Another Online Poker Is Doomed Story, This One About Poker Bots


From online poker rooms to the bedroom, bots are taking over.

In what may be the most ridiculously overstated story we’ve seen yet in the "sky is falling on online poker" category, or since the Flight of the Conchords predicted the death of humans by the year 2000, Dallas Observer tech blogger Andrew Smith argues that "online poker sites seem doomed" because of poker bots that he claims "can beat any human player."

Smith says:

"Why? Because there’s no real way to tell a program from a person. Crooks will enter programs — or poker bots –as people. Human players will consistently lose. Eventually, all but the stupidest humans will just stop playing."

To support his claim that bots "can beat any human player" Smith points to the recent Man-Machine Poker Competition in which Polaris, a poker bot created by the University of Alberta Computer Poker Research Group, beat a few of the guys from in a series of heads-up matches at the WSOP.

Yep, win one tournament and that’s proof you can beat ’em all (eg. Jerry Yang, Jamie Gold, Chris Moneymaker, Robert Varkonyi)

Interestingly enough, one of the guys who helped develop Polaris, Dr. Darse Billings, responded to Smith’s article calling his conclusion "ridiculous." Says Billings:

"[T]his is not a catastrophe for online poker . . . Modern programs are not strong at No Limit or multi-player games. Secondly, it is not difficult to identify a known program. If you use the Fritz chess program to play chess on an online server, it will be obvious to everyone. The same applies for poker. Since using programs is against the poker site’s terms of use, if you do it you will have your account closed permanently. I started the research into poker AI in 1992, and we have had a very large team of excellent researchers working on the problem for many years. We have made a lot of progress over the past 16 years, but i can assure you, the sky is not falling."

Okay, that wasn’t really as interesting as much as it was long and didn’t include any pictures to keep our attention but Billings seems really smart–he juggles rubiks cubes for crying out loud–so we’ll take his word for it that bots aren’t going to bring down online poker anytime soon.

Relatedly, the Keeley Hazell of sex bots (NSFW?).


One Response

  1. Something About Poker

    August 10, 2008 4:02 pm, Reply

    Well there is still room for all the shamsters to sell fake bots etc, (proclaiming to be awesome) and if you don’t get it you are missing out etc.
    If there was a AI computer that was smart enough to play poker and win tournaments, wouldn’t it learn at an extremely accelerated rate?
    Then become self aware(Or self absorbed) then hack into the mainframe, and then blow up the world and hunt us all down (As seen in Terminator, T2, T3, T-Salvation)

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