Machine vs. Machine Texas Hold ‘Em Matches

[SS] “Even if computers have no problem defeating the best humans in the future, they’ll still be able to compete against each other to see who’s best”, Stan the Stat segued. “The first major machine vs. machine poker contest was held in the summer of 2004 at the International Conference on Cognitive Modeling. The not-so-serious World Poker Robot Championship followed in 2005, then the Annual Computer Poker Competition, the de facto world championship, began in 2006.”

Machine vs. Machine Texas Hold ‘Em Tournaments

Dates Tournament Winning Program Second Place Third Place Format Notes
2004/07/30 to 2004/08/01 International Conference on Cognitive Modeling PokerBot Competition Ace Gruber
(Univ. of Toronto)
44 wins in 104 tournaments (42%)
(Terrence C. Stewart & Robert West, Carleton Univ.)
28 wins (27%)
(Dan Bothell, Carnegie Mellon Univ.)
14 wins (13%)
5-Player No Limit Hold ‘Em Tournament
Starting Stacks: 10,000 chips
Blinds: 10/20, Doubling every 100 hands
Each bot had only 100 seconds per 100 actions.
DumbBot (Richard Carter, University of Edinburgh) was only one game out of third place, while YesterdaySushi (Maxim Makatchev, Univ. of Pittsburgh) brought up the rear.
2005/07/12 to 2005/07/14 World Poker Robot Championship1 PokerProbot
(Hilton Givens)
(Roger Gabriel)
(the other competitors were Benbot, BlackShark, gobot, and HoldemMemory)
6-Player Limit Hold ‘Em Tournament PokerProbot, which won $100,000, then stacked Poki-X in 886 hands in a heads-up exhibition match with 15,000-chip starting stacks and escalating blinds starting at 100/200.2
2006 to present AAAI3 Annual Computer Poker Competition Various
(see next table)
(see next table)
(see next table)
Limit and No Limit Hold ‘Em The competition, which has been held annually except for 2015, began when Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Alberta wanted to test their bots against each other and found three others for the first event in Boston in 2006.

