Poker Computer Fails in Battle of Wits

Wednesday, 25 July 2007

The poker playing Polaris computer programme has failed to beat top high-stakes professionals Phil “The Unabomber” Laak and Ali Eslami in a No Limit Texas Hold’em game. Surprisingly they did not manage to beat Polaris on day one, but after discussing

The poker playing Polaris computer programme has failed to beat top high-stakes professionals Phil “The Unabomber” Laak and Ali Eslami in a No Limit Texas Hold’em game. Surprisingly they did not manage to beat Polaris on day one, but after discussing strategy, emerged victorious on day two.
Polaris consists of a number of different poker programs and along with excelling at the mathematical aspects of the game, it can bluff. However, the question of a player’s individual style proved too difficult for it, which should add fuel to the skill vs. luck debate.
Specialists in Artificial Intelligence from University of Alberta have been working on Polaris since 1991. Despite the program’s ultimate defeat, Professor Michael Bowling, head of the Polaris Team Project said he was 'ecstatic about the win and the match.”
'We viewed ourselves as the underdog,” said Jonathan Schaeffer, head of the computer science department. “To come in yesterday and play as well as we did was just wonderful. No one really had any inkling that the program would play as well as it did.'
The real-money contest was staged at the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence in Vancouver, BC. Strict experimental conditions called for separation of the two players as they were dealt five hundred identical hands on each day of the two day match.
The next stage of the research may see Polaris going online and competing against players from all over the world.



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