This has been in the works for a few months, but I'm happy to be able to finally share the news that the University of Alberta Computer Poker Research Group (CPRG) has organized a match pitting humans against the computer. The match will run on July 23rd and 24th in Vancouver at the AAAI 2007 Artificial Intelligence conference. Representing the humans are Phil "The Unabomber" Laak and Ali Eslami. Representing the machine is the latest and greatest computer poker AI being worked on at the University of Alberta going by the name of Polaris. This match is being run with scientific interest, so every effort has been made to make the match provide a statistically significant result. The reason both Phil and Ali will take part in this match is that it will be run in duplicate. This means that in one room Phil will play against Polaris, but in a separate room Ali will also be playing against Polaris. The cards dealt in both halves of this duplicate match will be exactly the same - with Phil and Ali playing different sides of the same hand. In this manner, a huge portion of the stochastic element of the game is removed leaving mostly the skill aspects of the game (for more information, take a look at my thesis on my Research Page).
We're really excited about this match. The poker group has been working hard on some new AI that is much stronger than previous iterations. As a poker player, I'm pretty excited to meet Phil Laak and be able to chat with him about poker and the research side of poker.
For more information about the match, visit the official match homepage (built in part by yours truly), at http://www.cs.ualberta.ca/~games/poker/man-machine.