Poker-Playing Computer Cepheus Never Loses

Published January 14, 2015 by Amir G

Poker-Playing Computer Cepheus Never Loses

Computer researchers from the University of Alberta claim that they have created an unbeatable poker program.

A team of computer researchers from the University of Alberta claim that they have created a computer poker program that is virtually unbeatable. Dubbed Cepheus, the program has played billions of hands against itself over a course of two months – more than all hands of poker that have ever been played in all human history. At the end of its training course, Cepheus created a database of 11 terabytes containing statistical information which perfects its game.

Billions of Hands per Second

Cepheus used an awesome number of 4,000 CPUs which let it play over 6 billion hands per second – an unfathomable number of hands. Cepheus built different scenarios for every game played, with different dealt cards databases, betting strategies and outcomes. The game in which Cepheus mastered is heads-up limit hold'em, a variation of the famous Texas hold'em tailored for two players with bet fixed amounts and a limit on allowed raises.

Poker Champs Don't Stand a Chance

Computer scientist Michael Bowling who led the research said that a human player pitted against Cepheus wouldn't stand a chance of beating the program, even if the two played 60 million hands. "Even if you played 60 million hands of poker for 70 years, 12 hours a day, and never made any mistakes, you still wouldn't be able to say with statistical confidence you were better than this program," said Bowling.

No Threat for Online Poker

The Cepheus researchers do not have plans to commercialize the program but it could be used for other scientific means. An unbeatable poker machine could render the game dull, but thankfully online poker isn't at risk. A big part of the fun is playing against other humans, something people are doing every day at top online poker rooms the likes of Winner Poker and 888 Poker.

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