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Other-LiveWe are professional poker players currently battling the world's strongest poker AI live on Twitch in an epic man-machine competition (The AI is winning). Ask us, or the developers, anything!

Jan 27th 2017 by brains_vs_ai • 10 Questions • 3598 Points

I am founder and CEO of RealVNC, a UK software engineering company which was set up by the inventors of remote access software. RealVNC's technology gives computer, smartphone and other device users the power to 'take over' another device remotely from anywhere in the world. This means workers and businesses can share screens and solve each other's problems without having to leave their own desk.

In 2013, RealVNC won the UK's premier engineering prize, the Royal Academy of Engineering's MacRobert Award, known for recognising influential technology. VNC technology is now used on over a billion devices worldwide, and the protocol used by VNC is an official part of the Internet.

Proof 1: https://twitter.com/RealVNC/status/823578312392003586 Proof 2: https://www.realvnc.com/company-profile/andy-harter/ Proof 3: http://www.raeng.org.uk/news/news-releases/2013/July/software-company-realvnc-wins-uks-premier-prize Proof 4: http://www.raeng.org.uk/grants-and-prizes/prizes-and-medals/other-awards/the-macrobert-award Proof 5: https://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc6143

Q:

This is a question for Dong. Are the other three guys going to chip in to pay for a massage for your back, which I assume is super sore from carrying the team for 20 days?

A:

What kind of reactions did you get from friends and family? Any notable stories?

How many people work your farm? Do you have a photogenic burro?

Have you considered some sort of rental accommodation on site? Have you had an influx of friends and family wanting to visit?


Q:

Hi Andy - Did you ever pay for WinRAR in your lifetime?

A:

Dong: I hope so.


Q:

What kind of reactions did you get

A lot of surprise and some envy. Most people were really supportive and congratulated us for making the change. Our immediate families were probably the most worried because they didn't want us to lose all of our savings doing something stupid.

How many people work your farm?

My husband and I are the only full time employees but we do have a couple of work traders who work about 10 hours a week in exchange for living in our employee housing (individual rooms but with a shared bathroom and kitchen).

Do you have a photogenic burro?

I wish! I am dying to get a donkey because they are so cute. But my husband says it would be a waste of money. We do have some really cute goats though.

Have you considered some sort of rental accommodation on site? Have you had an influx of friends and family wanting to visit?

No Air BnB set up or anything like that but we do have an area where pickers can rent during the picking season. And yes tons of friends and family have come to visit. We love having visitors because our island is pretty rural and it can be nice to break things up.

A:

No, I use 7-zip ;-)


Q:

1) I've seen the bot turn very strong hands into bluffs in spots that I wouldn't really think it would as well just jam with nothing and no real relevant blockers. Do you think that the bot has been trying to exploit the humans in spots where it believes that the human range is capped or do you just think it's playing GTO and remaining balanced?

2) I've seen Jason increase pre flop raise sizing as the challenge has progressed. What's the reason behind this + do you think it's been helping?

3) How do you think the bot would fair against the best in the world (OTB, Sauce, Doug)? Not that you guys aren't awesome.

4) Do you ever tank on every action to let the computer feel some of it's own medicine?

Love the streams. Can't believe this shit doesn't get more viewers.

A:

My family vacationed out there a few times. Lovely space. We spoke with another Coffee farmer who mentioned this work trade concept, and my daughter was intrigued. Where can we find out more what other places offer similar circumstance on the islands? Is there a posting forum?


Q:

This will determine how guilty I feel for the rest of my life.

A:

1) Dong: The bot doesn't give a shit about its range being capped. Second, I think it just picks a frequency and categorizes its checks and bets into different sizes. Jason: I think it's very rarely not taking blockers into account. It seems to always take blockers into account in every situation.

2) Jason: We've all been increasing our preflop sizes. It's our attempt to take advantage of any perceived weakness in Libratus. Dong: It's hard to tell if it's helping.

3) Dong: I think it would be very similar results regardless of which pro was playing.

4) Dong: Sometimes I have the nuts and bot jams on me and I go get a coffee so I can come back to a good situation. For the most part though, I come back to a really shitty situation.


Q:

Yeah check out WwoofUSA and Wwoofhawaii. That's where we originally got people. The work traders we have now are from just posting on facebook - they are much more long term people though and are all living here indefinitely and not just for a couple weeks/months.

A:

the next hardest thing is dealing with keyboards


Q:

Won't this destroy online poker?

A:

Assuming that you took a pay cut, at least at the beginning, can you tell us what makes it worth it?

Thanks.


Q:

How long was RealVNC in development before the first version was 'good to go'?

(It seems to have always been around, but it'd be great to know how much went on 'behind the scenes' before we'd heard of it!)

A:

Its just a matter of time. It was a good run


Q:

Yes we both took a huge paycut and we will probably never replace that with farming. But what were we really working for in Chicago? We were saving to buy a house (which we now have) and working until we could take our next vacation to a place like Hawaii (where we now live). It's not that we have EVERYTHING we could want (I would LOVE a pool), but I am a lot more fulfilled than I was in Chicago.

A:

VNC started life inside a research lab back in 93/94. we used it a lot internally and developed it quite extensively before deciding to give it to the world in 1998... the rest is history!


Q:

Noam, after the challenge, it would be great if you could do an AMA to answer some questions we have during the challenge about Libratus' strategies and learning and adjustment capabilities. Would you and/or Prof. Sandholm be willing to do that?

A:

[deleted]


Q:

How long was RealVNC in development before the first version was 'good to go'?

(It seems to have always been around, but it'd be great to know how much went on 'behind the scenes' before we'd heard of it!)

A:

Noam: I'd definitely be interested in that. Maybe a Science AMA.


Q:

I lived right by the United Center for awhile (not the best neighborhood but what I could afford at the time) and then when I moved in with my now-husband we lived in Old Town. And yeah Chicago really is the best. I miss it all the time.

A:

One of the most creative was in what was perhaps the worlds first fully functional smartphone in 1999, a project which I was responsible for too! Check it out here:

http://imgur.com/a/1MJtI


Q:

Have you considered bringing on Will Kassouf to try the speech play angle?

A:

[deleted]


Q:

Because your ISP hadn't changed anything the first time you did it. Once they've reassigned your MAC/DNS/IP or whatever was wrong, the easiest way to pick up the change is to reboot.

A:

Jason: We're willing to try anything at this point


Q:

Dude I know. We just rented but definitely could not afford to buy there.

A:

The idea for the business came much later in 2002, after we had made the software freely available under an open source license in 1998. We founded the company with cash from merchandising and donations - we pioneered the crowdfunding idea before it was even called that, which didn't happen until 2006!


