Enlarge / Online poker pro Dong Kim plays poker against an AI program in 2015. He lost to an updated program in this year’s rematch event. (credit: Carnegie Mellon University)
Artificial intelligence has enjoyed some remarkable online-gaming victories in recent years, though usually in slower games with clear—if incredibly multi-threaded—rule systems. On Monday, the robots pushed ahead with a slightly more remarkable online-gaming victory over their puny human masters when an AI program won big at Texas Hold ‘Em poker.
A lengthy tournament of Hold ‘Em—specifically, the heads-up, no-limit variety—ended with victory for Libratus, an AI program developed by a professor and PhD candidate at Carnegie Mellon University. Libratus emerged victorious after 120,000 combined hands of poker played against four human online-poker pros. Libratus’ $1.7 million margin of victory, combined with so many hands, clears the “Brains Vs.

Artificial Intelligence” tournament’s primary bar: victory with statistical significance.
In spite of Texas Hold ‘Em’s intriguing, bluff-related wrinkles, Libratus seems to have bluffers figured out.

Carnegie Mellon’s declared design of the AI program describes an emphasis on “algorithms [used] to analyze the rules of poker and set its own strategy”—with, you know, 15 million super-computing hours dedicated to that aim. Libratus’ primary computer, named Bridges, performed additional routines both during live play and in the nighttime hours following each day of play.
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