Poker Bot Knows When to Hold 'Em, Knows When to Fold 'EmS

Looks like the day when we all hang out with robots that smoke cigars, throw back drinks and win all our money in poker is edging closer, now that programmers at the University of Alberta have created a Hold 'Em-playing software that can beat poker professionals. The Polaris software was pitted against Poker pros like Nick Grudzien and Ijay Palansky in six games of limit Texas Hold 'Em-it tied on one, lost two and won three.

Each match consisted of 500 hands, with Polaris receiving the same cards in one room that the professionals received in another room. The duplicate system was used so that luck would be less of a factor and the game could be played as much on skill as possible.

Historically, computers have been better at playing games where all information is already on the board, such as chess. With poker, players have to make judgments based on incomplete information. Getting artificial intelligence to do that well is a big step, since real life problems are generally more like poker than like chess. [MSN Cosmic Log]