Q:

How do you think the outcome of this match will affect the future of poker?

A:

Mahalo for the AMA

Which varieties do you grow?

What kind of roaster are you using?

Do you plan to offer single varieties or your peaberry solo in the future?

Do you grow any 'Awa?


Q:

Had you played with stuff like Timbuktu - which does similar things but was developed in the late 1980s for Mac?

A:

Jason: The fact is the AI exists, and it's extremely tough whether we win or lose. Even if we were to just barely win, it would have been an AI that could beat essentially everyone. This is going to be a problem for internet poker as time goes on.


Q:

Which varieties do you grow?

We grow almost all Arabica (Kona Typica specifically). We have about 10 trees of a hybrid called Kona Passion as a test and we may plant more of those because they are turing out great.

What kind of roaster are you using?

I roast on a Sonofresco. It's a really nice roaster for small batches.

Do you plan to offer single varieties or your peaberry solo in the future?

Yes! I actually just got that graded out a couple weeks ago for the first time so we now have about 50lbs of it that we can sell this year. I am just waiting for the peaberry stamp to come in the mail that I ordered for our labels and then it will be added to the website for purchase!

Do you grow any 'Awa?

No we don't, mostly because even though the effects are cool I think it tastes like mud.

A:

we knew of it but our vision and philosophy was much broader particularly because we were using windows, linux, mac and proprietary embedded display systems in the lab


Q:

What is the dumbest thing you've seen the AI do so far?

A:

I hope this isn't prying too much, but what did it take for you to get started? I've always had a dream to do something similar. Was it very risky? Did you need loans etc, or start with savings? (Trying to figure out what it would take to start myself).


Q:

What are some of the popular names using this technology and what do you think is the next big thing in your field?

Bonus question: Does 'taking over' devices shown in movies come remotely close to what real-life hackers can do? If so, how?

Thank you.

A:

Jason: I opened JJ it called. Flop 872 rainbow, I cbet about 2/3 pot and it went all in for 200bb with KTo. This isn't necessarily "dumb" but it was quite "WTF"


Q:

We started with a pretty sizable amount of savings but we did get a mortgage (the mortgage process is tricky with a farm but do-able especially because there are farm service agencies to help you).

If you are wanting to come to Hawaii, it is much cheaper to buy a leasehold than a fee simple property. You are supposed to commercially farm your leasehold though so unless you plan to do that, I wouldn't consider one.

If you want to start a farm yourself, I would recommend visiting the place you want to farm (if that is HI, then come here) and meet with local farmers! The farm bureau in the area you are looking at should have some great resources also the Farm Service Agency is great (at least in Hawaii) and has all the info on grants and special loans for beginning farmers.

Also, idk if you are a woman or a minority, but there are even better FSA loans if you are. Good luck!

A:

Bonus answer: no, not really. the real world is always far more complex than the few minutes that filmmakers have to depict a scene.


Q:

"who" won the hand?

A:

My wife and I are constantly dreaming of moving to hawaii and growing our own food, and living simpler. We will actually be on the big island at the end of april. Part of our trip will be spent right up the hill from two step (which I know is coffee country) Could I send you a PM and maybe set up a time where we could come check out your operation? I would love to pick your brain about leasehold land, growing seasons, etc.


Q:

Also generally less exciting!

A:

Jason: When we go all-in, we just split the pot according to our equity our hands have vs each other. So, I won the majority of the pot.


Q:

Yes absolutely! We're just up the hill from there. Shoot me a PM or feel free to email me (contact info is on our site).

A:

Every industry, every sector, government, education - fortune 500 last time we looked. It's everyone from Disney to Phillips, Intel to NASA, Google to Honda.


Q:

How excited are you guys to go crush some regular human opponents after trying to grind it out against Skynet? More seriously: how has your strategy improved from facing an opponent like Libratus? Are you gonna start overbetting more frequently you think?

A:

answer the money question for fark's sake. break it down. farm price. equipment, etc. startup costs. monthly expenses. ballpark. no one's judging, get over it. please. jeebus why is everyone so avoidant of money questions.


Q:

That's sounds good, but how does the pricing work out for that? Say we have 100,000 end users, but on one day our support team only need to connect to <50 systems throughout the day to troubleshoot, probably <4 running at the same time.

Also can you configure it just to show our application rather than the whole desktop, and restrict connections only from our IP address for safety? I guess we'd set it up as requiring them to launch it from within a menu.

A:

Jason: Once you face Libratus, there's nothing worse any human could ever do to you. Every human is going to seem like a walk in the park.

Jason + Dong: We are definitely going to start overbetting more frequently. It takes a lot of studying to figure out the right way to do it though. The moment you're somewhat imbalanced there (bluffing too much, or bluffing too little) then you're making a huge mistake.


Q:

Okay our farm price was slightly over a million. However that included a house and barn, catchment tanks and all 20 acres was fenced. So the land itself I would guess would have been around 500k. We own it in fee simple which makes it a lot more expensive than leasehold land.

Startup costs were high. We didn't buy that much equipment but the trees were approx $10 each and we have over 3000 (8 acres planted). We have a tractor now but that has a payment plan. One of the biggest costs of startup was grubbing the land (bulldozing the existing grasses and shrubs - we left the trees) which IIRC was around 5k/acre. We also had to install a ton of erosion controls, plant a cover crop, get all our permits in order etc. Startup costs were certainly over 6 figures.

A:

that's getting a bit salesy - happy to have someone talk to you about this. pm me your e-mail.


Q:

Why are you all opening to 6x from the button?

A:

Thank you! Very informative.

Interesting you managed to own the land outright versus the usual 30 year leaseholds in the area. Oftentimes there are chunks of land that require Hawaiian ethnicity to own the land or get the leasehold. Mind shedding light on what you had to do to own the land outright versus the usual leasehold? Just ask and pay?


Q:

you're behind "hallo world" ? :O

A:

Dong: Desperate times, desperate measures.


Q:

Land here is already set aside as being "leashold" land or fee simple land. The land we wanted was already listed as fee simple in the regular MLS. We didn't do anything special just bought it like anyone would through a realtor.

A:

is "hello world?" an application? #philosophy :)


Q:

This is to Jason and Dong.

  1. Do you tend to bluff more against the bot than against a human player?

  2. What would you say is the bots strongest game? Preflop, postflop, turn or river?

A:

Have you guys had any difficulties being accepted by locals?


Q:

1) Jason: No, not at all. You have to be very careful with your bluffs against Libratus because he's not subject to emotion like humans are. Dong: There are humans that fold 100% in some situations, or never make a bluff in a scary situation. But the bot doesn't care. Humans have an unwritten rule that they won't bluff in some spots, but the bot does it anyway.

