In 2005-2006 I developed PokerPirate, a pokerbot. Pokerbots are software that play online poker without human interaction. PokerPirate successfully beat single table, no limit, Texas Hold’em tournaments. These are better known as sit-and-go’s. PokerPirate played the $5 tournaments on Royal Vegas Poker. After recouping my losses from the development process, I decided to turn the bot off. I am now releasing the source code and using it as a case study in artificial intelligence and software engineering.
Poker presents a particular challenge to the AI developer. Much like the real world, poker hands can have millions of variations, there is a lot of unknown information, and a lot of human interaction. AI techniques capable of winning at poker would be a significant advance because they could be applied to many problems that are currently unsolved.
A successful pokerbot, however, is intrinsically interesting apart from any potential advancement in AI. For example, it could provide the owner with an effort-free source of income. The AI in PokerPirate does not use any advanced techniques. Instead, I have carefully selected a game that simple techniques would be effective at beating. Most pokerbots specialize in limit table games, but PokerPirate specializes in no-limit sit-and-go tournaments. I don’t think there are many bots competing in these games yet. Read the rest of this entry »