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AI Poker Bot Pluribus Beats Top Pros in Multiplayer NLHE, Costs only $144 to Run

Tags: AI Pluribus, Noam Brown, poker bot, Tuomas Sandholm.
Posted on 23 July 2019 by "T".

A brand new poker-playing bot was developed by the same group of researchers who presented Libratus back in 2017, and this time, it had successfully defeated a team of top poker players in a 6-handed NLHE game.

Facebook worked with researchers from the Carnegie Mellon University spearheaded by CMU professor Tuomas Sandholm and his graduate student Noam Brown, who scheduled a showdown featuring the latest version of the AI poker supercomputer called "Pluribus" versus some of the top poker players in the industry, and the results, published earlier this month in the journal Science, were remarkable. The bot managed to beat down its opponents, something no other AI before has achieved (previous AI programs can only win at a two-player poker game). It is expected that the outcome of this project shall have major implications on AI research and the game of poker itself.

The Two Trials
Poker is considered a game that embodies the challenges of hidden information pretty well, and so researchers use that as a challenge in the creation and development of artificial intelligence. However, no machine has ever been actually successful in beating human players in a multiplayer no-limit Texas hold'em setting (the most popular format in playing poker), until Pluribus came along.

Pluribus battled against some of the best poker pros in a 6-max NLHE format. The pros are 6-max specialists, who have won at least $1 million in their pro poker careers.

Pluribus underwent two different trials. In the first trial, five humans and one AI (5H+1AI) were pitted against each other, whereas in the second experiment only one human faced against five clones of Pluribus (1H+5AI), taking into consideration that the bots were not allowed to communicate and they did not know who they were playing against, thus preventing any collusion.

Victory for Pluribus
The results of the two trials revealed that Pluribus' win rate was significantly higher compared to the human poker players.

Some of the players who joined in on the experiment were Anthony Gregg, Dong Kim, Greg Merson, Jacob Toole, Jason Les, Jimmy Chou, Linus Loeliger, Michael Gagliano, Nick Petrangelo, Sean Ruane, Seth Davies and Trevor Savage, with each player using a nickname during play.

In the 5H+1AI experiment, a total of 10,000 hands were played over the course of 12 days, while in the 1H+5AI test, poker players Darren Elias and Chris Ferguson played 5,000 hands up against five Pluribus copies.

When the results were tallied, it turned out that the bot was able to beat the humans for about $5 per hand and nearly $1,000 per hour, according to Noam Brown's Facebook AI blog post.

Video demonstration of Pluribus vs Pros:


What the Poker Pros Think of AI Pluribus
Here's what the participants of the experiment had to say about the latest poker bot.

Seth Davies: "The most stimulating thing about playing against Pluribus was responding to its complex preflop strategies. Unlike humans, Pluribus used multiple raise sizes preflop. Attempting to respond to nonlinear open ranges was a fun challenge that differs from human games."

Jason Les: "It is an absolute monster bluffer. I would say it's a much more efficient bluffer than most humans. And that's what makes it so difficult to play against. You're always in a situation with a ton of pressure that the AI is putting on you and you know it's very likely it could be bluffing here."

Jimmy Chou: "Whenever playing the bot, I feel like I pick up something new to incorporate into my game. As humans I think we tend to oversimplify the game for ourselves, making strategies easier to adopt and remember. The bot doesn't take any of these shortcuts and has an immensely complicated/balanced game tree for every decision."

Chris Ferguson: "Pluribus is a very hard opponent to play against. It's really hard to pin him down on any kind of hand. He's also very good at making thin value bets on the river. He's very good at extracting value out of his good hands."

Darren Elias: "It's just me and then five versions of this AI poker bot, which I would play against every day, thousands of hands. It was improving very rapidly, where it went from being a mediocre player to basically a world-class-level poker player in a matter of days and weeks. Which was pretty scary."

Pluribus in a Nutshell
For now, it is safe to say that one of the world's best poker players doesn't have a poker face.