2) Dong: Turn.

A:

I think there is a lot of racism towards outsiders in Hawaii but on our island at least that is focused on the other side of the island (Hilo side). But also, I think a lot of that centers on dislike of snowbirds who drive up housing costs and do not even contribute to our economy 6 months out of the year. I can tell you it is really hard for farmers/restaurants etc. to make money during the summer which is off-season. Personally I haven't experienced many problems like that but also I try to be respectful of locals, of the land and supportive of "local" issues like schooling etc even though we don't have any kids.


Q:

This is to Dong.

What would your thoughts be, if they after the challenge revealed that you didn't play against the bot but played against Doug Polk?

A:

Hey! I've found this diving on the internet. What do you think of making flour from the cherries?

https://youtu.be/1z34kIq2BWk


Q:

Dong: I would be very surprised, because Doug Polk was shooting a video behind us while we were playing. That's some impressive multitasking.

A:

I know of one other farm here doing it and it seems pretty cool but honestly such a pain that I probably wouldn't do it. In a zombie apocalypse situation though, that is definitely a good thing to know about lol.


Q:

Do you guys think that if you had a year to review the hand histories, that you could beat this current version of the AI?? Or at least come close?

A:

Neeeeaaaaat!

Do you grow other foods for yourself in the farm or just the coffee?

Is this kind of a retirement fun thing for you guys, or an active and goal-oriented moneymaking thing?

Do you sell your coffee as a single sourced bean product or is it combined with other farms' beans for sale?

I haven't looked at the website yet, not sure if it might answer that last question...


Q:

Jason: I think if we had infinite time to study and play on any schedule we wanted, we could get closer. But I don't think we could beat it.

A:

Do you grow other foods for yourself in the farm or just the coffee?

Yes we grow tons of other food - mostly vegetables but we raise goats for milk and meat, chickens for eggs and meat and sometimes trap wild boar that is in the coffee field for meat.

Is this kind of a retirement fun thing for you guys, or an active and goal-oriented moneymaking thing?

Haha not at all a retirement thing. I am only 30! We are trying to make a living doing this but we are still fairly new and our coffee isn't quite old enough to be producing enough for us to turn a profit just on that. We also do events, have a CSA and run a local homebrew supply shop out of our farm to suppliment our income from the coffee.

Do you sell your coffee as a single sourced bean product or is it combined with other farms' beans for sale?

We only sell coffee from our farm. We do sell green to a couple roasters who roast it and sell it under their label, but the majority of our coffee we sell ourselves under our label.


Q:

Are these robots heads up only? Are there robots who can play tournaments?

A:

Reply to THEIR comment, not mine, or they won't see it.


Q:

Noam: The bot is currently only heads up. A lot of the methods can be applied to games like 6-max, but we haven't really tried that yet.

A:

Usually good advice but I am just reading through the thread to make sure I don't miss anyone.


Q:

Do any of you feel you've learnt or are learning things & improving your own game by playing this AI bot? If you'd like to elaborate, feel free, but I understand the need to remain as mysterious as possible.

A:

Reply to THEIR comment, not mine, or they won't see it.


Q:

Jason: Yeah definitely. Playing Libratus has really forced me to push my poker knowledge to the limit in every situation. Plus, the best way to get better at poker is to play people who are better than you.

A:

Website is www.Sunshowercoffee.com and coupon up in the top - 15% off with code "reddit."


Q:

Do you see this progression in AI technology as an issue for the future of poker, specifically regarding online play?

A:

Hi there! Hope you see this when you wake up. We're a couple in our 30's in a big city and are considering giving up the corporate life for something like what you've done. What's a typical day like for you managing the farm? In the course of a year, is there an off-season or time when you leave to visit family or take vacations? Do you work the farm yourself or do you hire help?

Finally, have you visited the [vanilla farm](www.hawaiianvanilla.com)? I did on my last visit and thought it was a really cool family operation.

Mahalo


Q:

Dong: Not in the near future, but we should be worried. I'm no rocket scientist, but I assume that anything with computers grows exponentially. The end is near. It was a good run.

A:

Our days really vary! We wake up usually around 7 and to-work around 830 or 9. Not every day is spent working outside - Doug likes to do a one on one off if possible just because it is really tiring doing manual labor. I usually start by doing things on our website, social media, filling orders etc. in the morning because that makes most sense with the time zones to the US. Then in the afternoon I work on projects in the garden or wherever. We are in dry season right now so a fair bit of my time is spent irrigating and hand watering the gardens around our house.

There isnt really an "off season" for us but I guess summer is the easiest time to leave because we don't have any harvesting going on then. We do work the farm ourselves but we hire a lot of help when we need it - especially for picking.

I haven't visited that vanilla farm but we did visit one when we first moved here. I LOVE local vanilla.


Q:

Part of what attracted me to Hold'em is the idea that it might be unsolvable: there's surely an optimal way to play, that will pay out over a very large number of hands, but so much of the game is based on human psychology which can be wildly variable.

Do you anticipate that AI's can become unbeatable at this game over a certain number of hands? (Are we there already?)

Is there a psychological component to the game that cannot be solved by an AI? (Where a human player, on a shorter run, might do better against an erratic or seemingly illogical opponent?)

A:

Hi and thank you for taking the time. I've got a couple questions for you :). I've been to a couple coffee plantations around Kona, and enjoyed every minute.

  • What spurred your move as professionals in a big (and cold) city to farmers on the relatively sleepy island of Hawaii?

  • Have bore weevils become an issue on your farm? If so, have they had a big impact on your business, and if not, how have you managed to avoid them? They were a common topic on the plantations I visited.

Thank you!


Q:

dong :I believe any game should be solvable, its just a matter of can we do it within our lifetime. With computer power/better algorithms, I dont think we are too far off. Fwiw, I dont think Libratus is anywhere near "perfectly solved" in terms of game theory. I just think us humans have been so far from the true equilibrium.

I dont think Fix limit holdem/chess/go is perfectly solved yet either. Its basically solved in terms of humans vs AI

A:

That's cool that you have been to a few farms in Kona! It is a really great area for ag tourism, and there are some really cool tours (especially of historical coffee farms)!

What spurred your move as professionals in a big (and cold) city to farmers on a the relatively sleepy island of Hawaii?

We knew we wanted to move to somewhere with warmer weather and where we could buy a bit of land. I don't think we ever imagined we would be farmers (maybe that we would just have a nice big garden) but when we fell in love with a farm right in the Kona Coffee Belt, the only way to justify the purchase was if we planted coffee and made the property earn a little income for us.

