Pcol writes "The New York Times reports that in a poker game this week between man and machine, a program called Polaris fought a close match, but lost to two well-known professional poker players. Designing a poker playing algorithm is a different and more difficult challenge for software designers than chess and checkers because of uncertainties introduced by the hidden cards held by each player and difficult-to-quantify risk-taking behaviors such as bluffing. The game-tree approach doesn't work in poker because in many situations there is no one best move and a top-notch player adapts his play over time, exploiting his opponent's behavior. Polaris build a series of "bots" that have differing personalities or styles of play, ranging from aggressive to passive. Researchers monitored the performance of three bots and then moved them in and out of the lineup like football players."