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Poker News

Betfair Collaborates with Playtech

Posted on January 11th, 2013

In an attempt to resuscitate its troubled poker revenues, the officials at Betfair are collaborating with the Playtech network. At present, Betfair has a partnership with Ongame; however, this collaboration has not earned the company any substantial profits. As a matter of fact, the company is facing a lot of financial crisis at present, as […]

Poker Platforms Offering More Variety to Players

Posted on January 4th, 2013

Now that 2013 has finally arrived, what’s new with poker? PokerStars has launched the world’s fastest poker variation called Zoom Poker. On the other hand, PokerNews is making the new year more special by allowing poker players to sign up with Full Tilt Poker via their online poker platform. By doing this, players can reap […]

New Poker Apps Launched

Posted on January 2nd, 2013

Players at PartyPoker have more reasons to party this New Year! The poker site has completely modified its tournament calendar and has increased its monthly guaranteed promotions and bonuses to $15,000,000. Apart from this, the player traffic at PartyPoker has shot up as merged with PartyGaming to form To add on to this, […]

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Polaris the A.I. Poker Bot

Monday, August 18th, 2008 by Phil

The last few months I’ve been coming across a lot of interviews with Bryce Paradis. Bryce is mostly known for winning millions of dollars while playing poker on the internet. He is also an instructor at one of the internet’s leading poker tutorial websites. More recently his name has been coming up because of the consulting that he’s been doing with the Computer Poker Research Group at the University of Alberta.

The Group’s goal was to create an artificial intelligence software program that was capable of beating the best poker players in the world. The latest version of this poker bot is known as Polaris. The group’s AI work is pretty complicated, so I’m going to avoid talking about algorithms and things of that nature in this blog.  If you are interested in reading about the technical aspects of Polaris, you can visit the CPRG’s website through the link below. There are also links there to the academic papers that have been published about the project. University of Alberta Computer Poker Research Group.

So why is Polaris becoming a hot topic all of the sudden? At a recent gaming expo there was a series of 6 separate 1 vs. 1 matches between Polaris and the world’s best limit holdem players. Each of the matches lasted for 500 hands. During each game, the human player would effectively “switch seats” with the bot half-way through the match. They were then dealt the identical cards that the bot was dealt during the first portion of the game. The other relevant cards such as the community cards were also dealt identically for each hand as it was played the second time. This was done to try and eliminate any variance that may have resulted from a streak of bad cards.

Here’s the results from the recent set of matches. Polaris-3  Humans-2  and 1 tie.

In order to qualify as a win, the player or the bot must finish the match with a minimum gain of at least 25 small bets. This was meant to prevent a small difference in chips from qualifying as a win or loss…mostly for the sake of the player’s ego.

So what’s the big deal about this? There is a lot of money being exchanged at the online poker sites. There has been some concern that Polaris might fall into the hands of someone who would want to use it to cheat. These concerns are not without warrant. The security teams at some of the online poker rooms have discovered bots in the past.
However, there are many reasons that it’s unlikely that anyone will ever be using this software to beat the online poker games. The biggest reason is that Polaris is an extremely complex software program. It’s taken a whole team of people several years to develop the software and learn how to apply it.

It’s unlikely that there is anyone out there who would be interested in using Polaris to cheat, that also possesses the knowledge and resources they would need to implement the software.

I’ll leave this blog with a Mike Matusow quote; “As bad as people play nowadays, if you have to cheat to win at online poker you might as well just quit”.