Sunday, May 10, 2015

And now poker: AI battles humans to a draw

A poker showdown between professional players and an artificial intelligence program has ended with a slim victory for the humans — so slim, in fact, that the scientists running the show said it's effectively a tie. The event began two weeks ago, as the four pros — Bjorn Li, Doug Polk, Dong Kim and Jason Les — settled down at Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh to play a total of 80,000 hands of Heads-Up, No-Limit Texas Hold 'em with Claudico, a poker-playing bot made by Carnegie Mellon University computer science researchers....

No actual money was being bet — the dollar amount was more of a running scoreboard, and at the end the humans were up a total of $732,713 (they will share a $100,000 purse based on their virtual winnings). That sounds like a lot, but over 80,000 hands and $170 million of virtual money being bet, three-quarters of a million bucks is pretty much a rounding error, the experimenters said, and can't be considered a statistically significant victory.
Note that poker is a very different kind of game from chess. Chess is a game of perfect information; both players know everything there is to know about the state of play. Poker is not; each player has cards invisible to the other players. Moreover, Chess is a finite game; poker is not.

Hence, it's taken computers longer to be competitive at poker than at chess. Now the day seems to be arriving. We'll see.

1 comment:

  1. Still waiting for AI to play a masterful game of HipBone -- or, since my game doesn't exactly have great "standing", a decent version of the game that won Hermann Hesse the Nobel. Now that would be something!