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Supercomputer Libratus outwits humans in ‘Brains vs. AI' poker rematch

Tags: Al, Daniel McAuley, Dong Kim, Jason Les, Jimmy Chou, Libratus, supercomputer.
Posted on 02 February 2017 by "T".

It is the norm that before a match begins, seasoned poker players will scrutinize videos of their upcoming opponents - to learn their playing style and analyze previous poker hands. However, this match is totally different - it would be against a supercomputer designed to play poker.

Jason Les, Dong Kim, Jimmy Chou, and Daniel McAuley - four people categorized to be amongst the best poker players in the industry, have faced off against a supercomputer for 20 days.

For 20 days, they lost.

Libratus, an artificial intelligence that plays poker developed at the Carnegie Mellon University, ultimately crushed its human opponents over the course of the 120,000-hand Brains vs. Artificial Intelligence: Upping the Ante tournament this January at the Rivers Casino on Pittsburgh's North Shore. The grand prize if they beat the AI - a share of $200,000 and the badge of having outwitted a machine - for the second time.

Even as a team, the humans never got a chance. Libratus held a 1.56 million chip lead entering the last day of the match on Monday, January 30. The poker pros had lower than 5,000 hands to try to claw their way back into contention.

In their final day, the poker pros sunk even deeper, losing over 200,000 chips and finishing the tournament with about 1.77 million behind Libratus.
Dong Kim was the one closest to Libratus throughout the tournament, finishing less than 86,000 behind the AI and winning the biggest share of the $200,000 pot split between the four poker players.

Jason Les said, "Its strategy just seemed to improve every day. It seems like you're playing against a tougher opponent every day. You end up getting in this feeling that everything you do is losing. And it's demoralizing."
The game of choice for the poker tournament was Heads-Up No-Limit Texas Hold'em poker, which has been deemed as a last stronghold of resistance to computer gaming dominance. Computers have proven their prowess by beating the best humans at chess, checkers, the game Go, ‘Jeopardy', and other poker versions.

The humans were successful at beating Claudico, an earlier version of Libratus, in the inaugural Brains vs. Artificial Intelligence tournament back in 2015. However, CMU professor Toumas Sandholm and his graduate student Noam Brown made a comeback, and this time, they presented a more powerful and sophisticated pokerbot.
Brown said after the match, "I thought we had an edge over the humans, but I didn't think it would be this large."

Even with less than 5,000 hands left to play, Brown wasn't revealing any of Libratus' secrets. He said all would be made public when he and Sandholm finishes publishing their research. On his website on Monday, Brown wrote a paper on how Libratus made its decisions on the turn and the river cards, which he will show next week at an AI conference.

Brown stated he will not allow Libratus to play with unsuspecting online poker players - as it is powered up by a $9.65 million supercomputer, therefore it's quite expensive to run - however, they will continue to study the data gathered during the tournament in order to perfect the AI's ability to make sound decisions based on imperfect information.

The game of poker naturally presents a unique challenge for AI because opponents always keep their cards concealed, which forces the computer to make decisions without knowing all the information it needs. Using Heads-Up No-Limit Texas Hold'em even adds more uncertainty of bluffing and betting into the mix.

At the start of the tournament, the dean of CMU's School of Computer Science Andrew Moore said that an AI proficient with imperfect information scenarios can be applied in different areas: health, business, military applications and many other situations. It eventually can power a cellphone app designed to purchase a car for you that knows you are willing to pay $5,000 but hides that from the sales person as it negotiates.

Poker pro Daniel McAuley said Libratus was pretty impressive. He did not intend to make excuses but pointed out that fatigue was a factor. The poker pros sometimes played against Libratus for 12 hours each day, usually ending right after 10pm. They would then eat a quick dinner before meeting together in order to study that day's hands and to plan strategies for the next day. After a few hours of sleep, they were back in front of their computers to battle Libratus yet again.