AAAI Annual Computer Poker Competition

Year Format4 Entries Winner5 Second Place Third Place Notes
2006 HU LHE Total Bankroll 4 Hyperborean06 BluffBot Monash-BPP 7 seconds per hand. Teddy 4th.
2006 HU LHE Series Competition 4 Hyperborean06 BluffBot GS2 60 seconds per hand. Teddy 4th.
2007 HU LHE Online 33 Hyperborean07 Online2 Hyperborean07 Online1 GS3
2007 HU LHE Equilibrium 33 Hyperborean07 Online2 IanBot GS3
2007 HU NLHE Bankroll Competition 10 BluffBot2.0 GS3 Hyperborean07
2008 HU LHE Bankroll 9 GS4-Beta Hyperborean08-Online Hyperborean08-Equilibrium 60,000-hand matches. Fell Omen 2 4th.
2008 HU LHE Wins 9 Hyperborean08-Equilibrium Hyperborean08-online
Fell Omen 2
Hyperborean went 8-0; the other three medalists tied at 6-2.
2008 HU NLHE Bankroll Instant Runoff 4 Hyperborean08 BluffBot 3.0 Tartanian2-Beta 100,000-hand matches; Ballarat 4th.
2008 6-Player LHE Ring Game 6 Poki0 AKI-RealBot DCU CMURing-Prototype 4th.
2009 HU LHE Bankroll 13 MANZANA Hyperborean-BR GGValuta 75 3,000-hand matches between each bot (then another 45 as tiebreakers). Hyperborean-Eqm 4th (by a tiny amount).
2009 HU LHE Runoff 13 GGValuta Hyperborean-Eqm MANZANA Rockhopper 4th.
2009 HU NLHE Bankroll 5 HyperboreanNL-BR HyperboreanNL-Eqm BluffBot4 60 3,000-hand matches between each bot. Tartanian3RM 4th.
2009 HU NLHE Runoff 5 Hyperborean-Eqm Hyperborean-BR BluffBot4 Tartanian3RM 4th, Tartanian3 5th
2009 3-Player LHE Bankroll 7 Hyperborean3p.TBR.2009 HyperboreanRing-BR akuma 110 1,000-hand matches without two bots from the same team; 40 1,000-hand matches with teammates.
2009 3-Player LHE Runoff 7 Hyperborean3p.IRO.2009 HyperboreanRing-BR dpp
2010 HU LHE Total Bankroll 13 PULPO Hyperborean.tbr Sartre Rockhopper 4th.
2010 HU LHE Bankroll Instant Runoff 13 Rockhopper GGValuta Hyperborean.iro Slumbot 4th.
2010 HU NLHE Total Bankroll 5 Tartanian4.tbr PokerBotSLO Hyperborean.tbr SartreNL 4th.
2010 HU NLHE Bankroll Instant Runoff 5 Hyperborean.iro SartreNL Tartanian4.iro PokerBotSLO 4th.
2010 3-Player LHE Total Bankroll 5 Hyperborean3p.TBR.2010 Little.Rock Bender
2010 3-Player LHE Bankroll Instant Runoff 5 Hyperborean3p.IRO.2010 dcu3pl.iro Little.Rock
2011 HU LHE Total Bankroll 19 Calamari Sartre Hyperborean-2011-2p-limit-tbr
2011 HU LHE Bankroll Instant Runoff 19 Hyperborean-2011-2p-limit-iro Slumbot Calamari Sartre 4th.
2011 HU NLHE Total Bankroll 7 Lucky7 SartreNL Hyperborean-2011-2p-nolimit-tbr
2011 HU NLHE Bankroll Instant Runoff 7 Hyperborean-2011-2p-nolimit-iro SartreNL Hugh
2011 3-Player LHE Total Bankroll 9 Sartre3p Hyperborean-2011-3p-limit-tbr AAIMontybot
2011 3-Player LHE Bankroll Instant Runoff 8 Hyperborean-2011-3p-limit-iro Sartre3p Little.Rock
2012 HU LHE Total Bankroll 13 Slumbot Little.Rock
3,000-hand matches. Yperborean.tb4 4th, basically tied with patience.
2012 HU LHE Bankroll Instant Runoff 13 Slumbot Hyperborean Zbot Little.Rock 4th.
2012 HU NLHE Total Bankroll 11 Little.Rock Hyperborean Tartanian5 4th.
2012 HU NLHE Bankroll Instant Runoff 11 Hyperborean Tartanian5 Neo Poker Bot little.rock 4th.
2012 3-Player LHE Total Bankroll 5 Hyperborean Little.Rock Neo Poker Bot
2012 3-Player LHE Bankroll Instant Runoff 5 Hyperborean Little.Rock Neo Poker Bot
2013 HU LHE Total Bankroll 13 Marv Feste
zbot 4th.
2013 HU LHE Bankroll Instant Runoff 11 Neo Poker Lab Hyperborean Zbot
2013 HU NLHE Total Bankroll 13 Slumbot
nyx 4th, basically tied with koypetition.
2013 HU NLHE Bankroll Instant Runoff 13 Hyperborean Slumbot Tartanian6
2013 3-Player LHE Total Bankroll 6 Hyperborean Little.Rock Neo Poker Bot HITSZ_CS_13 4th.
2013 3-Player LHE Bankroll Instant Runoff 6 Hyperborean Little.Rock Neo Poker Bot kempfer 4th.
2014 HU LHE Total Bankroll 10 Escabeche SmooCT Hyperborean
HU LHE Bankroll Instant Runoff not held.
2014 HU NLHE Total Bankroll 14 Tartanian7 Nyx
Slumbot 4th.
2014 HU NLHE Bankroll Instant Runoff 14 Tartanian7 Prelude
Slumbot 4th.
2014 3-Player LHE Total Bankroll 5 Hyperborean SmooCT KEmpfer HITSZ_CS_14 4th.
2014 3-Player LHE Bankroll Instant Runoff 5 Hyperborean SmooCT KEmpfer HITSZ_CS_14 4th.
2016 HU NLHE Total Bankroll 11 Baby Tartanian8 Slumbot
HU LHE and 3-Player LHE weren’t held. Nyx TBR 4th.
2016 HU NLHE Bankroll Instant Runoff 11 Baby Tartanian8 Slumbot Act1 Nyx IRO 4th.


