Poker researchers develop new A.I software
By staff
BioTools, a University of Alberta spin-off company, is currently researching and creating an artificial intelligence poker program aimed at turning novices into card-sharks. The software, marketed as Poki's Poker Academy, learns patterns and adapts to different playing styles. It can display odds, variables; can graph results as well as the likelihood of certain poker situations. It even has the ability to bluff.

'We are getting closer to beating the best players in the world,' said Darse Billings, a former professional poker player and U of A PhD student working on the project. 'Our current programs can acquit themselves quite well against strong opposition, and they continue to become stronger as the research progresses. I do not believe they are superior to the best humans yet, but I believe that day will come--possible within the next year or two.”

The program is based on ‘game theory’, the formula developed by Nobel laureate John Nash, the tortured mathematical genius featured in the film: 'A Beautiful Mind.' This is a branch of mathematics concerned the interactions between people, companies or countries that are in competition.

'This is for all levels of players,' said Mike Fedeyko, sales and marketing manager at BioTools. 'Poker has become so popular--this software is for people who don't yet feel comfortable going to a casino and betting money or for top players who want to improve their game. You could take a good player who would have a tough time beating our game.'

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