Structure of the game

The game is a pot-limit Omaha Hold 'em poker variant in which two bots battle each other heads up. Omaha is a poker variant that is a bit less known than Texas Hold 'em, but very similar in structure. However, the strategies in this game are very different!

In Omaha players are dealt 4 hole cards (cards in the hand), where in Texas Hold 'em they get 2. The community cards (cards on the table) are dealt exactly the same: flop, turn and river. At showdown there's a difference again. The players' hand is the best combination of cards of exactly 2 hole cards and exactly 3 community cards. In Texas HoldĀ 'em more than 3 community cards are allowed for the strongest hand.

In each match, both bots start with the same amount of chips. This amount will be provided by the engine to your bot at the start of the game. The usual poker rules for heads-up play apply. This means that the bot that has the dealer button receives the small blind and the other bot the big blind. Before the flop the bot with the small blind has to act first, but in the betting rounds after the flop the other bot has to act first each time. The match continues until one of the bots has won all the chips. So the matches are played like two player tournaments. This game is pot limit, so a bot can never raise more than the size of the current pot.

List of poker hands

Below you will find a list of possible hands in poker, ranked from highest to lowest. If two hands are the same, the one with the higher value cards in that hand wins. For example, a pair of aces wins over a pair of fives.
1. Royal flush
2. Straight flush
3. Four of a kind
4. Full house
5. Flush
6. Straight
7. Three of a kind
8. Two pair
9. One pair
10. High card

Blind levels

In each match the blinds are small at the start of the match. The blinds are increased each time after a fixed number of hands has been played. This keeps the game dynamic and gives your bot more strategic possibilities. It also ensures that matches will not go on endlessly, since the blinds eventually will become so high that the bots are forced to go all in by paying the blinds. But of course there are enough hands to play to eliminate the opponent with a good strategy, before the luck factor becomes too high.


In this game type your bot plays against one other bot. Your bot will not know which other bot he's playing against at the start of the game, so your bot cannot use predefined strategies based on opponent's identities. (By the way, this is not allowed at all on this site.) This does not mean your bot can't gather information about the strategies of your opponent during the game! Then use this information against him to win the match.

Your bot wins when he gets all the opponent's chips. The number of hands played are not relevant. Easy, right?

Technical details

During a match, bots are asked to make moves. Each bot starts a new match with a time bank. The time that your bot takes to return its next action is deducted from the time bank. But the time bank is increased with a small amount for each action your bot has to make. For example, the initial time bank could be 5 seconds and the time added per move half a second. That would mean that your bot should on average react in half a second. If your bot keeps reacting within half a second, then your time bank will stay at the maximum amount, giving your bot the opportunity to perform larger calculations when needed. If your bot then once uses 4 seconds to return its move, then it has only 1 second of its time bank left, which together with the added time brings the time bank for the next move down to 1.5 seconds. So bots should decide on their moves quite fast, but the time bank gives your bot the flexibility to think a little longer now and then. The amount of time per action and the maximal time bank are given to the bot at the start of a match. Currently we start with a time bank of 10 seconds and 0.5 seconds added time per move.

Besides the time bank, there is also another measures against bad bots, that could keep our game server occupied. If your bot returns nothing more than twice in a row, all it's following moves are automatically a check. To avoid this happening to your bot, make sure it returns at least something in time, like a check or a fold.

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