Know When to Hold ‘Em, Know When to Reboot ‘Em

Move over, deep blue. there’s some new artificial intelligence in town, looking to raise the stakes. The World Poker Robot Championship 2005, which took place at Binion’s Gambling Hall & Hotel in Las Vegas, a stone’s throw from the human World Series of Poker, pitted six poker-playing software applications, or “robots,” against each other in No-Limit Texas Hold’em. put up the prize of $100,000, and poker robot expert Ken Mages screened the “players.” Beginning on July 12, the robots played eight four-hour sessions of poker against each other, with breaks to allow the programmers to check and make adjustments to their robots’ poker faces.

“It was difficult to find six worthy competitors,” Mages says. “The poker-robot creating community is very small, and the good poker-robot creating community is even smaller.”

Pokerprobot, created by Hilton Givens of Lafayette, Ind., emerged victorious on July 14. Two days later, Givens’s Pokerprobot went head to head with Phil “The Unabomber” Laak, a professional, human poker player. Alas, Pokerprobot was undone in just 300 hands by Laak.

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