After 13 days of intense competition, four poker professionals have won $100,000 and helped us all rest a little easier. They beat an AI called Claudico in Heads Up No Limit Texas Hold 'em to prove we still have the upper hand when it comes to strategy and bluffing.
The four players - Dong Kim, Jason Les, Bjorn Li, and Doug Polk – played just under 80,000 hands between them against the AI. The pros played one-on-one against Claudico with all but one coming out victorious. Just Jason Les was bested by the AI.
The chip totals for the human team, otherwise known as the Brains, were combined. The FAQ noted that one result alone “doesn’t mean much in determining whether a computer can outperform a human in a game with as much randomness as poker.” The chip totals weren’t that close in the end, so there is room for the AI to improve.
Claudico was created at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It is regarded as the best that the robotics field has to offer. Last year it beat 13 other computers at no-limit poker in a contest run by the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence.
Computers have bested humans in other games and feats in the past. But poker tends to be trickier for them to play. There is less information readily available about the current state of the game, and nobody knows what cards will be dealt next.
This marked the first time that a computer program has played human professionals in a heads-up, no-limit poker game. We’re sure it won’t be the last.