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Cue sports, also known as billiard sports, are a wide variety of games of skill generally played with a cue stick, which is used to strike billiard balls and thereby cause them to move around a cloth-covered billiards table bounded by elastic bumpers known as cushions. Historically, the umbrella term was billiards.
Billiards is a game of both strategy and physical skill. Tosucceed, a player must be able to select strong shots, and thenexecute them accurately and consistently. Several robotic bil-liards players have recently been developed. These systemsaddress the task of executing shots on a physical table, but sofar have incorporated little strategic reasoning. They requireAI to select the ‘best’ shot taking into account the accuracyof the robotics, the noise inherent in the domain, the continu-ous nature of the search space, the difficulty of the shot, andthe goal of maximizing the chances of winning. This paperdevelops and compares several approaches to establishing astrong AI for billiards. The resulting program, PickPocket,won the first international computer billiards competition.