Brains vs AI Rematch

Libratus takes on the pros heads-up

Libratus Takes on the Pros Heads-Up 689 Poker Gossip & Opinion

A new challenge by ‘computers against humanity’ is set to take place next week when the AI poker-playing software program Libratus takes on four professionals, including Jason Les and Dong Kim.

The rematch – the human quartet defeating Claudico last year over 80,000 hands – will see Les, Kim and fellow pros Daniel McAuley and Jimmy Chou battle it out for supremacy at Rivers Casino on Pittsburgh's North Shore starting on the 11th of January, with 120,000 hands of heads-up NLHE.

Jason Les, one of the four who fought it out with Claudico in the inaugural Brains vs AI match, said of the upcoming duel -

I'm very excited to see what this latest AI is like.”

The expected new-and-improved version of the software has been developed at Carnegie Mellon University by Tuomas Sandholm, a professor of computer science and Ph.D. student Noam Brown.

Les added:

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.”

From the AI side, Sandholm explained "Since the earliest days of AI research, beating top human players has been a powerful measure of progress in the field,” referencing computer wins against top chess Grandmasters and the world’s leading Go experts.

He added that:

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.”

The 20-day challenge match will see the humans take on Libratus in one-on-one matches using a laptop and, if victorious again, they will a share a $200,000 prizepool.

The previous version of the CMU software, Claudico, followed its Latin meaning of ‘to limp’ when it took on the fearsome foursome of Les, Kim, Bjorn Li and Doug Polk.

With ‘Libratus’ meaning ‘balanced’ we can expect to see the kind of improvements which Les is worried about – a balance of limping, raising and occasional folding being a normal heads-up strategy for humans.

According to Aaron Aupperlee of TribLive:

Sandholm and Brown built Libratus from scratch’, writing a ‘new algorithm for computing poker strategies, developed a new approach for end-game strategies and will use a supercomputer at the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center to do live computing during hands."

The future of AI is expected to lead to advances in areas such as medicine and the military, with Nick Nystrom, senior director of research at Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center stating:

Extending AI to real-world decision-making, where details are unknown and adversaries are actively revising their strategies, is fundamentally harder than games with perfect information or question-answering systems. This is where it really gets interesting.”

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Andrew Burnett
Andrew Burnett

Andrew from Edinburgh, Scotland, is a professional journalist, international-titled chess master, and avid poker player....

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