Are scientists and mathematicians nearing a solution on how to play the perfect game of Hold'em poker? The answer is maybe. With the introduction of Heads-Up Limit Hold’Em (HULHE), Doctor Michael Bowling of the University of Alberta has introduced a poker simulation that offers a player the possibility of being able to win on a consistent basis.
That said, there are certain limitations of the program that should be mentioned. The program was tested on head-to-head competition because it attacked the game in the simplest form where simple means only 13.8 trillion possible permutations. That's a lot of possibilities that required other modifications, including wagering restrictions and playing the game against normal conventions. It also required about 24 processors, 200 computers and an enormous algorithm to handle the workload over a 60-day period of time.
The reality is that the program may only be viable for head-to-head competition since any other game format, which features more players and wider range of wagering options, begins presenting a number of permutations that goes far beyond what is feasible without hundreds of years of programming and thousands of computers working in unison.
The real irony behind the HULHE program is that it is being developed by Dr. Bowling with more practical applications in mind. Those applications really have nothing to do with playing poker or any other game. Those applications might include the ability to zero in on medical diagnosis or a method for tracking airport security issues throughout the world.
When all is said and done, HULHE touches the realm of possibility, but is really just another in a long line of programs trying to find a way to beat a game based on mathematical probabilities. A truly effective program would be one that operates more like the human brain. This would allow for more input beyond the statistics, which might include bluffing or "limping" forms of wagering.
For players who are interested in trying out a related program that pits them against the computer in a head-to-head Hold'em game, they can go to the Cepheus Poker Project website. On the site, the game is designed to give players a glimpse of what's possible, if still improbable.
Otherwinse we suggest you try the more traditional Pokerrooms who knows maybe you have a chance to beat all of your oppenents - play now!