AI Poker To Be Demonstrated

Published on: June 17, 2008 

Manufacturers are constantly trying to challenge poker players and the interesting invention that has been recently developed and will be revealed next month in Las Vegas.  Between July 3 and July 6, poker players will be able to pit themselves against artificial intelligence programs to see just how well a ‘thinking’ computer can bluff its way through a rousing round of poker.  The ‘entertaining and informative’  diversion will be available to the best of the best, poker professionals who are taking a break from the tables of the World Series of Poker that will going on at the same time

The second Man versus Machine Poker Championship will be held at the 2008 Gaming Life Expo located at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino.  The AI machine is called the Polaris 2 and it has been developed by the Computer Poker Research Group from the University of Alberta in British Columbia, Canada.  It is the most recent version of an AI program that Phil Laak and Ali Eslami, human poke players that provided testing and competition on the original Polaris version last year.

During last years competition, Laak and Eslami played four matches against the AI poker machine all in Texas Hold’Em.  They won two matches, lost one match, and the forth match came out as a draw with neither side winning.  Has this AI machine shown yet that it is a worthy opponent?  Time will only tell.  Beta testing on any type of computer system takes years and with Polaris 2 only being a year in the making with no information available as to how much testing has been performed, it has to yet to be seen.

That will change, however, in July when the machine will go up against real live poker players.  The AI poker machine will be put through its paces as it places with two live poker players in a 500 duplicate hand limit Texas Hold’Em round.  Each human player will team up with one of the AI machines and they will all be dealt the same hand.  The object is to see who can bluff and play the hand the best and win.  The team with the most chips will be declared the winner, and it will be interesting to see how the machines fare against the human factor.

The human team will be made up of two human poker coaches who work with players on  States lead coach Bruce Paradis, "Against the current AI in Polaris 2, the average poker player would be completely dominated. The Polaris 2 team has made incredible improvements since the match last year.  The most powerful change is that the AI will now learn from and adapt to its opponents' play as the match progresses.  This year's Man vs. Machine match is going to push our team to its limit."

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