Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Human Poker Players Defeat Computer

One of the people playing poker with the scary sobriquet "Unabomber" and donning a hoodie, wins against a computer's teams software. The Artificial Intelligence research team chose two professional poker players for overall characteristics against the software rather than selecting on the singularity being the best poker players.

Out of four rounds, the humans won two against the software dubbed Polaris. Subtleties of poker with bluffing and "tells" are much harder on either side of this high tech card game. Jeff Laak, aka Unabomber, kept talking aloud to the laptop and of course, no feelings or friendships suffered damage in the competitive process.

The human team reached a draw in the first round even though their total winnings were slightly less than that of the computer. The match rules specified that small differences were not considered significant because of statistical variation.
On Monday night, the second round went heavily to Polaris, leaving the human players visibly demoralized.

“Polaris was beating me like a drum,” Mr. Eslami said after the round.

However, during the third round on Tuesday afternoon, the human team rebounded, when the Polaris team’s shift in strategy backfired. They used a version of the program that was supposed to add a level of adaptability and “learning.”

The match was challenging and layered in its sophistication for Polaris with the use of bots. Humans play poker based on cues and clues. Some of the best poker books may need some upgrades and updates as Polaris goes into its next generation. Video Poker has a Big Brother.

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