A computer science team at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) developed a poker bot — artificial intelligence (AI) — and dubbed it "Claudico." Now it's time to find out if "Claudico's" expertise and game knowledge can come out on top against four professional poker players — Doug Polk, Dong Kim, Bjorn Li, and Jason Les.
The four professional poker players are putting their game to the test in a two-week heads-up battle where each will have the chance to win $100,000 over a 20,000 hand competition. All the pro players have to do is best "Claudico" to take home the cash and prove that man still has the edge over machine. Known as the "Brains vs. AI," the competition runs from April 24th to May 7th at Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh.
CMU Professor of Computer Science Tuomas Sandholm is the lead of the group that created "Claudico" and the team believes that the computer bot will prevail over the total 80,000 hands that will be played out. The team is willing to put $400,000 on their creation's ability to beat the poker pros. Sandholm has compared the challenge to previous computer science-related challenges in solving the game of chess.
"Poker is now a benchmark for artificial intelligence research, just as chess once was," said Sandholm in a press release. "It's a game of exceeding complexity that requires a machine to make decisions based on incomplete and often misleading information, thanks to bluffing, slow play, and other decoys. And to win, the machine has to outsmart its human opponents."
Sandholm stated, "Computing the world's strongest strategies for this game was a major achievement, with the algorithms having future applications in business, military, cyber security, and medical arenas." Sandholm believes there is much more waiting to be discovered behind the strategies that created the computer program and it's just the beginning of ways the program could be used in other fields.
The players may not have the upper hand in the competition.
"I imagine that the humans have an edge here," said Polk regarding the chances the players have at beating the poker machine. "However, it is very difficult to determine an outcome with any sort of stability, as I do not know what I am going to be up against."
Polk's approach to the challenge: "My strategy will change more so than when playing against human players. I think there will be less hand reading, so to speak, and less mind games. In some ways, I think it will be nice as I can focus on playing a more pure game, and not have to worry about if he thinks that I think, etc. So I am looking forward to the match."
Polk is an online cash-game specialist and winner of $3.6 million in live tournaments.
Sandholm believes the challenge between "Claudico" and the four players could go either way. He said, "I think it's a 50-50 proposition. I think there's a good chance we'll lose this thing."
So far, over two days and 12,000-hands of play, "Claudico" is trailing by $59,766 against the four poker pros. To date, Polk leads with $69,041; Li is ahead $68,850; Kim is ahead $32,712; and Les is down $110,837.
Watch the live action on Twitch.tv at 11 a.m. ET by visiting the following links:
- Doug Polk vs. "Claudico": twitch.tv/Claudico_vs_DougPolk
- Dong Kim vs. "Claudico": twitch.tv/Claudico_vs_DongKim
- Bjorn Li vs. "Claudico: twitch.tv/Claudico_vs_BjornLi
- Jason Les vs. "Claudico": twitch.tv/Claudico_vs_JasonLes
Poker Night in America will broadcast clips from the "Brains vs. AI" competition shown weekly in future episodes on the CBS Sports Network.
Image courtesy of CMU School of Computer Science.