Have bore weevils become an issue on your farm? If so, have they had a big impact on your business, and if not, how have you managed to avoid them?

I assume you mean Coffee Borer Beetles (CBB) and yes, they are a huge issue for us (and I think all other coffee farmers). We are especially hard hit because of our elevation (2400 ft.). Lower elevation coffees have an easier time of it because they have a portion of the year when their trees are totally bare of coffee cherry. At higher elevations, we have the next year's coffee flowering on our top branches before this year's coffee has been harvested at the lower branches which gives the CBB the opportunity to eat our cherry all year round.

They do hurt our business (in that we have less high grade coffee), but there is a fungus that we spray every three weeks on our coffee and it significantly reduces the CBB populations. This year we lost about 5% of our coffee to CBB which really isn't that bad compared to what farms were losing before the bassiana Fungus became available.


Q:

Does Libratus have an understanding of perceived opponent player strength? To be specific, could it rank Dong, Jason, Daniel, and Jimmy?

A:

How do you and your husband brew your coffee? (French press, drip machine etc). And finally now that coffee is your career how has it affected your coffee drinking habits both at home and when you are traveling?


Q:

Noam: The bot calculates what it thinks they should do in their situation. It can tell if it thinks they are making mistakes.

A:

We typically brew our coffee pour over (if we just want one cup) or french press in the morning. We have a bodum insulated french press that I love and we will make it first thing and drink about 12-14 oz each of that. We also have a nice burr grinder which we never had in Chicago but is pretty much essential to good coffee.

When I am traveling in the US I seek out good roasters and always want to try their coffee. The main thing I look for are roasters who are supporting their farmers. You can tell by the price of their coffee and usually their marketing materials. If they can sell coffee for $10 or less a pound, they are not paying producers enough (in my opinion) no matter where in the world it comes from.

When I was in Europe last year I barely drank any coffee because everything was roasted so dark! It is common for coffee to be roasted really dark in Hawaii too but personally I only drink light or medium roasts. Even medium tastes burnt to me now. You can't taste the origin with coffee like that so I just loaded mine up with cream.


Q:

If you do end up getting beaten by the AI, do you think it will help or hurt getting online poker legalized in the US?

A:

What percentage of the coffee in a bag must be grown in Kona in order to market it a "Kona Coffee?"


Q:

Jason: I think it has little effect. I think the mechanisms for legalizing poker have more to do with special interests than anything.

A:

Legally only 10% must be from Kona and it has to be prime grade or higher. Those are supposed to be labeled "Kona Blend" and say the origins of the other coffees but SO MANY people get away with not doing that. To make sure you are drinking real Kona coffee, it should say "100% Kona Coffee" on the bag.

If it says that it will also be above a certain grade because to protect our brand quality as a region, you are not allowed to use shit coffee, even if it is grown in Kona, and call it Kona. Mediocre coffee can be called "Hawaiian" and worse than that it can't even be called Hawaiian. At the lowest grades people don't even drink it - it gets used it for face scrubs and stuff.


Q:

I play midstakes 6 max, should I just quit poker in light of this? Can I not just assume that I should expect 3 bot assisted Russians per table within 6-8 months?

A:

Do you guys sell/ship coffee internationally?


Q:

DONG: good thing for you, its much more complex to solve a ring game. Not only is there actions, betsizes cards etc, but now you have to deal with multiple players. I would march forward

A:

Unfortunately no. We do ship to Canada on request but it is $25 shipping so usually no one is interested.


Q:

What's the bots xr frequency f/t/r?

A:

How much do you pay the people who pick coffee for you? by the hour? by the bushel?


Q:

Dong: Around 9, 8, and 12.

A:

We pay our pickers by the pound. They make $.70/lb and can typically pick around 200lbs in a day on average. In your final pound of coffee from us between $6 and $8 of the cost is picker pay.


Q:

For the developers and Dong/Jason: What's the computing power necessary for this? Isn't the bot tanking way longer than any reasonable time bank online would grant? If there is a lot of power required for this aren't we a long way off from Joe smith running something like this on their laptop?

A:

Sounds like they work in exchange for a place to sleep. I lived in Maui for a time, and found this is quite common on the islands. Google 'WWOOFing' if you want to know more!


Q:

DONG : " Isn't the bot tanking way longer than any reasonable time bank online would grant?"

~Yes, so this is why it cant be applied in real time for online poker. as of yet...

A:

No the people who work-trade for us just help out milking the goats, cleaning the chicken coop etc. They usually don't pick coffee but when they do they get paid just like all of the other pickers.


Q:

Do you think it might be possible to tilt the AI by calling it a "bad reg" or with a well timed "BAZAM"?

A:

Hello! I was just on the big island a few weeks ago and visited another Kona coffee farm, mountain thunder, my question is does your coffee differ from theirs at all? and how? also what is the best/ your favorite way to brew Kona coffee!


Q:

shout out to upswingpoker :D

A:

Yes our coffee differs a LOT from theirs. Mountain Thunder (while a seller of 100% Kona), does not grow their coffee all from one estate. They buy cherry (or green maybe?) from a bunch of different farms all of whom have different elevations, farming methods, tree varieties, level of care etc. Their coffee could sometimes be great and sometimes (more often) is shit but always it is over roasted.

I think aeropress is a great way to brew Kona but really if you are brewing properly (right temp, right grind etc.) I think any method tastes good. I even had our light roast as espresso which was really unusual but tasty!


Q:

Doug and others in EE have stated many times that you guys don't use solver software for learning HUNL. Without software, how are you able to determine pseudo-optimal frequencies that you can exploit should an opponent deviate? Is equilab truly the only software you use haha?

edit: and PT4 obv

A:

This is so annoying. My wife and I stayed at the sheraton kona resort in 2015, and if we'd known we would've paid a visit!

My question is, do you ship to Europe?


Q:

Jason: We truly do not use any solvers. We bust out the spreadsheets and the equilabs to get the answers we need. You don't need a solver to determine optimal exploitative frequencies if you understand poker theory and math.

A:

We would ship to europe but I have no idea about the customs or shipping cost. If you are willing to pay for the shipping, yeah we would ship!


Q:

A few for Noam.

1) If you are summing the mirrored hands, it's possible that using equity chops will lead to higher variance in the samples. A simple example being one hand gets all in on the turn and the mirror gets all in on the river. Do you think the equity chops will overall lead to less variance?

2) Have you thought about setting up the experiment where the bot plays against 1 human and the mirrored hands are the bot playing against itself?

3) Any comments on the "DeepStack" (https://arxiv.org/abs/1701.01724) bot which was published recently? How strong / weak would it be compared to Libratus? The paper claims the algo runs on a single desktop machine, although it looks like it was trained on much more hardware.

