POKER EXPERTS TO PLAY LATEST A.I. POKER BOT
 
More hands in competition against Libratus, the latest robot player from Carnegie Mellon university.
 
Scientists at the Carnegie Mellon University have renewed their challenge to poker pros, this time Jason Les, Dong Kim, Daniel McAulay and Jimmy Chou, to tangle with their latest AI poker robot Libratus with a prize of $200,000 for the winner.
 
Our readers will recall that in a 2015 competition between human professional players and Carnegie Mellon's earlier bot Claudico over 80,000 hands in total, it was the humans who emerged triumphant, but this time the competition will be over 120,000 hands, giving a better evaluation of the latest AI technology developments.
 
The 80,000 hands played then proved to be too few to establish the superiority of human or computer with statistical significance, leading Libratus project head and university computer science professor Tuomas Sandholm and the poker pros to increase the number of hands by 50 percent for the rematch.
 
In “Brains Vs. Artificial Intelligence: Upping the Ante,” beginning January 11 at Rivers Casino, the poker pros will play a collective 120,000 hands of Heads-Up No-Limit Texas Hold’em over 20 days against Libratus, and the university scientists working on the Libratus project hope to establish a new benchmark for artificial intelligence.
 
“Since the earliest days of AI research, beating top human players has been a powerful measure of progress in the field,” Sandholm said this week. “That was achieved with chess in 1997, with Jeopardy! in 2009 and with the board game Go just last year.
 
"Us Online Poker poses a far more difficult challenge than these games, as it requires a machine to make extremely complicated decisions based on incomplete information while contending with bluffs, slow play and other ploys.”
 
Jason Les said he was waiting to see how effective the new robot is, commenting:
 
“I thought Claudico was tough to play; knowing the resources and the ideas that Dr. Sandholm and his team have had available in the 20 months since the first contest, I assume this AI will be even more challenging.”
 
Brains Vs. AI is sponsored by GreatPoint Ventures, Avenue4Analytics, TNG Technology Consulting GmbH, the journal Artificial Intelligence, Intel and Optimized Markets, Inc. Carnegie Mellon’s School of Computer Science has partnered with Rivers Casino, the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center (PSC) through a peer-reviewed XSEDE allocation, and Sandholm’s Electronic Marketplaces Laboratory for this event.
 
Poker pro and coach Phil Galfond said that the four human players were amongst the most competitive Heads-Up No-Limit Texas Hold’em players in the world.
 
“Your favorite poker player almost surely wouldn't agree to play any of these guys for high stakes, and would lose a lot of money if they did,” Galfond observed. “Each of the four would beat me decisively.”
 
Sandholm revealed that Libratus incorporates new technology and concepts and was built from scratch. The team developed a new algorithm for computing strong strategies for imperfect-information games and are using the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center’s Bridges supercomputer to calculate what they hope will be the winning strategy.
 
“We’re pushing on the supercomputer like crazy,” Sandholm said, noting they have used around 15 million core hours of computation to build Libratus, compared with the 2-3 million core hours used for Claudico.
 
To as far as possible eliminate the element of luck, the four pros will be paired to play duplicate matches; Player A in each pair will receive the same cards as the computer receives against Player B, and vice versa. One of the players in each of these pairs will play on the floor of the casino, while his counterpart will be isolated in a separate room.
 
Play will begin at 11 a.m. each day at Rivers Casino and end around 7 p.m. The public is welcome to observe game play, which will be in Rivers’ Poker Room.
 
The matches against Claudico attracted over 300,000 Twitch viewers, and the competition against Libratus is expected to be equally popular with fans of the game.