Meet Hyperborean, the Poker-Playing AI

“This is the second in a short series of posts about the Annual Computer Poker Competition (ACPC) taking place at the AAAI conference in Toronto July 22-26, 2012. My name is Richard Gibson and I’m a member of the Computer Poker Research Group (CPRG) at the University of Alberta. In my previous post, I discussed the history and present state of the competition, as well as the six events currently being played. Here, I will talk about our programs from previous years and explain our new programs for this year’s competition.

The CPRG’s poker programs, named “Hyperborean” in the ACPC, are constructed quite differently compared to programs for “perfect information games” such as chess. For example, the chess program Deep Blue was based on a technique called alpha-beta search, which compares sequences of moves until one sequence is found to be superior. On Deep Blue’s turn to move, search was performed on-line from the current game state for up to several minutes before the best estimated move was taken. In contrast, during a match, our poker programs play instantaneously. All computation for decision-making is performed off-line for several days before the competition and a final strategy profile is written to disk. Then, during an actual match, actions are chosen simply through table lookups in the precomputed profile…”

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