A:

Was just in Kona over winter break I heard a some people talking about you business but didn't get the chance to check it out while I was in town, congrats though.

What's the average temp and weather conditions up on the mountain?


Q:

Noam: 1) We checked after the last competition and found that equity chops reduce variance even with mirrored hands, though not by much.

2) There are a lot of variance reduction techniques out there, but they can be difficult to verify externally. It's easier for outsiders to understand and trust mirrored hands and equity chops.

3) This competition has kept me super busy, so I haven't read the paper in detail. It looks interesting, and some of the techniques they use are similar to our nested endgame solving approach, but it's impossible to say how it compares to Libratus based on the results in the paper. I would need to see results against benchmark bots, or against top Head's Up No-Limit Texas Hold'em pros in a format like ours. Honestly though, I can't imagine it's stronger than Libratus.

A:

You heard about our business! That's great! Because we're new we don't have much of a following built up. Average temp is right about 70 - it's 67 right now. The weather here is truly perfect as far as temp. Winter is dry season and summer is wet. It rains basically every day over the summer.


Q:

Question for the developers: if you win this, are you staying with Poker? What would your next target be? Moving on to other games or projects?

A:

Hello! I hope you're still responding to questions as I'd love to know a bit more about what you do. I co-founded a roastery based in Southern California, and one of the big interests for me is sourcing. I'm fascinated by the work that goes into it and we're so fortunate to be able to buy coffee from our friends, and involve them in projects that we're excited about. So what I want to know from you, as an American producer is this:

What is the future of American coffee production? Where do you feel it will be headed, and how will you create a sustainable situation for yourself?

I ask because one of the big things stopping Hawaiian coffee (and a lot of coffee around the world) from getting big, in my opinion, is cost. We're fortunate to have some of the coffees that we have, that are (relatively) expensive but go a long way towards helping the people who produce it. But American coffee, due to labor and agriculture regulations, will never be that cheap. That makes it a challenge for you, as a producer, to get the attention of roasters, because the opportunity just isn't there (so many people I know roast Panama geisha lots and are very fortunate to barely break even on them).

So I'd love to hear the thoughts on that. Is it a huge goal for you to turn it into a massive growing operation? Or do you like where you are, and don't plan on making it bigger? And if so, how do you create a sustainable situation that allows you to maintain that with the creeping popularity of coffee elsewhere?

Thanks! Looking forward to (hopefully) hearing your thoughts!


Q:

Noam: I haven't thought ahead of this goal really. But I think it would be nice to branch out a bit.

A:

Yep I am still here!

That is awesome that you are a professional roaster and you care about sourcing! Personally I think that it is roasters (even more than the consumers) - and how they educate their customers - who will shape how the coffee industry moves going forward.

What is the future of American coffee production? Where do you feel it will be headed, and how will you create a sustainable situation for yourself?

So to clarify, by American coffee production, you mean American coffee growing right? Coffee is really only grown in Hawaii (although I did hear that UC Davis is trying to do some test trees) which makes it a little easier to sum-up.

I think Hawaiian coffee is actually in an okay place. We have the CBB which has been hard for our industry, but we are fighting it and most farms have been pretty successful in mitigating losses. We still have a ton of people around the world who seek out Hawaiian coffees - particularly in Japan - and I know a lot of farms that sell ALL of their coffee as green to Japan. We don't do that because I haven't wanted to work with a distributor and prefer to sell directly to the roasters and know the people who will be taking our green to the finished product. I don't think we will ever get rich farming Kona coffee, but my hope is that in the coming years we will have a pretty loyal customer base and a few great roasters so that we can project out sales and spend less time on the marketing end. If we are able to do that, we can plan for potentially adding more trees or just working less in general on our coffee business and spend more time on other areas of our business that make money (like our event space).

I ask because one of the big things stopping Hawaiian coffee (and a lot of coffee around the world) from getting big, in my opinion, is cost.

I mean, Hawaii isn't that big and we don't produce that much coffee (in comparison to many other growing regions). I don't think anyone here wants or needs Hawaiian coffee to "get big" because most farms are able to sell their coffee. However, what I would really like to see (and this is where roasters come in) is an overhaul in coffee consumer education. I want people to understand (especially roasters!!) that our coffee is expensive not because we just think it is worth more but because it costs more to produce.

I have had roasters say to me "why do you think your coffee is worth 4x and much a ___ coffee when it isn't 4x as good?" And really that is a hard question to answer because it isn't "worth" more unless you place value on your coffee being produced with (more than) fair labor conditions and in compliance with real environmental laws. It's a hard road to convince someone to care about something they don't care about and it really comes off "preachy" which I hate.

Is it a huge goal for you to turn it into a massive growing operation? Or do you like where you are, and don't plan on making it bigger? And if so, how do you create a sustainable situation that allows you to maintain that with the creeping popularity of coffee elsewhere?

Our property is only 20 acres and right now 8 of that is planted in coffee. Even if we planted every possible area with coffee, we probably could only plant 15ish acres just because of how our house and chicken area and stuff is. It's in the works to maybe consider adding 4 more acres if it makes financial sense a few years from now - but even that is not a big operation at all. We would only add that section if we were easily selling out of our entire crop of coffee from the 8 acres, so it would be I hope sustainable even though other origins are gaining in popularity.

I want to be clear though that I don't see other origins as our competition because I feel like there is a ton of market share for all of the great coffee from around the world. Our competition is starbucks, dunkin, k cups, shit grocery store coffee etc. and I hope to eat away at a (admittedly very small) part of their customer base just through consumer education. Which is actually part of the reason I did this AMA.

I think the craft beer industry is a good example - for years and years there has been room in the market for more and more craft breweries and those craft breweries were barely competing with eachother. They were taking away business from bud light, but not from each other. Now days there is SO MUCH great beer that breweries are starting and failing all the time, and only the good ones are succeeding. But coffee isnt there yet. Third wave coffee is still on the rise, we haven't reached that over-saturation point (not even close I think). But I am not an economist or anything - that is just my opinion based on totally anecdotal evidence.


Q:
  1. Is the bot doing much leading on any streets in single raised, 3b, or 4b pots?

  2. What's the worst hand you've seen the bot call a preflop jam with? Worst hand it has jammed pre with?

  3. Is it going animal in srp's where it's faced with a river bet after action has checked down either as the pfr or the caller?

A:

Hello, and thank you for your thorough and insightful response! It's wonderful to know that you have a great understanding of your market, and your end goal.

