Ah, the wonders of artificial intelligence. One of the internet’s latest viral crazes has been the public’s awareness of AI language models such as ChatGPT. Such tools promise to revolutionize online communications and type of content you, as a reader, will find everywhere.
Framed properly, such tools can be incredibly informative and useful, though they have limitations. Given the ability to deep-search virtually the entire internet, then synthesize optimum results, these AI tools are going to become a part of everyday life. And yet, as many people are discovering, sometimes an AI tool’s output is rather fanciful, inventing facts for a given query that simply don’t exist.
For example, when I recently asked ChatGPT who I was, it gave me a three-paragraph response that correctly described me a veteran poker writer, but it also gave me credit for authoring an Omaha strategy book that I’ve never even read, much less could claim to have written. Sorry, Jeff Hwang!
But the whole AI thing raises another question. How authoritative a source is ChatGPT or other AI tools? The answer is… it depends. Sometimes these tools are impressive. Other times, in an effort to fully satisfy a query’s intent, the results are laughable.
How ChatGPT and related tools figure into the creation of online content intersects with another concern as well, that of search-engine optimization, or SEO. SEO is that artform of divining ways to describe and list online the content that you create most successfully, so that your target audience can find it more easily.
Ever see a Google search result for something like, “Here’s poker player Phil Ivey’s net worth”? These are pieces designed largely for SEO purposes and to satisfy generalized reader demand. We have fun here with the whole “net worth” topic ourselves from time to time, though we strive to offer real info wherever it’s available. Elsewhere, some sites go overboard in a clickbait sense, just being out there to capture casual traffic but with little other concern. Pure clickbait pieces, as you likely already know, are seldom worth the read.
In a recent discussion about SEO and certain types of clickbait pieces, I cracked a joke about asking ChatGPT to list the net worth of the world’s most famous poker players, just to see what it spit out. It got a chuckle. Then I realized, “Hey, that might be worth doing, just as a factual and SEO test!” So you, dear reader, get to be part of an experiment, too. It’s all in good fun.
Letting ChatGPT pick its own ‘most famous poker players’
I surfed over to the ChatGPT portal, logged in, and gave it a simple and slightly vague query: “Please list and detail the net worth of the world’s ten most famous poker players.”
I was really working two queries into one. First, I was asking ChatGPT to select its version of the world’s ten most famous poker players. Then, it was to detail each player’s supposed net worth and add in a bit of detail.
Here’s what the ChatGPT query produced:
As an AI language model, I can provide you with the estimated net worth of the world’s ten most famous poker players, based on publicly available information up until my knowledge cutoff date of September 2021. It’s worth noting that net worth estimates can vary significantly depending on sources and methodology, and that these numbers are subject to change.
- Dan Bilzerian: Dan Bilzerian is a professional poker player, social media influencer, and entrepreneur. His net worth is estimated to be around $200 million. However, it’s worth noting that the source of his wealth comes from his successful business ventures and trust funds, rather than just his poker career.
- Phil Ivey: Phil Ivey is a professional poker player from the United States. He has won ten World Series of Poker bracelets and has a net worth of approximately $100 million.
- Daniel Negreanu: Daniel Negreanu is a Canadian professional poker player. He has won six World Series of Poker bracelets and is estimated to have a net worth of around $50 million.
- Antonio Esfandiari: Antonio Esfandiari is a professional poker player and former magician from the United States. He has won three World Series of Poker bracelets and has an estimated net worth of around $30 million.
- Bryn Kenney: Bryn Kenney is an American professional poker player. He has won more than $56 million in career earnings and has an estimated net worth of around $30 million.
- Vanessa Selbst: Vanessa Selbst is a retired professional poker player from the United States. She has won three World Series of Poker bracelets and has an estimated net worth of around $10 million.
- Chris Ferguson: Chris Ferguson is a professional poker player from the United States. He has won six World Series of Poker bracelets and has an estimated net worth of around $8 million.
- Erik Seidel: Erik Seidel is a professional poker player from the United States. He has won eight World Series of Poker bracelets and has an estimated net worth of around $7 million.
- Scotty Nguyen: Scotty Nguyen is a professional poker player from Vietnam. He has won five World Series of Poker bracelets and has an estimated net worth of around $6 million.
- Phil Hellmuth: Phil Hellmuth is a professional poker player from the United States. He has won a record 15 World Series of Poker bracelets and has an estimated net worth of around $5 million.
It’s worth noting that these estimates may not be entirely accurate or up-to-date, and the actual net worth of these players may vary depending on factors such as their recent performance, sponsorship deals, and other business ventures.
A virtual bag of mixed results
Note the 2021 cutoff for online content to be included in ChatGPT’s search engine. Including search results from the beginning of internet time up through, say, yesterday, ChatGPT might produce a different top 10; on recent search results alone, you might find Robbi Jade Lew in the top 10.
Also note that the results are sorted by perceived net worth, not that I asked directly. The query’s format made ChatGPT’s heuristics deduce that since “net worth” was the core of the query, the results should be sorted that way.
Bilzerian’s presence at the top of the list is itself thought-provoking. ChatGPT doesn’t really understand the separation between Bilzerian and the core of the poker world, despite Bilzerian’s long history of playing in some of the highest high-stakes cash games to be found. “The King of Instagram” just might be poker’s most notable version of Kim Kardashian, as in being famous for being famous.
ChatGPT’s calculations, though, indicate that fame is fame, no matter how it’s derived. SEO sort of works that way, too.
The list contains other oddities. I wouldn’t have guessed that Chris Ferguson or Vanessa Selbst was so famous as a poker player (as of 2021), to have cracked ChatGPT’s global top 10. Very famous, certainly. But no Doyle Brunson, no Chris Moneymaker, heck, no Mike Postle? It’s a mystery to me.
SImilarly, the actual net worth amounts ChatGPT provides have to be taken with a grain of salt. Certainly Bilzerian is very rich. However, poker players in general are very protective of their net worth. A classic Brunson line from poker’s earlier days even recounts how old-time poker rounders liked to brag to each other about how much their wives were worth. For themselves, no such disclosure.
Even so, it’s hard to imagine that Phil Ivey’s net worth (supposedly $100 million) is 20 times greater than Phil Hellmuth’s (supposedly $5 million). Both of these players have been involved on the ownership side of online poker, and both have enjoyed numerous endorsement opportunities in addition to their perceived financial success at the tables.
Ivey, though, was reported as having been backed into a few high-roller events by other players following the settlement of claims made against him by the Borgata in the long-running mini-baccarat saga between the two sides, in connection with the Borg filing a lien against an Ivey six-figure cash in a 2019 WSOP event. Ivey likely has considerable wealth, but being backed into poker tourneys just doesn’t seem congruent for someone with $100 million of assets. Meanwhile, Hellmuth may not play a ton of high-stakes events, but he has invested in somewhere between a large handful and dozens of business ventures.
The larger lesson? Take all these “net worth” assessments with, if not a grain of salt, at least not as gospel. They’re based on incomplete information. And that often applies to ChatGPT’s output as well. An old computer acronym, GIGO, means “garbage in, garbage out.” ChatGPT and other interpretive AI engines can cast wide, deep nets, but if what they haul in is garbage, what comes out isn’t anything better.
Feature image generated via DALL-e