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Online poker craze joined by 'pokerbots'

July 14, 2005 at 12:45 PM

JACKSONVILLE, Fla., July 14 (UPI) -- A growing number of computer programmers have muddied the waters of the online poker craze by designing scientific "pokerbots" that outthink humans.

One of them is 29-year-old Brian Edwards of Jacksonville, Fla., a Web site administrator for Blue Cross Blue Shield, who says he's probably the only bot programmer who hasn't run his system online against humans.

"It's definitely possible to create a poker robot that plays better than yourself," Edwards said.

He told U.S. News & World Report he considers himself a midrange player and that he's about broken even in the two years he's been playing.

"Teaching a computer to play poker is different from teaching yourself," he said. "A human brain works with fuzzy knowledge and is able to make generalizations."

Pokerbots are a thorn in the side of online casinos. Internet sites such as Partypoker ban robots and hire employees to try to weed them out, the report said.

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