So to clarify, by American coffee production, you mean American coffee growing right? Coffee is really only grown in Hawaii (although I did hear that UC Davis is trying to do some test trees) which makes it a little easier to sum-up.

There's actually a farm just north of us in Santa Barbara that is growing! It's also cool to know that UCD is trying to test as well. I think the hard part is that due to the climate here (neither Santa Barbara nor Davis are particularly humid relative to other coffee growing nations, and the frost point isn't low enough that the comparative altitude doesn't make for much of a similar growing situation as like...2000masl in Kenya), so the coffee...tastes like low altitude coffee. I'd love to try to roast some of their coffee though, to see what's up, only problem is that we can't afford it.

I have had roasters say to me "why do you think your coffee is worth 4x and much a ___ coffee when it isn't 4x as good?" And really that is a hard question to answer because it isn't "worth" more unless you place value on your coffee being produced with (more than) fair labor conditions and in compliance with real environmental laws. It's a hard road to convince someone to care about something they don't care about and it really comes off "preachy" which I hate.

This is tricky on our end too! The thing is...as we have the direct line to consumers and wholesale accounts, we have to explain to them why the coffee is expensive. And while we've been able to do that, we still get a bit of pushback (we spend a lot for our coffee, so our wholesale costs might not be easily as approachable). The thing is, if we are having trouble making an argument from a price perspective despite the fact that we source from dry mills in Africa that provide some of the only opportunities for employment for women in the area, it's going to be a lot harder for us to make the argument that even more expensive coffee is also worth it. So it's one thing that someone like me sees the value in paying a lot for coffees that really do a lot to bring opportunity to the people that grow and process it, but it's another for me to create a sustainable business plan off of it (because even if it just represents one part of our entire product offering, it's still money and effort). It's hard, for sure, but I totally empathize with where you're coming from!

However, what I would really like to see (and this is where roasters come in) is an overhaul in coffee consumer education. I want people to understand (especially roasters!!) that our coffee is expensive not because we just think it is worth more but because it costs more to produce.

I completely agree with you that a consumer education effort is huge, and absolutely necessary, because so many consumers are blasted with information and farm names just become farm names. One of the things we wanted to prioritize, and to educate on, is the story of our coffees, and the real people behind them, but consumers just aren't interested yet (though we're trying). Once consumers understand the effort that goes into producing the coffee, we hope that our prices will be more justifiable (because specialty coffee tends to be expensive, but what people don't see is the slim margins on both the producer and roaster end).

I want to be clear though that I don't see other origins as our competition because I feel like there is a ton of market share for all of the great coffee from around the world. Our competition is starbucks, dunkin, k cups, shit grocery store coffee etc. and I hope to eat away at a (admittedly very small) part of their customer base just through consumer education. Which is actually part of the reason I did this AMA.

What I mean is that for a roaster, we only have so much ability to take on so much coffee, and we want to have a well rounded selection of offerings but there are a lot of situations that make it difficult for us to pick up coffees from a lot of different locations that we'd otherwise love love LOVE to work with. You may get a roaster who looks at coffee and says, "At that price, I'd rather get something from PNG" because...(and I hesitate to say this but I feel like it might be true) some of them only care about rounding out their offerings. But I guess that's why it's up to you to vet your roasters and choose the ones who really want to focus on sharing your story and product at a price that is fair to you, and hopefully you can get a sustainable relationship from that!

I think the craft beer industry is a good example - for years and years there has been room in the market for more and more craft breweries and those craft breweries were barely competing with eachother. They were taking away business from bud light, but not from each other. Now days there is SO MUCH great beer that breweries are starting and failing all the time, and only the good ones are succeeding. But coffee isnt there yet. Third wave coffee is still on the rise, we haven't reached that over-saturation point (not even close I think). But I am not an economist or anything - that is just my opinion based on totally anecdotal evidence

I hope this is the case. I think a lot about coffee and then I meet people who are into specialty coffee but aren't as into it as I am, and I suddenly realize that it's a very deep pond with not a lot of people who are on the deepest end - we just feel that way here (cause there's a LOT of roasters and shops in Southern California) because we see each other and hang out so much that it just feels that specialty coffee is everywhere.

Out of curiosity, what is the total production / acre that you guys are at right now? And what varietals do you guys have going on?


Q:

Jason: The bot is leading on basically any street in any type of pot. It's quite unusual to deal with.

We saw it get in 66 preflop once, maybe 33 but I don't remember.

Yeah it will go HAM on the river after checks quite often. You get in real tough situations where you never have that strong of a hand.

A:

There's actually a farm just north of us in Santa Barbara

I had no idea about that! Cool! I haven't tried the CA coffee and I don't think it is likely to be that good just based on climate. But I think more people doing coffee research (especially in the US) will only be good for me. So the more the merrier.

Re: cost and consumer education:

I TOTALLY get it that not all roasters can buy Hawaiian coffees and I don't think it is necessarily even a bad thing that they don't. It is just frustrating to me personally when they flat out do not even consider it because of price. Roasters are businesses though, not charities, and you have to plan for what your customers will buy and do what is best for staying in business. You won't be helping any farms if you go under.

That said, the roasters we do work with have found that they can work our coffee into their business plan when they don't buy that much. We sell our green by the pound, not by the 100lb bag, so that roasters can buy the exact amount that will fit in their business. One of the roasters we work with primarily sells our coffee buy the cup in his coffee shop and he only buys 10lbs at a time. Even though 10lbs of green isn't that much for us, we still really appreciate the business and every little bit helps. And he is educating his consumers 1 cup at a time about Hawaiian coffee, and they may come back and want more which means he will be able to buy more.

Re: margins - yes I think it is very hard for consumers to understand the difference in pricing between commodity coffee and single origin estate coffee. The margins are huge in commodity coffee and even "fair trade" coffee. That is how you can buy an $8 lb of coffee at Dunkin donuts or whatever.

What I mean is that for a roaster, we only have so much ability to take on so much coffee, and we want to have a well rounded selection of offerings but there are a lot of situations that make it difficult for us to pick up coffees from a lot of different locations that we'd otherwise love love LOVE to work with.

Ahh okay sorry I don't think I understood what you meant. So I get that roasters want to offer a variety of coffees and can't always justify sticking a Hawaiian coffee in a slot when they could get a great Nicaraguan or whatever for a 1/4 of the price. There are only so many slots (packaging and stuff costs money for each type) and you need to focus on what will sell.

