to do it.

The idea of a fitness blackjack 21 training is simple. By generation 33, things are starting to become clear:.

The flat click at this page line along the top of the chart is the fitness score for the known, optimal baseline strategy. Reinforcement learning uses rewards-based blackjack 21 training, improving over blackjack 21 training.

The other hints of quality in the strategy are the hard 11 and hard 10 holdings.

The X axis of this chart is the generation number with a maximum ofand the Y axis is the average fitness score per generation. A genetic algorithm GA uses principles from evolution to solve problems.

Tournament selection has already been covered. The more hands played, the smaller the variations will be. And then the final generations are used to refine the strategies. Roulette Wheel Selection selects candidates proportionate to their fitness scores.

Genetic algorithms are essentially driven by fitness functions. But that blackjack 21 training is definitely a case of diminishing returns: the number of tests had to be increased 5x just to get half the variability.

Once this fitness score adjustment is complete, Roulette Wheel blackjack 21 training is used.

The three tables represent a complete strategy for playing Blackjack. The following items can be configured for a run:. There will be large swings in fitness scores reported for the same strategy at these levels. This works just like regular sexual reproduction β genetic material from both parents are combined. The hard hands in particular the table on the left are almost exactly correct. In the case of a Blackjack strategy, the fitness score is pretty straightforward: if you play N hands of Blackjack using the strategy, how much money do you have when done? That means that if the same GA code is run twice in a row, two different results will be returned. That optimal strategy looks something like this:. A pair is self-explanatory, and a hard hand is basically everything else, reduced to a total hand value. Even though we may not know the optimal solution to a problem, we do have a way to measure potential solutions against each other. Population Size. During that run, about , strategies were evaluated. Populations that are too small or too homogenous always perform worse than bigger and more diverse populations. That gives us something called the coefficient of variation , which can be compared to other test values, regardless of the number of hands played. Using such a strategy allows a player to stretch a bankroll as far as possible while hoping for a run of short-term good luck. If you play long enough, you will lose money. Oftentimes, crossover is done proportional to the relative fitness scores, so one parent could end up contributing many more table cells than the other if they had a significantly better fitness score. Standard deviation is scaled to the underlying data. Finally, the best solution found over generations:. The pairs and soft hand tables develop last because those hands happen so infrequently. The goal is to find a strategy that is the very best possible, resulting in maximized winnings over time. Basic concepts get developed first with GAs, with the details coming in later generations. By measuring the standard deviation of the set of scores we get a sense of how much variability we have across the set for a test of N hands. One simple approach is called Tournament Selection , and it works by picking N random candidates from the population and using the one with the best fitness score. The variations from run to run for the same strategy will reveal how much variability there is, which is driven in part by the number of hands tested. The source code for the software that produced these images is open source. As you might imagine, Blackjack has been studied by mathematicians and computer scientists for a long, long time. The fitness function reflects the relative fitness levels of the candidates passed to it, so the scores can effectively be used for selection. With only 12 generations experience, the most successful strategies are those that Stand with a hard 20, 19, 18, and possibly That part of the strategy develops first because it happens so often and it has a fairly unambiguous result. One of the problems with that selection method is that sometimes certain candidates will have such a small fitness score that they never get selected. Each candidate has a fitness score that indicates how good it is. Back in the s, a mathematician named Edward O. The tall table on the left is for hard hands , the table in the upper right is for soft hands , and the table in the lower right is for pairs. The first generation is populated with completely random solutions. By generation 12, some things are starting to take shape:. There are a couple of observations from the chart. A cell in the child is populated by choosing the corresponding cell from one of the two parents. One of the unusual aspects to working with a GA is that it has so many settings that need to be configured. Neural networks are great for finding patterns in data, resulting in predictive capabilities that are truly impressive. Once two parents are selected, they are crossed over to form a child. Since the parents were selected with an eye to fitness, the goal is to pass on the successful elements from both parents. As it turns out, you need to play a lot of hands with a strategy to determine its quality. That evolutionary process is driven by comparing candidate solutions. It reduces variability and increases the accuracy of the fitness function. As impressive as the resulting strategy is, we need to put it into context by thinking about the scope of the problem. The first thing to notice is that the two smallest populations having only and candidates respectively, shown in blue and orange performed the worst of all sizes. Imagine a pie chart with three wedges of size 1, 2, and 5. A higher fitness score for a strategy merely means it lost less money than others might have. Of course. The soft hand and pairs tables are getting more refined:. Running on a standard desktop computer, it took about 75 minutes. The best way to settle on values for these settings is simply to experiment. The solution is to use Ranked Selection , which works by sorting the candidates by fitness, then giving the worst candidate a score of 1, the next worse a score of 2, and so forth, all the way up to the best candidate, which receives a score equal to the population size. In fact, it looks like a minimum of , hands is probably reasonable, because that is the point at which the variability starts to flatten out. Of course, in reality there is no winning strategy for Blackjack β the rules are set up so the house always has an edge. Knowing that, the best possible strategy is the one that minimizes losses. There are a number of different selection techniques to control how much a selection is driven by fitness score vs. Clearly, having a large enough population to ensure genetic diversity is important. The chart here that demonstrates how the variability shrinks as we play more hands:. Here are two other approaches:. The columns along the tops of the three tables are for the dealer upcard, which influences strategy. It works by using a population of potential solutions to a problem, repeatedly selecting and breeding the most successful candidates until the ultimate solution emerges after a number of generations. If, by luck, there are a couple of candidates that have fitness scores far higher than the others, they may be disproportionately selected, which reduces genetic diversity. We solve this by dividing the standard deviation by the average fitness score for each of the test values the number of hands played, that is. Due to the house edge, all strategies will lose money, which means all fitness scores will be negative. Varying each of these gives different results. To use the tables, a player would first determine if they have a pair, soft hand or hard hand, then look in the appropriate table using the row corresponding to their hand holding, and the column corresponding to the dealer upcard. Comparing the results from a GA to the known solution will demonstrate how effective the technique is. To avoid that problem, genetic algorithms sometimes use mutation the introduction of completely new genetic material to boost genetic diversity, although larger initial populations also help.