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Computer algorithm cracked the poker code

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  • Computer algorithm cracked the poker code

    [cite=http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/game-theorists-crack-poker/?WT.mc_id=SA_BS_20150109]


    A new computer algorithm can play one of the most popular variants of poker essentially perfectly. Its creators say that it is virtually “incapable of losing against any opponent in a fair game”.

    This is a step beyond a computer program that can beat top human players, as IBM's chess-playing computer Deep Blue famously did in 1997 against Garry Kasparov, at the time the game's world champion. The poker program devised by computer scientist Michael Bowling and his colleagues at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada, along with Finnish software developer Oskari Tammelin, plays perfectly, to all intents and purposes.

    That means that this particular variant of poker, called heads-up limit hold’em (HULHE), can be considered solved. The algorithm is described in a paper in Science.

    The strategy the authors have computed is so close to perfect “as to render pointless further work on this game”, says Eric Jackson, a computer-poker researcher based in Menlo Park, California.

    “I think that it will come as a surprise to experts that a game this big has been solved this soon,” Jackson adds.

    A few other popular games have been solved before. In particular, in 2007 a team from the same computer-science department at Alberta — including Neil Burch, a co-author of the latest study — cracked draughts, also known as checkers.

    But poker is harder to solve than draughts. Chess and draughts are examples of perfect-information games, in which players have complete knowledge of all past events and of the present situation in a game. In poker, in contrast, there are some things a player does not know: most crucially, which cards the other player has been dealt. The class of games with imperfect information is especially interesting to economists and game theorists, because it includes practical problems such as finding optimal strategies for auctions and negotiations. [/cite
    Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
    Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
    But will they come when you do call for them? Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1, Act III:

    go with the flow the river knows . . .

    Frank

    I do not know, therefore everything is in pencil.

  • #2
    Why couldn't human opponents throw such calculated systems into disarray by acting in a manner that, objectively speaking, may be considered irrational, but can create winning chances nonetheless?

    To me, at least, the idea of playing poker with computers would defeat the point because of how profoundly psychological the game really is.
    "I am not angered that the Moral Majority boys campaign against abortion. I am angry when the same men who say, "Save OUR children" bellow "Build more and bigger bombers." That's right! Blast the children in other nations into eternity, or limbless misery as they lay crippled from "OUR" bombers! This does not jell." - Leonard Ravenhill

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    • #3
      Originally posted by shunyadragon View Post
      [cite=http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/game-theorists-crack-poker/?WT.mc_id=SA_BS_20150109]


      A new computer algorithm can play one of the most popular variants of poker essentially perfectly. Its creators say that it is virtually “incapable of losing against any opponent in a fair game”.

      This is a step beyond a computer program that can beat top human players, as IBM's chess-playing computer Deep Blue famously did in 1997 against Garry Kasparov, at the time the game's world champion. The poker program devised by computer scientist Michael Bowling and his colleagues at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada, along with Finnish software developer Oskari Tammelin, plays perfectly, to all intents and purposes.

      That means that this particular variant of poker, called heads-up limit hold’em (HULHE), can be considered solved. The algorithm is described in a paper in Science.

      The strategy the authors have computed is so close to perfect “as to render pointless further work on this game”, says Eric Jackson, a computer-poker researcher based in Menlo Park, California.

      “I think that it will come as a surprise to experts that a game this big has been solved this soon,” Jackson adds.

      A few other popular games have been solved before. In particular, in 2007 a team from the same computer-science department at Alberta — including Neil Burch, a co-author of the latest study — cracked draughts, also known as checkers.

      But poker is harder to solve than draughts. Chess and draughts are examples of perfect-information games, in which players have complete knowledge of all past events and of the present situation in a game. In poker, in contrast, there are some things a player does not know: most crucially, which cards the other player has been dealt. The class of games with imperfect information is especially interesting to economists and game theorists, because it includes practical problems such as finding optimal strategies for auctions and negotiations. [/cite
      I wonder how well it handles bluffing.

      I'm always still in trouble again

      "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
      "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman

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      • #4
        Originally posted by rogue06 View Post
        I wonder how well it handles bluffing.
        If the computer is a good poker player, it ignores the bluffer, and plays the system.
        Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
        Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
        But will they come when you do call for them? Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1, Act III:

        go with the flow the river knows . . .

        Frank

        I do not know, therefore everything is in pencil.

        Comment


        • #5
          Isn't poker at least partially based on lucky draws? I don't see how anything, even a computer playing perfectly, could be "virtually incapable of losing".
          "As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths." Isaiah 3:12

          There is no such thing as innocence, only degrees of guilt.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Darth Executor View Post
            Isn't poker at least partially based on lucky draws? I don't see how anything, even a computer playing perfectly, could be "virtually incapable of losing".
            They're talking about losing to a human over the long run, in a tournament or a whole evening of "poker with the boys". Of course it's possible to lose any given hand depending on what is dealt. But in the long run the statistical advantage due to the better skill set will win out.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Darth Executor View Post
              Isn't poker at least partially based on lucky draws? I don't see how anything, even a computer playing perfectly, could be "virtually incapable of losing".
              analytical systems of playing either human or computer factor out bluffing and luck and play the straight odds of play. There are people with super memories and systems that can beat casinos at black jack. Computers will rely on the algorithm, which factors out luck and other human issues in poker, and the best human players and computers play the long term odds to win.

              I was a good player when I was young, and had a friend who was very very good, and I often watched his play. We were both good readers of players and personalities, but in the long term played consistent odds on poker. I stopped gambling in my 20's, but still enjoyed watching him play. The rest of my family were genuine bad poker players. They would revel on their skill on a good night, but curse the day they were born on most nights for what they called 'bad luck.'
              Last edited by shunyadragon; 01-10-2015, 10:18 AM.
              Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
              Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
              But will they come when you do call for them? Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1, Act III:

              go with the flow the river knows . . .

              Frank

              I do not know, therefore everything is in pencil.

              Comment

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