A group of Canadian programmers and researchers at University of of Alberta have created what they claim to be the first unbeatable Limit Hold'em program. The program is called "Cepheus" and the devolopers believe that not even the best players in the world would win against it in the long run.
In order to learn the game, Cepheus played more than a billion billion hands of Texas hold'em - more poker hands than have been played in human history. The computer program required the power of four thousand computer processors, with each processor handling six billion hands per second. During this time the program built up a database of cards dealt, betting decisions and outcomes.
"For every single possible situation you could get into, it has a description for how you should play," said Neil Burch, a computer scientist who helped develop Cepheus at the University of Alberta Computer Poker Research Group.
Burch admits that Cepheus starts off with a pretty bad strategy but that it comes up with a better strategy every new hand. The program won't win every single hand, but it won't lose to anyone in the long run.
"Cepheus loses to no one over a long enough time. You just have to play enough hands so that luck goes away," said Burch.
You can play against Cepheus on University of Alberta's website, but keep in mind that a lot of hands are required in order for the program to learn your game.
"I'm sure we'll get plenty of emails from people who will play 20 or 30 hands against it, win a little bit, and then happily declare victory and say Cepheus must have a bug. But while a human or another program could get lucky and beat Cepheus in a short match, nobody could do it consistently over a long match," said Michael Johanson, a researcher at the lab.