Published on July 25th, 2007 7:02 pm EST

King next to a video poker machineA few years ago, it was inconceivable that a computer would be able to beat a skilled human poker player in a heads-up match of poker. The computer wouldn't be able to cope with a human poker player who was capable of deception and slow-playing. The first versions of the computer poker program, known as Polaris, were woefully bad and easy to beat.

Years of fine-tuning has resulted computer opponent who can put up a strong match against a top human opponent. Just a few days ago, there was a challenge in Vancouver, that pitted two of the top poker players in the world (Phil Laak and Ali Eslami) about the computer poker player "Polaris" who was designed at the University of Alberta.

"Polaris" provided a tough match for his human opponents. There were four "rounds" of the match; Polaris won one, there was a draw, and the humans won two of the rounds.

The developers of "Polaris" have said that the program will only get better as time goes by, and that eventually "Polaris" will be nearly unbeatable at Heads Up Limit Hold'em. Apparently we are five to ten years away from seeing a nearly unbeatable computer poker player.

No Limit Hold'em is much different, and I have a hard time imagining a computer playing No Limit Hold'em successfully over time against a top human player. There are many more levels of thought involved, more bluffing, etc. But when it comes to Heads Up Limit Hold'em, the "Polaris" program may soon be unbeatable.


Filed Under: Other Poker News

Related Articles