For most of the duration of the challenge, McAuley rarely left the casino or hotel. He went out to dinner once, which was last week, to Emporio: A Meatball Joint on Penn Avenue in Downtown, because it apparently had a high Yelp rating. He hoped he could check it out before he leaves the city.

On the other hand, Libratus has no need to eat or sleep, and uses most of its supercomputer programming in order to study and strategize while it plays. It seemed to adjust to the strategies played out by the humans as a whole as well as to individual tactics of play. McAuley said, "If a player started calling every bet, Libratus stopped bluffing."

When the poker pros thought they found a weakness, Libratus changed course. At the beginning, McAuley said they underestimated Libratus, "If we knew it was this good, we wouldn't have made it as obvious as to what we were doing. I would love a rematch."



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20 comments on "Supercomputer Libratus outwits humans in ‘Brains vs. AI'' poker rematch"

 pochui02/02/2017 13:48:03 GMT
well yeah this has already been discussed quite a bit in the forum already before this news became public news, pinotte had a couple of quite popular threads going on and StheP provided the link to the interview with the players invovled- funny enough no one had an interview with the libratus, wonder what it had to say about the outcome?
 Marble4202/02/2017 14:32:02 GMT
Where can I download the software? Big Smile Jokes aside, this is some pretty impressive stuff, at least when it comes to online poker. Next step? Put a bug in the ear and communicate remotely with the software and win big money Tongue
 bowie198402/02/2017 19:56:05 GMT
Honestly this was one instance so it's pretty far from being representative. I would recommend that we deal with the consequences after this AI beats humans the second, third, fifth time as well. One occurance just isn't enough of a sample to make bold statements about it, but definitely an eyebrow raiser. For sure.
 pajalnick02/02/2017 23:46:13 GMT
we are faced with the disappointing reality - computer intelligent person ... and if it still be able to add some emotion close time of the creation of Frankenstein .. or terminator .... interesting future awaits us .. probably
 TheMachineQC03/02/2017 02:09:58 GMT
I would be interested to see how this computer plays but to be honest no decision is perfect in poker... Sometimes the right decision is just not gonna give you the right result and there's nothing one can do about it. The sample would have to be really huge and against a lot of different humans with different style to really say it is better than human poker players. Besides if you're playing like it's play money the dynamics of the game change... and I doubt a machine knows the value of money.

 doubletop77703/02/2017 09:29:01 GMT
This sort of thing fascinates me and i am not surprised that the computer won. If you play for long enough then decision making comes to the fore and you do not rely so much on luck
 pochui03/02/2017 15:35:07 GMT
yeah bowie actually raised a valid point- we have to see more of these kinds of battles to get a brighter= more representative picture, i still think that with time ai will only get better and humans will end up being beaten even more. not the thing i was expecting a couple of years back- i though there is no way for a bot to beat some random drunk dudes at NL holdem, so much unpredictability here, fcukin hard to imagine what's the code behind this bot...
 marqis03/02/2017 16:21:37 GMT
I doubt there is any way online poker can survive. AI will end it sooner or later. Probably a few people will make a lot of money at our expense before then...
 Gerimantas03/02/2017 22:10:58 GMT
Yea just like I said im other post about this libratus ai I can also say hrre one more time- it is really good program and it is only been made few days before the start of the challenge, a lot of opportunities to make it better and even more hardrr for human players to fight against, better just play on casino's
 Mober03/02/2017 22:33:46 GMT
It makes you wonder if any of the programmers is using it in poker rooms online
and if the rooms have the ability to recognize it, since i think that most if not all poker rooms
are not allowing bots.
Pretty sure that there are players are running them though Smile
 pinotte03/02/2017 23:36:18 GMT
Don't forget that libratus was running with a computer that have a 9.5millions cost. this computer was not bought to play poker they used it just for an experience of AI.

However i agree with marqis the online poker will not survive and with the speed that it goes in this business it will be sooner than later.