The roasters we sell to now solve that by offering our coffee on a really small scale or rotating basis just in their coffee shop and/or offering it more for the holidays or up-scale gifts. One roaster in Michigan we work with buys our extra fancy pretty much just for valentines day and christmas because people are willing to spend more then. So I guess what I am saying is that if a roaster wants a Hawaiian coffee, there is a way to sell it, but it doesn't fit in with every business model and that is okay.

it just feels that specialty coffee is everywhere

Haha I never feel like that living here. The line is sometimes around the block at starbucks and we have locally grown coffee in tons of independent coffee shops. I don't think we (my farm) needs to target the "deepest end of the pond" so to speak of coffee consumers. A lot of our customers buy our coffee just because they like us and they like supporting local farmers. It isn't always a matter of being "into" coffee. We actually send out guides to brewing coffee with our orders just because a lot of people don't know anything about water temp or grind size and I want to make sure they are getting their money's worth after dropping a lot of money (comparatively) on coffee.

Out of curiosity, what is the total production / acre that you guys are at right now? And what varietals do you guys have going on?

We right now have primarily arabica (kona typica) trees but we have a small section of about 10 trees of a hybrid called Kona Passion (also an arabica). They are working out great though (high production, beautiful big beans and tasty!) so we will probably plant more of those.

On our 8 acres our production for the 2016/17 harvest was about 30K lbs of cherry. We project to have more like 40-50K lbs next year and hopefully around 60K lbs going forward after that. Of that coffee about 4,000 lbs of green was produced. Then when it is all graded out we will have about 3,400lbs of sale-able green (some of it is too low of a grade to sell and we either drink it ourselves or if it is really bad compost it). Of that our goal is to sell about half of that in green and the other half as roasted. We have sold about half of our green goal already for the season and we haven't even finished our last pick which is great! On roasted coffee, we are slowly plugging away but still have a lot left to sell.


Q:

I haven't kept super up to date with totals, but I follow you guys on twitter so have seen a few days results and they're pretty terrifying tbh! I was holding out hope the AI wouldn't be up to taking on competent high stakes regs yet.

Couple questions: 1) What leaks does the bot have? (If any) 2) Is there anything the bot does that is way different than a normal reg? Like, situations all regs would bet 1/2 pot, it checks/overpots/etc. 3) How aggressive is the bot in general? 4) Given the hands you've played so far, what would you guys estimate your long term winrate (or lossrate) is?

Thanks guys, gl with the rest of the challenge. Hope you beat the bot down and we can prevent skynet for a few more years at least.

A:

Do you use a natural, honey, or washed process?


Q:

Dong: The bot isn't particularly aggressively. But when it is, it is with massive sizes and very difficult situations. So the stats are misleading... they make it look pretty passive. But that's because when it does bet, it bets huge (and also sometimes mixes in small sizes). I think the bot just gets off on that.

A:

Only washed process right now but I would like to do some natural next year if there is a demand for it. A lot of farmers here seem to look down on it because it can kinda hide bad coffee with sweetness.


Q:

"I think the bot just gets off on that." legit lol

A:

Your website states that the coffee is roasted to order for maximum freshness. For how long will the beans retain the freshness? What can be done to extend it?


Q:

Dong: Biggest difference is that most human poker players do what Libratus does, betting with multiple bet sizes, but humans only have one or two usually. Libratus mixes in a bunch, maybe 10 or 15, and even mixes in situations that I thought didn't make sense before this competition started. It would be way too complicated for a human to do this sort of thing correctly.

A:

Beans are usually super fresh and great just in their package (we use a special coffee bag with a valve) for up to two weeks after roasting. They stay pretty good (like only super coffee tasters can tell the difference) for up to a month. After that they slowly lose flavor and can become stale. You can extend that by storing your coffee with as little exposure to light, air and humidity as possible. (In the pantry in a sealed opaque canister or jar is great). Also don't grind your beans until right before you drink them.

Personally I will drink coffee that's even months old but I'll just make it into iced or into a coffee cocktail or something (Baileys can make anything taste good imo lol).


Q:

Have you picked up or noticed any patterns/habits? Does this AI remind you of certain player(s)?

A:

Hi, and thank you for all the knowledge passed on here. Quite amazing.

Searching the IAMA, I did not read about decaffe, so apology if you have commented? From your web-site, did see this... "Our lightest and most caffeinated roast." Sounds great! But, alas, doctor told me to slow down the caffeine, so which of your blends would be lowest?

EDIT: P.S. How are yours shipping charges determined? Like to an idea before signing up in the checkout buying.


Q:

Jason: I would say a lot of the basis of the AI's style reminds me of how Doug Polk plays. But overall I would say the style is unique.

Libratus mixes it's strategy across all sorts of actions and bet sizes so picking up reads on its ranges is very difficult. We have statistics on the frequencies it does different things, but it's near impossible to come up with anything too concrete.

A:

No one has asked about that actually! You're the first! So we don't sell decaf (as far as I know the beans have to go through a special process to be decaf and we don't have anyone on our island who does it). I think your best bet is a dark roast because it does have less caffeine or just drink less coffee. Probably if I were in your situation I would just drink a small amount of great coffee and hope to be satisfied with that.


Q:

Developers:

Is there a libratus that knows how to play Pot Limit Omaha?

If not, how much more challenging would it be to create a bot that plays huPLO as well as Libratus plays huNL? Several orders of magnitude?

A:

best bet is a dark roast because it does have less caffeine or just drink less coffee. ... drink a small amount of great coffee and hope to be satisfied with that.

Ahh, like this! My doctor will not, but too bad, haha. Also, in my first post, just now added a question about your shipping charges, how are determined?


Q:

Noam: The standard for research is No Limit Texas Hold'em. However, none of the techniques are specific to poker (or Texas Hold'em) so it would be pretty easy to make a Pot Limit Omaha bot using the same approach.

A:

We ship in flat rate boxes or envelopes. Anything that fits in a flat rate envelope (generally 1.5lbs or less) ships for $6.10 priority mail. The next size up is $11.50 I think which is a medium box and holds quite a bit.


Q:

Have you tried rubber banding it? Being NLHE, most likely deep stacked (none of the streams load for me) it really has no chance of getting away with cookie cutter GTO play, so it has to react to your tendencies. The question is how long will it stick to the optimal play against your betting frequency and when does it realize it's being duped. So when you 3b excessively pre or cbet 100% it will adjust, right? So when does it stop adjusting and is there a window that lets you exploit it?

A:

How much did he have under management and what were his annualized returns? What was his cut of the p+l? How competitive was it to get in the role? Securities he traded? Was it super algorithmic or more flow? Was he involved in trading during 07/08, and if so, what were his returns then? Did he know Ray Cahnman? Is kona coffee different from regular coffee?


Q:

DONG: you are 100% right, it does come back with a better counter and essentially the the exploit is usually gone by the time we can come back the next day. I guess its just a mater of constantly trying something different, but that could also be a costly mistake. I wish we had a HUD...

