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What is Pokerbots?

6.176, or MIT Pokerbots, is a computerized poker tournament. Teams have one month to program a completely autonomous pokerbot to compete against other teams.

Competitors must learn and apply concepts in economics, mathematics, and computer science not normally developed together in academic settings in order to conquer their opponents and emerge victorious.

This year's competition features over $30,000 in prizes and attention from the most prestigious technology and trading firms. This IAP, channel your programming ability and strategic quantitative thinking skills to become the reigning Pokerbots champion!

FAQ

Why Poker?

As a game of incomplete information and uncertainty, poker is a prime application of the game theory concepts and decision making skills essential to trading. While traders make risk decisions based on the limited information they get from the markets, poker players make decisions based on hidden information as well, taking into account factors such as expected value and probability distributions.

Furthermore, poker is a widely known game that has become a cultural phenomenon in recent years and it is extremely popular on college campuses. This keeps the game accessible to bright minds with the requisite skills to succeed as traders.

Wait, I thought this was a programming competition? What language is it in?

It is! To build a working pokerbot only requires both critical thinking ability and an eagerness to learn. However, an understanding of machine learning, algorithms and data mining can go a long way towards creating an advanced pokerbot. The competitors can choose to code in either C++, Python, or Java.

Machine Learning? Algorithms? Gulp. So exactly how much coding experience is necessary?

We are welcoming students with all levels of programming experience. Nevertheless, some previous coding experience would certainly be helpful. Although not necessary, we recommend you have at least one team member with some programming experience.

What form of poker will it be?

We are keeping the game and tournament structure secret. You will hear all about it during the challenge unveiling in early January 2015.

Teams you say? How many members can make up a team?

Teams may be composed of 1 - 4 players.

And how about course credit?

We will have various reference players for you to challenge during the competition. If you defeat all of our reference players, you will receive credit. If you are unable to do so, you must write a strategy report. More on this later, just beat the reference players!

Do I have to be an MIT student to participate?

For our course and tournament in January, you must be able to register for MIT IAP classes. However, we are planning on setting up an open online competition some time during March for undergrad and grad students nationwide. Sign up for our mailing list to stay updated!

How do I register?

IAP pre-registration has opened! You can register on WebSIS. Simply pre-register for 6.176. IAP preregistration ends December 31st, so don't forget!

Sounds challenging! How much time will it take to make a pokerbot?

Creating a working pokerbot takes no time at all. However, beating our reference players will not be a simple task. You should view this as taking a class. To be competitive in the tournaments will require even more time. Nobody said it would be easy, but we will try our best to help along the way.

Sponsors

Pokerbots would not be possible without the generosity of our sponsors:

Jump Trading
KCG Sig 3Red
Two Sigma DE Shaw Citadel
Akuna Oracle

Interested in sponsoring? Scroll down for our contact information.

Contact Us

Questions? Comments? Concerns? We'd love to hear from you.

You can reach the Pokerbots Team at pokerbots@mit.edu.

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