We all better find a place t play live. Smile Smile Smile
 bowie198404/02/2017 01:51:08 GMT
Posted by pochui:
i still think that with time ai will only get better and humans will end up being beaten even more. not the thing i was expecting a couple of years back-...

The thing is these AI's don't need to eat, drink, sleep or get up from the computer to stretch their legs or scratch their balls - means the amount of workload they (computer body) could handle without a hassle is tremendous compared to humans.
That alone could be enough to beat us right away.
 pochui04/02/2017 18:41:28 GMT
not so sure about online poker disappearing due to the rise of AI, at least all of it. definitely high stakes online poker is not safe, but never wasn't in the first place, mostly grinders who are gonna be affected and those who will feel the least change is the casual players who are chasing fun and look at poker just as another form of casino game...
 Gerimantas05/02/2017 12:14:23 GMT
I am hoping that poker online will mot disapear in the future as some people posted here, there will be players who do not really care about ai, bots and nust want to play some pomer, relax, spend their time battling other players, they not really think about who they are playing with, they just like to play... just like me.
 Mober05/02/2017 19:25:25 GMT
It wont disappear in the near future, but it will be even more limited than it is today.
Ad this due to all the laws and regulations.
Still far from the day that an AI, can have a serious impact in poker.
Bott you may see but AI i doubt...
 Tony_MON7ANA05/02/2017 19:49:20 GMT
Artificial Intelligence may even sniff out new types of chicanery.

Source: How Artificial Intelligence Could Catch Stock Market Cheaters
 pochui06/02/2017 09:10:48 GMT
yeah just as mober pointed this out i also had it in the back of my mind: politicians might kill online poker a lot quicker than AI.
oh and a few thoughts on AI:
* so far it does well on heads up games, wonder how it can cope with full table play
* me ponders that 2-3 dudes colluding vs AI can easily beat it
* what about one ai playing vs other ai... will we see battle of the ai's in the future, and it's not too bad to the room owners, since number of hands will be monumental and so will the rake
* i wonder how ai is doing vs the players in "drunk russian" mode
 IndianAce107/02/2017 15:00:33 GMT
So using my own human intelligence the future should be determined simply by who has the better AI, because if the AI surpasses humans in everything than humans don't need to think anymore just use AI to think instead of them because that would make better choices. So we automatized even our thinking, but than we would simply do what the AI tells us, becoming mindless "machines" in the process completely turning around the table. Do we really want that? That people with more wealth should be that much "smarter"? Up until now there was some justice in that that we were born with somewhat equal, but from that point it wouldn't be true anymore. We wouldn't be able to play poker or anything. We only need to compare scpecs to know who would be the winner. I like to think I think it is the core of our humanity, even with our mistakes. I don't think we need general AI at all. We need systems that are capable to solve specific complex problems and we have to carefully evaluated every application.
 TheMachineQC07/02/2017 20:28:13 GMT
Posted by pinotte:
Don't forget that libratus was running with a computer that have a 9.5millions cost. this computer was not bought to play poker they used it just for an experience of AI.

However i agree with marqis the online poker will not survive and with the speed that it goes in this business it will be sooner than later.

We all better find a place t play live. Smile Smile Smile

Very good point Pinotte.

For a computer to be truly intelligent, it needs a LOT of hardware. Right now computers mostly process information faster than humans, they're not smarter. Just faster at calculating and taking rational decisions. But also a lot less creative, curious and they can't really learn new stuff unless you tell them to.

But the AI industry is about to change. In Montreal there is a lot of research on this and investors coming from everywhere to invest in these A.I. that are able to learn. Who knows how it will be in 20, 50 or 100 years if there are no nuclear wars because of Trump and the chinese Blink
 Mober07/02/2017 20:37:07 GMT
That is an excellent point pinotte has there and i didnt notice it till i read machine's post.
With a cost like this for a computer to run the program, you might as well keep the money
and say you have 10 millions in your pocket Smile
That of course if you were planning to play real money games with it Smile

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