Pluribus' core, or its blueprint strategy, was built through self-play, or competition against clones of itself. This is the same method utilized to create OpenAI Five, a team of five neural networks that trained for an equivalent of 45,000 years and was able to defeat a pro eSports team in the video game Dota 2.

Pluribus teaches itself from scratch, utilizing a type of reinforcement learning just like what DeepMind's Go AI uses, AlphaZero. It begins by playing poker at random and improves as it determines which actions win more money. After each hand, it recalls how it played and ponders whether it would have made more money with different actions, such as raising instead of sticking to a bet. If the alternatives lead to better results, it will most likely choose those in future situations.

By playing trillions of hands of poker against itself, Pluribus formulated a basic strategy that it follows in matches. For every decision it makes, Pluribus compares the state of the game with its blueprint and predicts a few moves ahead to see how the game plays out. It will then decide whether it can improve on it. Being self-taught without human input, Pluribus employs a few strategies that human players would not think of using.

The success of Pluribus is mainly due to its efficiency. When playing poker, it runs on just two central processing units (CPUs), unlike Libratus' 100 CPUs and DeepMind's original Go bot which used almost 2,000 CPUs when they first beat top pro players. When Pluribus plays against itself, it plays a hand in about 20 seconds, roughly twice as fast as professional human players.

Another thing that's great about Pluribus is that the software operates on a cloud server that costs only $144 to run. To compare, Libratus was powered up by a $9.65 million supercomputer, which was very expensive to run.

Of course, this experiment doesn't just end at poker. While it is indeed a huge accomplishment to be able to beat the best human poker pros in a six-handed game, it shows that its computing power can have a different purpose other than playing cards. The results cement the fact that AI can operate at ‘superhuman' levels in scenarios with multiple subjects and limited access to information, and could possibly be applied anywhere from investment banking and negotiation strategies to self-driving car technology, according to Brown.

Pluribus now joins the ranks of games such as Chess and Go, two games in which the world's best human players have been defeated by artificial intelligence.


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15 comments on "AI Poker Bot Pluribus Beats Top Pros in Multiplayer NLHE, Costs only $144 to Run"

 Mober23/07/2019 12:30:12 GMT
And his is how the story goes. One is trying to ban bots from their site,
party poker for example, and another is building a new bot.
In other words bots are here to stay, and by the time a site finds and blocks one
another one has come out running on its place....
 pajalnick23/07/2019 13:41:46 GMT
as we see in this news, bots are now significantly superior to ordinary players ... And even the professionals couldn’t do anything with artificial intelligence .... Of course, if he plays people at chess, even in poker I think it’s quite easy for artificial intelligence. .. it is becoming more and more difficult to play .... you never know who the real person or computer is against you
 dule-vu23/07/2019 19:22:53 GMT
yeah,this is something that force people to use this program when they play and this will be problem when they will use it every day!some site block and ban players who use program like this,some make this kind of things!but probably poker sites will watch this as problem and they will dealt with it!
 erru910723/07/2019 23:09:03 GMT
This is absolutely terrible! I hate the idea of using a bot but if this trend continues I'm not gonna have any other choice. The people who don't use bots will be the people who lose money.

Another point is that if all, or most, players use bots then they will be breakeven players, and the rake will then eat up their bankrolls, meaning poker rooms will guaranteed earn money for some time, but eventually poeple are gonna stop playing since there's no real chance to win any money.
 Serpang24/07/2019 03:37:26 GMT
Posted by erru9107:
This is absolutely terrible! I hate the idea of using a bot but if this trend continues I'm not gonna have any other choice. The people who don't use bots will be the people who lose money.

Another point is that if all, or most, players use bots then they will be breakeven players, and the rake will then eat up their bankrolls, meaning poker rooms will guaranteed earn money for some time, but eventually poeple are gonna stop playing since there's no real chance to win any money.

