Feeds

Hydra of Texas hold 'em humbled

Man beats machine in poker face-off

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Security for virtualized datacentres

Supercomputers may be able to outdo grand masters in strategy games like chess but when it comes to the low cunning and judgment required in games like poker mankind still has the upper hand. Human Phil Laak this week beat PokerProbot, the Hydra of Texas hold 'em, in a face-off at Binion's Gambling Hall, Las Vegas.

Laak, 33, also outsmarted three of the card-playing programs PokerProbot defeated to win the World Poker Robot Championship, an earlier three-day $100,000 competition to find the world's best poker-playing algorithm. Supported by a cheering crowd, Laak bettered PokerProbot's pair of kings with a pair of aces in a key hand and went on to defeat his silicon-powered opponent in the last of 300 hands in a three-hour exhibition match, The Los Angeles Times reports.

PokerProbot was developed by Hilton Givens, 39 - an Indiana car salesman, programmer and sometime poker player - who lost a $100 side bet after Laak outsmarted his algorithm. The end of the encounter left Laak, who also hosts a poker show on cable TV and dates actress Jennifer Tilly, relieved rather than elated. Other card players reckon its only a matter of time before computers undo humans in games of trickery and deceit like poker.

"In three to five years, they're going to win," said Kenneth "The Clone" Jones, a professional poker player and occasional computer programmer.

Casinos bar technological aids but Poker programs are widely suspected of being surrupticiously used in online poker games, which are growing in popularity.

"It [PokerProbot] would for sure make money online," Laak (who's known as "the Unabomber" for his habit of hiding emotions behind sunglasses and a hooded sweatshirt). In simpler versions of Texas hold 'em with set betting limits "bots are better than the average person," Laak told the Los Angeles Times. He added that anyone clever enough to program a poker program that can beat a human is smart enough to create a pokerbot that would evade easy detection. ®

Related stories

Poker site cuts IPO price
Online poker firm set to float
WTO rules in online gambling dispute
Women warm to online betting
Isle of Man welcomes US online punters
Punters warm to online poker
Silicon beats carbon in chess battle
Puny human takes on chess-playing supercomputer

Related links

Don't bet against the poker 'robots', Los Angeles Times (registration required)

Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management

More from The Register

next story
Oi, London thief. We KNOW what you're doing - our PRECRIME system warned us
Aye, shipmate, it be just like that Minority Report
WRISTJOB LOVE BONANZA: justWatch sex app promises blind date hookups
Mankind shuffles into the future, five fingers at a time
Every billionaire needs a PANZER TANK, right? STOP THERE, Paul Allen
Angry Microsoftie hauls auctioneers to court over stalled Pzkw. IV 'deal'
Apple's Mr Havisham: Tim Cook says dead Steve Jobs' office has remained untouched
'I literally think about him every day' says biz baron's old friend
Cops apologise for leaving EXPLOSIVES in suitcase at airport
'Canine training exercise' SNAFU sees woman take home booming baggage
Flaming drone batteries ground commercial flight before takeoff
Passenger had Something To Declare, instead fiddled while plane burned
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.