Providing an entertaining and informative diversion next month at the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas, the latest artificial intelligence endowed poker programs will be pitted against top human professionals.
 
Scheduled for July 3 – 6 the second Man vs. Machine Poker Championship will be presented at the 2008 Gaming Life Expo at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino.
 
Some of the top pros in poker will compete against Polaris 2, a powerful poker playing program created by the Computer Poker Research Group at the University of Alberta in British Columbia, Canada. 
 
Polaris 2 is the latest version of a sophisticated AI program that fought it out with human players Phil Laak and Ali Eslami in Vancouver last year (see previous InfoPowa report).
 
In that confrontation, the humans came out ahead with two wins, one loss and a draw in a series of four matches playing Texas Hold'em.
 
A similar format is envisaged for July's clash, with each round comprising a 500-duplicate-hand Limit Texas Hold'em match where the same cards are dealt to a human and the program in one room and a second human and the program in another room. At the end of the match, the total number of chips won or lost by each team determines the winner.
 
This time around the human element will be provided by talented poker coaches from the Stoxpoker.com website. Lead coach Bryce Paradis commented: "Against the current AI in Polaris 2, the average poker player would be completely dominated. The Polaris 2 team has made incredible improvements since the match last year."
 
"The most powerful change is that the AI will now learn from and adapt to its opponents' play as the match progresses," he elaborated. "This year's Man vs. Machine match is going to push our team to its limit."