But , how we know at our table there are bots? Smile I no worry since I play micro Big Smile Big Smile I think they will not use bot to play micro. PP just detect bot account or bots playing ? Could they detect when bots play ?
 erru910724/07/2019 08:27:18 GMT
Posted by Serpang:
But , how we know at our table there are bots? Smile I no worry since I play micro Big Smile Big Smile I think they will not use bot to play micro.

I think the fact that you say this makes using this bot at the micros more likely. If people at higher stakes use it, and they know others are using it as well, they need to find a level where people wouldn't suspect anything.
And that fact will reduces the higher amount of rake from higher buy-in since they would have less players there. Eventually that would happen even to low stakes and then people would stop playing online all together.
 CALICUL24/07/2019 14:12:07 GMT
Such a program is good if it offers very good training. I understand this thing but if it can be used to fool the world, then it is bad. To use other people as a bot ( if it works ) to steal people's money it's not good. We will find out these details after we look more about this AI Poker Bot Pluribus.
 pajalnick24/07/2019 14:30:50 GMT
if you go deeper into the essence of the question, then of course this is all very sad .... a situation may arise when online poker will be a competition between people who will lose and computers that will win .... of course the poker rooms will try to counteract, but in this war I like the computer seems to win .... the only way out is offline tournaments
 Mober24/07/2019 14:37:51 GMT
In the old days the online poker was more "innocent".
After a period of time we saw changes like tracking software, which became legal in some
sites. Now they are fighting it. Then the bots came.
The more the technology progresses, the harder is to control the game,
and say for sure that the game is "pure".
 shokaku24/07/2019 15:31:56 GMT
It was only a question of time. In chess computers have overtaken the best human players a long time ago, in go just recently. So one should not be surprised that it would happen in poker to. Tough job for the poker sites to deal with it.
 CALICUL25/07/2019 14:24:29 GMT
Those who will win from these matches will be professional players who will analyze in resume how this artificial intelligence played against them. I think it will be something special for them to accomplish certain things and their play to be better in the future.
 Mober25/07/2019 14:52:19 GMT
Going for small money it is possible to stay undetected. Plating in micro buy ins for example,
with a target amount each day.
There are players that are doing this already for years..
When the story goes to higher numbers and earnings, then it draws the attention
of the poker site's staff.
Another thing requesting a cash out of 100 USD and another 10k usd.
 CALICUL27/07/2019 14:33:21 GMT
Your opinion is correct and a big mistake Justin Bonomo did, when he was caught with multiple accounts. He did not know how to make a calculation and he lost money and the chance to play in some poker rooms. The idea of making money with bots, it's not good for us who play correctly. Even if some players are happy with little money, they do not have to steal with boots anymore. I hope they can be traced and punished. This program for me is also a bot, if it can be used to steal money from honest players.
 gufra2006/08/2019 21:35:53 GMT
La Inteligencia Artificial (AI) ya nos esta invadiendo desde hace mucho.

En esta noticia se podria decir que las cartas estaban a favor del bot y muchas cosas mas, pero lo cierto es que desde hace mucho las inteligencia artificial (AI) ya nos esta reemplazando.

Pero tengo una duda
Que pasa si alguien utiliza esta super computadora le instala un simulador y solo coloca las cartas para ver la reapuesta del bot y asi jugar en linea.

Esto seria muy malo para el poker en linea o no que crees tu?

Nos vemos en las mesas

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is already invading us for a long time. In this news one could say that the letters were in favor of the bot and many other things, but the truth is that artificial intelligence (AI) has already been replacing us for a long time. But I have a question What if someone uses this super computer installs a simulator and just places the cards to see the bot's replay and play online. This would be very bad for online poker or not what do you think? See you at the tables...
 CALICUL07/08/2019 12:32:47 GMT
This is not good because the only players who will make good money will be professionals players and those who use artificial intelligence as a bot. The others will lose or gain only small sums. It is nice if there is a program that will detect all the bots, but maybe in the future will be one that has 100% accuracy. We will see.

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