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Computer Beats out Poker Pros in Second ‘Man Versus Machine’ Competition

The previously discussed Polaris II computer won out over seasoned poker professionals last Sunday at the second “Man Versus Machine” Competition. The University of Alberta created system was further developed to come back from its loss last year and proved that its improvements were enough to snag a narrow win against human opponents.

The competition was hosted at the
Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada and saw the new Polaris computer face off against seven poker professionals. After being defeated by the flesh-and-blood players last year the University of Alberta programming team adapted their system with features that allowed it to adapt to the style of opponents as the match went on and it seems that this difference was enough to eke out a win. Matt Hawrilenko was the pro up against Polaris II in the final Heads-Up, Limit Texas Hold ‘Em match and found the competition both entertaining and unnerving. He and the other human players commented that the possibility of a machine to best live professionals is a fairly frightening one.

Michael Bowling, head of the Alberta team behind Polaris II was excited by the win but also quick to note that his team would be back at work to further develop the system. Now that the computer is garnering even more attention from real-world poker pros it may prove even more difficult to continue the artificial player’s winning performance. A rematch is tentatively planned to take place next summer around the same time.