How a Freshman's Simple Poker Algorithm Won a University AI Competition

Mia Nightshade

Updated Friday, June 28, 2024 at 12:00 AM CDT

In an unexpected twist, a freshman student managed to outsmart seasoned competitors in a university Poker AI competition with an incredibly simple algorithm. The story, shared by the user "versaceblues," has garnered significant attention on social media.

The competition tasked participants with creating a bot to play poker within a two-hour window, with the first-place prize being a new MacBook. Despite having no prior experience, the student devised an elementary strategy:


if isMyTurn:



Surprisingly, this straightforward approach led to a win, as the opposing bots began folding every single time. The post, highlighted by user "skautism," has received 810 upvotes, capturing the imagination of many.

A follow-up comment by "tigerterror" humorously noted, "Everyone else made AIs, but only OP was playing poker." This remark, featured in a dark box by user "jorbs-palace," emphasizes the innovative simplicity of the winning strategy.

The image showcasing this story has accumulated 28.6K interactions, including likes, reblogs, and comments. The light-hearted and humorous exchange among users highlights the unpredictable nature of AI competitions and the potential for unconventional strategies to yield unexpected victories.

In the world of programming and AI, as one commenter noted, "Step 1 of programming: Make it work. Step n of programming: Make it good." The freshman's success story is a testament to the first step—making it work, even if the solution is as simple as "go all in."

Gus Hansen, a professional poker player, famously adopted a similar all-in strategy during televised tournaments, proving that sometimes, the boldest moves pay off. This tale serves as a reminder that innovation doesn't always require complexity; sometimes, simplicity can triumph over sophistication.

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View source: Imgur

Top Comments from Imgur


It's a bona fide strategy that's worked in real tournaments. Gus Hansen famously did it on air, even.


Step 1 of programming: Make it work. Step n of programming: Make it good.


Ok, but how is the new macbook?


I always laugh at my coworkers worried about ai and reassure them their job is safe.


Hey that's my strategy!


tigerterror's comment is appropriate. Computers beat human chess masters a long time ago, but it took a lot more effort to beat top line poker players at holdem. The difference is that in chess everyone knows everything about the board, all options and outcomes can be evaluated. But in Poker most of the information is hidden and the human players aren't confined by rules other than a few to maintain order.


It doesn't need to be good, it just needs to be better than the rest.




This is also how you win at online's also how you lose a lot at online poker when you do it with a 2, 9 off-suit on the first hand.


this has worked in pretty much every video game ive ever played

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