A group of scholars from the University of Alberta (Canada) has developed a strategy that allows one of the types of poker to always win. But the algorithm is not as simple as, say, tic-tac-toe, because it examines 319 billion possibilities.
The scientific group, which includes several computer scientists, chose the ‘Texas hold’ em ‘version with fixed limit and only two players (HULHE for its acronym in English) for their calculations. According to his estimation, it is the simplest form of poker, with very restricted bets. That reduces to 13.8 billion the number of circumstances that can arise during each game.
As the scientists reveal in an article published the journal ‘Science’, to calculate an optimal move in each situation and the whole set of situations, they needed 200 computers linked together, with 24 processors in each one. But even so the system took two months to process the set of options that the game allows.
From now on, Canadians maintain, this form of poker can be considered as a definitively solved game, just like Connect 4, the game of the mill and checkers. Also remember that not all strategic board games have a “perfect solution”. Chess, for example, has none, like ‘go’, a millennial game of Chinese origin.
For now, only this computer program, dubbed Cepheus, can safely use the algorithm created so as not to ever make mistakes when playing poker. And, obviously, no human being is capable of processing data at the speed necessary to play a game against that machine.
However, the authors do not rule out that a computer that has been introduced to the algorithm may lose to a person on some occasion, although the chances of that happening are very limited. But no one, not even computers, is protected against bad luck …