  1. The event was originally called the World Series of Poker Robots but had to be changed due to trademark issues.
  2. The match was very close, however. On three separate occasions, Poki-X, which was deemed too strong to play in the tournament, was up by more big blinds than the final margin of the game.
  3. AAAI is short for the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence.
  4. The two current ACPC formats are:
    • Total Bankroll: place determined by total chips after all matches have been played
    • Instant Runoff: the bot with the lowest total bankroll is eliminated after each round

    Early contests also included a “series” competition, which was a round robin.

    Most events have been heads-up (HU) or 3-Player, but a 6-Player event was included in 2008 and seems likely to return in 2017. Only Limit Hold ‘Em (LHE) and No Limit Hold ‘Em (NLHE) events are included in the table. A Kuhn Poker (simplified game) has also been played a few times.

  5. Here is the complete list of developers sorted by bot and developer name. Variations on bot names are not listed.

    Bots that have medaled:

    • AAIMontybot: Charles University (Prague, Czech Republic)
    • Act1: Unfold Poker (U.S.)
    • AKI-RealBot: Technical University of Darmstadt (Germany)
    • akuma: Technical University of Darmstadt (Germany)
    • Bender: Technical University of Darmstadt (Germany)
    • BluffBot: Teppo Salonen
    • Calamari: Marv Anderson (U.K.)
    • DCU: Dublin City University (Ireland)
    • dpp: Technical University of Darmstadt (Germany)
    • Escabeche: Marv Anderson (U.K.)
    • Feste: Francois Pays (France)
    • GGValuta: University of Bucharest (Romania)
    • GS2: Carnegie Mellon University (Pittsburgh, PA)
    • Hugh: anonymous famous mathematician and top online heads-up player (U.S. and Canada)
    • Hyperborean: University of Alberta (Canada)
    • KEmpfer: Technical University of Darmstadt (Germany)
    • Little.Rock: Rod Byrnes (Australia)
    • MANZANA: Marv Anderson (U.K.)
    • mcBotUltra: Technical University of Darmstadt (Germany)
    • Neo Poker Bot: Alexander Lee (Spain)
    • Nyx: Charles University (Prague, Czech Republic)
    • Poki0: University of Alberta (Canada)
    • Prelude: Unfold Poker (U.S.)
    • Rockhopper: David Lin (New York)
    • Sartre: University of Auckland (New Zealand)
    • Slumbot: Eric Jackson (U.S.; former Google engineer)
    • SmooCT: Johannes Heinrich (U.K.)
    • Tartanian: Carnegie Mellon University (Pittsburgh, PA)
    • Teddy: Morten Lynge (Ikast, Denmark)
    • Zbot: Ilkka Rajala (Finland)

    Developers who have medaled [other bots by the same developer in brackets]:

    • Alexander Lee (Spain): Neo Poker Bot
    • anonymous famous mathematician and top online heads-up player (U.S. and Canada): Hugh
    • Carnegie Mellon University (Pittsburgh, PA): [Claudico], GS2, [Libratus], Tartanian
    • Charles University (Prague, Czech Republic): AAIMontybot, Nyx
    • David Lin (New York): Rockhopper
    • Dublin City University (Ireland): DCU
    • Eric Jackson (U.S.; former Google engineer): Slumbot
    • Francois Pays (France): Feste
    • Ilkka Rajala (Finland): Zbot
    • Johannes Heinrich (U.K.): SmooCT
    • Marv Anderson (U.K.): Calamari, Escabeche, MANZANA
    • Mikrospin d.o.o. (Slovenia): Lucky7
    • Monash University (Melbourne, Australia): Monash
    • Morten Lynge (Ikast, Denmark): Teddy
    • Rod Byrnes (Australia): Little.Rock
    • Technical University of Darmstadt (Germany): AKI-RealBot, akuma, Bender, dpp, KEmpfer, mcBotUltra
    • Teppo Salonen: BluffBot
    • Unfold Poker (U.S.): Act1, Prelude
    • University of Alberta (Canada): [Cepheus], Hyperborean, [Loki], Poki0, [Polaris], [PSOpti], [Sparbot], [Vexbot]
    • University of Auckland (New Zealand): [Casper], Sartre
    • University of Bucharest (Romania): GGValuta

    Also of note: Allen Cunningham finished 5th with CleverPiggy in the 2014 Heads-Up Limit Hold ‘Em competition.

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