About the ACPC

The Annual Computer Poker Competition has run since 2006. Historically the competition takes place each summer at the AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence or at the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence when it happens in North America (since AAAI is not run). The event attracts competitors, both academics and hobbyists alike, from countries around the world.

Competition Objective

There are many altruistic reasons for researching artificial intelligence in the context of poker. Two such reasons are:

  • Poker is a game humans find interesting: at a basic level, artificial intelligence researchers stand to gain by considering those problems humans not only face but are fascinated by.
  • Poker brings many new and interesting problems that are not faced in checkers, chess, Go, or backgammon. It is not only random, there is hidden information, and a desire to maximize your winnings. Handling the hidden information is a problem that is on the edge of artificial intelligence: for instance, in video games, often the bots cheat, i.e. they are given perfect information about the world. Understanding how AI can tackle these problems is key to the next stage of AI, not only in video games, but in real-world scenarios, such as in business and the military.

At its heart, the Annual Computer Poker Competition aims to benefit artificial intelligence by promoting, aiding, and evaluating research in the challenging problems presented by the wide variety of poker games. By having an annual competition, we hope to provide ongoing encouragement to improve existing methods and develop new ideas and algorithms for tackling even more challenging variants of poker.

Although we expect competitors to focus on winning, the main focus of the competition is on developing a further understanding of how poker research can benefit artificial intelligence. In order to do this, we believe the competition should be as open as possible, so that the results reveal not only who won, but why they won.