Polaris' Architect Insists Poker Bots are Not the Bane of the Industry

发布者:Eureka Chen,发布时间:2009年4月9日 01:11

by Hillary LaClair, Senior Editor

               The introduction of the poker robot, Polaris had many online poker players afraid of the impact it would have on the industry. The founder and chief architect of the Polaris’ research team at the University of Alberta in Canada, Dr. Darse Billings, assures us however that the bot does not present a serious problem for human players in internet poker. 

                While Polaris is one of the biggest advancements in Artificial Intelligence technologies, and therefore Billings has tried to put the use of such machines in better perspective for human players. In a response to a Dallas New blog entitled, “Will computer programs destroy online poker? Probably.” Billings says that it is a “ridiculous conclusion.”

                The blog, written by Andrew Smith, of course referred to the recent series of man vs. machine heads-up poker tournaments in which the updated bot was able to beat Stoxpoker.com professionals. Smith suggested that such poker bots could be introduced into online poker, masquerading as human players, and therefore deliver a crushing blow to the industry.

                “Poker playing computer programs helps human players hone their skills, but now that researchers have made programs they [that] can beat any human player, online poker sites seem doomed,” says the article. “Why? Because there’s no real way to tell a program from a person. Crooks will enter programs – or poker bots – as people. Human players will consistently lose. Eventually, all but the stupidest humans will just stop playing.”

However, online poker rooms like Poker Stars and Full Tilt have already sunk millions of dollars in poker bot identification software, which the blog failed to mention. Polaris, which only plays the not-so-popular heads-up Limit Texas Hold’em, was the result of years of scientific research and has never been incorporated into online poker rooms.

Billings claims that the use of poker bots was not a catastrophe for online poker. “It is not difficult to identify a known program,” he said in rebuttal. “If you use the Fritz chess program to play chess on an online server, it will be obvious to everyone. The same applies for poker. Since using programs is against the poker site’s terms of use, if you do it you will have your account closed permanently.

“I started the research into poker A.I. in 1992, and we have had a very large team of excellent researchers working on the problem for many years. We have made a lot of progess over the past 16 years, but I can assure you, the sky is not falling.”

Phil Pennington, who also commented on the blog, said that he had used poker bots in the past and that they played predictable and consistent poker and did not adapt to other variants at the table. He also provides an intriguing argument that if something were to arise in which poker bots were used by online poker sites, web cameras might be required so that players could see their opponents in the future.

                 Finally, Polaris is much more advanced than most other poker bots. While it was designed to adapt to its opponents play, human players will still realize the different interactions they receive from another human player and a computer.