Quirks and Quarks

Poker Computer Takes the Pot

Canadian scientists build an unbeatable poker-playing computer system.
A team from the University of Alberta has developed a computer system that has solved the game of Heads-up, No-limit Texas Hold'em - one of the simplest of poker games. The machine, they say, is so close to statistically perfect at the game that while it will lose hands, based on the random draw of cards, it simply can't lose over any longer period of play, when luck evens out. Dr. Michael Bowling, a professor of Computing Science at the University of Alberta, led the team that developed the machine. One key to the computer's success is simply experience. It practised against itself, using more than 4000 computer processors and terabytes of memory to play trillions of hands and learn the optimal strategy. In fact, the computer has probably played more poker than all human players ever have played.

Related Links

- Paper in Science
- Science news story
University of Alberta release
CBC News story
- Cepheus Poker robot - test your skills (the server is VERY busy).