Posts Tagged ‘poker bots’

Meet Cepheus – The Unbeatable Poker Bot

Friday, January 9th, 2015

cepheus-poker-botPoker bots have been getting better and better over time. And University of Alberta researchers may have reached the pinnacle of poker bot achievements with their new creation dubbed “Cepheus.”

Apparently, Cepheus is unbeatable in heads-up Limit Hold’em. The bot’s inventor, Michael Bowling, even goes as far as to say that Limit Hold’em is “solved” thanks to his program. It wasn’t easy for Bowling to create such a skilled bot, though, since he poured years into this project. Of course, anything good takes time and Cepheus is more than good, as Bowling explained to NPR with the following:

“It’s just a tiny bit off. And that tiny bit is so small that even if you played a lifetime — 12 hours a day, 200 hands an hour for 70 years — you still wouldn’t be able to tell it apart from having played a perfect game.”

It’s certainly scary to think of being on the internet Limit Hold’em tables and running into a bot like Cepheus. This is especially the case when you consider that this machine has played over a billion poker hands – with stellar results too! But if there’s one chink in the armor here, it’s the fact that Cepheus can’t adapt. The Guardian explained this through the following excerpt:

Until now, all of the major games that have been “solved” by computers are “perfect-information games” such as chess and checkers where the full history of the game is known to each player.

Poker and other card games are known as imperfect-information games and are much harder for computers to master because each player has only a limited amount of information on which to base their decisions.

Even still, in a game of Limit Hold’em, University of Albert researchers believe that their bot will beat any pro over a long enough time period. In fact, the bot only gets better with each hand that it plays. But if you fear online poker being taken over by Cepheus clones, don’t be. Those involved with the project have been very careful not to release any information on this particular bot.

Swedish Poker Bots win $1.8m, Shut Down Afterward

Sunday, February 24th, 2013

People have been experimenting with poker bots for years now. These computer programs are used in online poker games because they run on their own and make decisions based on statistical observations. Players often debate about exactly how successful these bots are against humans, who can think analytically. However, there’s no denying that poker bots have been successfully used in Sweden after making a collective $1.8 million.

Sweden’s state-owned gaming operator, Svenska Spel, recently shut down 14 poker accounts after it was discovered that they earned $1.8 million in profits. Most of the money was made in the past six months at stakes ranging between $0.25/$0.50 and $3/$6 NL Hold’em.

About four months ago, a player reported suspicious activity from certain players to Svenska Spel. However, the gambling company admits to being slow in turning the matter over to Swedish police. By the time Svenska did turn their findings into the police, only $108k of the original $1.8 million was left in the 14 accounts.

Since then, the authorities have lunched an investigation into the accounts in hopes of recovering the money. Furthermore, the Swedish Gaming Board has begun questioning Svenska Spel on what all they know about the poker bot incident.

The reason why this matter has become such a huge deal is because online poker rooms  have outlawed bots – at least when they’re profitable. These programs can run 24/7 and play millions of hands for users, which gives bots a distinct advantage over humans.

Up until recent years, poker bots were largely unprofitable because they can’t read other players. However, computer programmers are constantly advancing these programs, and it appears as if bots are now good enough to consistently beat lower-mid stakes. It may only be a matter of time before they’re able to beat $5/$10 Hold’em games and above.