Now that I think about it, Im pretty sure I couldnt beat the top players that I play on a day to day basis without a hud, let alone this beasty AI bot...

A:

Lol I have NO IDEA what the first questions mean but I will ask him later and try to get back to you. Yes he knows Ray Cahnman and actually was on his desk when he first started out! (small world!)

Kona coffee is different from other coffees but not from "regular" coffee. If you are drinking single origins roasted correctly, you should be able to taste differences in coffees from all over the world. Kona is known for a really smooth easy drinkability. Not a super high acid coffee. There are tasting notes on our website if you are interested in specifics.


Q:

How do your red line and blue lines look verse bot?

A:

Ah, ya. I saw that he worked for transmarket and had to ask, since Ray is pretty big in that space. Very cool that he got to work directly w Ray.


Q:

Jason: Overall, we're slightly losing in red line and mostly losing in blue line.

A:

Okay so I asked him but he doesn't remember the answers to all the questions. Here is what he said though from 2012 when he left-

  • He doesn't know how much he had in management because it depends on which desk he was working. It ranged from 50K to a few million.

  • He said the annualized returns depend on how many assets were under management but he thinks his returns were over 100%.

  • His desk got 30% of profits and another 30% is put in the firm-wide discretionary bonus pool given out depending on how well you traded.

  • It is much more competitive now than it was when he got hired (although to me his process still seems pretty competitive). When he got hired, he started in a summer group of 15 people and then he was the only one out of that pool that got hired on.

  • He said it wasnt super algorithmic. They did a lot more market making and used a mean reverting strategy.

  • He traded interest rate futures (started with Euro Dollar, then moved to Euribor, Sterling and then moved to Canada and Brazil interest rates)

  • He started in 09 so he avoided that dark period.


Q:

Do you get to see what the computer's holdings are after the fact?

If so, has it helped crack some of the "mindset" that the computer has, or is it pretty balanced?

A:

Are there any days where you regret leaving the corporate world? What do you miss about the corporate world?


Q:

Dong: Yes, we get the logs at the end of the day. It is actually pretty entertaining to go over hands you got bluffed on. Its also pretty fun to go over a big bluff you made but realize the bot missed its draw and mucked.

A:

Yeah sometimes! Even though I was a lawyer, I miss being able to leave my work at work. Now that I own my own business, it is just work all the time. But that work feels better because everything we do benefits us and our bottom line so it feels good busting ass.

I miss the perks! Lunches out, work parties, health insurance etc. Now I eat lunch at home every day and we provide our own health insurance.


Q:

With the exception of card removal does the bot even pay much attention to his holdings strength? Seems like he just narrows his opponents range and soul crushes them that way.

Follow up question. Is there a place online I can buy a Cheet poster?

A:

Hallo, im from germany and currently studying agriculture [sadly we have no classes about tabaco or coffee]. I was wondering where did you get the knowlage to operate a whole farm? From what i learned its pretty difficult to build a new farm and get it running.


Q:

Dong: I don't think the bot works that way. It's trying to use a strategy to get the best results without necessarily knowing who it's playing. I don't think it looks so much into what we do. I know there's a learning process at night, but I don't know exactly what the methods are. When I found out, I'll leak it out to you all.

A:

We hired a consultant for the first few years to help us and teach us. It really has been a long road and learning process and we still don't know even close to everything we need to know. Just tomorrow my husband is going to a class at the CTAHR (College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources) to learn more about a pest we get a lot.


Q:

Do any of you have a poker nickname?

E.g. Daniel "Kid poker" Negreanu or Phil "The poker brat" Hellmuth.

A:

I enjoyed going through your photos on the website but disappointed that there weren't any photos of the coffee shrubs. I think photos of the flowers, berries and raw beans would be nice as well. Could you also take a photo of the coffee shrubs with someone standing by it for scale? I always wondered how big they can grow. I used to grow one indoors for a few years.


Q:

Dong: BDDK. Google it.

A:

Ahh sorry there are a bunch on our instagram! I don't know if I have one with someone standing right next to it but there are at least a couple with people standing near by. I will definitely take your tip though and add more coffee plant pictures to our site.

The trees can get really tall if you dont prune them but we only let ours get up to 8ish feet before pruning.


Q:

Dong what kind of dog is Bambi?

A:

About how much coffee does your orchard produce on average? Is 8 acres on the large side for a farm on the big island or more average? I'm also curious to know if your land was already a working orchard when you purchased it or did you lease a patch of land and start from scratch?


Q:

Dong: It's apparently a deer of some sort.

A:

The average size of a coffee farm in kona is 5 acres but that average is a little misleading because there are TONS of "farms" where people have an acre or less and then a few huge farms with hundreds of acres. I think 8 acres is pretty normal for people who coffee farm as their full time job.

This year we produced about 30K lbs of cherry which is on the lower end but our trees are still very young - many of them didnt produce at all this year or had like one branch producing. We expect to have a bigger harvest next year.

Our land is owned not leased and there was no coffee on it when we bought it. We planted the orchard from scratch.


Q:

what is your favorite type of coffee to grow?

A:

We grow almost all arabica coffee (kona typica specifically). We have a little section of another type called Kona Passion but only about 10 trees of that as a trial.


Q:

Hi Kate and Doug!
I was in Kona recently and took a tour of another lawyer-turned-coffee-farmer and it was delightful.

Do you guys know each other and hang out? (Not mentioning the other company name to be respectful of your AMA)

A:

No I don't know them! Feel free to post who they are haha if they don't mind. I know another lawyer turned dragonfruit and bee keeper but that's it.


Q:

Have you ever visited other coffee shops on other islands? If so, which ones? I may or may not have worked at a ton of coffee shops.

A:

On other islands? Not really. I do go to them occasionally but I cant remember any memorable coffee.


Q:

What do you sell your coffee for a pound? Why so expensive?

A:

Most basically, it is expensive because it is grown in a first world country. It is the only coffee in the world grown with restrictions like labor laws, minimum wage, workers comp, overtime requirements, insurance requirements etc. The markup you are paying on our coffee over cost is about 25%. And those "costs" do not include our salaries. If we paid ourselves minimum wage, we wouldn't even be breaking even on the coffee. That bad of a return won't be the case forever though - as our trees get more mature, we will have more consistently large harvests and we should be able to pay ourselves slightly better than minimum wage. But no one here coffee farms to get rich.


Q:

What's your personal favorite roast you two have made? I may buy a bag or two ;)

A:

Thanks!! Anuenue is my favorite but if you like a darker roast Kalikimaka is great.