Technical Details 2016


The competition will be completely automated. It is sensible during the competition to level the computational playing field. Therefore, during each half of a duplicate match, the following will occur:

  • The hard disk of a client machine will be reset to have the files provided by a competitor. Hereafter, these files will be considered the "program".
  • The program is started: no more than ten minutes can be spent for starting the program.
  • The server connects to both clients, and begins the match.
  • The total amount of time a player can take in one match is seven seconds times the number of hands for Texas Hold'em games, or 1 second per hundred hands in Kuhn poker games. If the maximum time is exceeded, the program may be disqualified.
  • In a Texas Hold'em game, the maximum time a player can take for a single action is 10 minutes.
  • The bots are not allowed to connect to the internet.

Software Setup

Any concerns or bugs in the code should be posted on the forums.

This year's competition will use the 2011 ACPC server code. The code is available here.

Descriptions of the competition's communication protocols are available here.

We emphasize that people test their code, by making sure their clients can connect to the server provided.

Competitors are reminded that this is a competition about artificial intelligence in poker, and any attempt to manipulate the outcome by abusing TCP/IP (by trying to packet sniff, communicate with other bots, connect to the internet, or use denial of service attacks) may result in disqualification.

Access to Submissions

As in previous years, entries in the Texas Hold'em competition will be kept on a private benchmark server.  Only competitors will be given access to the benchmark server, and competitors will only be able to play hands against benchmark agents: competition entries will never be publicly available.  This years' entrants will be kept for two years before they are deleted.

For the new 3 player Kuhn event, the agents will be made publicly available after the competition.

Hardware Setup

For the Texas Hold'em poker events, the hardware setup will be similar to the 2013 competition, and will be run on Amazon EC2 64-bit Linux instances. Each entry is allowed up to 200 GB of uncompressed disk space.  Competitors will be able to choose m3.medium (1 vCPU * 1 core 3.75GB RAM) or m4.large (2 vCPU 8GB) instance.  Note that these machines are likely SLOWER than your machine.  Amazon says the m3 instance types are Intel Xeon E5-2670 (Sandy Bridge) Processor running at 2.6 GHz.  This means that if your agent takes more than a second or two per hand on your own machine, you are likely to exceed the 7 second time limit on a competition instance.

Anyone with an Amazon account has (at the date of this writing) free access to a micro sized instance for correctness testing.  In addition, all competitors will be given access to an instance before the competition begins for final testing of their bots.

The 3 player Kuhn poker events will be allowed up to 10MB of uncompressed disk space.  Because the game is so small, entries will be allowed fairly minimal compute time: no more than second per hundred hands, with the competition run on t1.micro (1 core 600MB RAM).

If you have specific software requests these should accompany your expression of interest to the competition chair, which should be received before December 1st, 2015.