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I'm not a big fan of computer games (my own Yahtzee submission notwithstaning), but Luigi Giaccari's Poker Predictor reminds us that sometimes code can exist just for fun. (Perhaps those of you who actually earn a living playing Texas Hold 'Em can argue that poker is not "just for fun," but for our purposes here, let's assume that we all play cards just for the fun of it.)

Luigi's instructions for the installation and use of his tool are located at advancedmcode.org. Poker Predictor is a MATLAB tool to calculate poker game probabilities from any possible card configuration. Probabilities are computed with random card permutations; they are not exact, but are, according to Luigi, sure to be within 1% of the true values. The program can simulate 100,000 10-player Texas Hold 'Em games in a matters of 0.3 seconds, so it is actually a real time tool, very useful for online games--especially with high-level players. And Poker Predictor will allow you to specify your own cards, as well as those of your opponents.

Installing and setting up Luigi's file takes a bit of extra effort. You'll have to go to advancedmcode.com and download and install a fairly large (28+ MB) zip file of hand ranks. After that, it's easy; although his program uses a mex interface to C++ code, Luigi went so far as to include for you pre-compiled files for Win32!

Here's a snapshot of the tool, showing my probability of winning a 10-hand game with pocket aces, before the flop is turned:

I have a 31% chance of winning right from the get-go!

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to lighten the purses of my poker buddies, armed with some new knowledge...and my MATLAB-based odds calculator! :)

Comments?




Published with MATLAB® 7.9

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