Poker – Man vs. Machine

Cool by on July 22, 2007 at 9:25 pm

There have been a few interesting articles about the upcoming poker contest that pits a computer against two professional players - Phil Laak and Ali Eslami.

The most interesting part of the tournament is the clever structuring of the game to eliminate chance:

Laak will play with a partner, fellow pro Ali Eslami. The two will be in separate rooms, and their games will be mirror images of one another, with Eslami getting the cards that the computer received in its hands against Laak, and vice versa. That way, a lousy hand for one human player will result in a correspondingly strong hand for his partner in the other room. At the end of the tournament the chips of both humans will be added together and compared to the computer’s.

Unlike chess or checkers, the challenge rests largely in software/algorithm design not additional computations.

This makes the problem far more interesting. Laak played in a similar contest two years ago and ultimately won after determining the primary strategy used by the program and then adapting his play.


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