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Carnegie Mellon wagers that an AI can take on the world’s top poker players

How much would you be willing to bet that a computer program could go toe-to-toe with professional poker players?

Carnegie Mellon University researchers have taken that wager. Computer science professor Tuomas Sandholm, alongside researchers Sam Ganzfried and Noam Brown, are dealing their poker-playing artificial intelligence, Claudico, into a “Brains vs. Artificial Intelligence” competition at Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh. Starting today, Claudico will be taking on poker professionals Doug Polk, Dong Kim, Bjorn Li and Jason Les in 80,000 hands of Heads-Up No-Limit Texas Hold’em over a two week period.

“Poker is now a benchmark for artificial intelligence research, just as chess once was,” Sandholm said. “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 out-smart its human opponents.”

The competition, funded by Rivers Casino and Microsoft, will see each of the four pros play poker against Claudico on laptop computers, which are connected to a computer at Carnegie Mellon that will be running the software. Each of the players will play 1,500 hands per day against Claudico over 13 days, totaling 20,000 hands each.

The event has taken precautions to eliminate the role of luck as much as possible. In addition to rotating players between the casino’s main floor and an isolation room to prevent comparing of cards, “players will be paired to play duplicate matches — Player A will receive the same cards as the computer receives against Player B, and vice versa,” the university’s press release describes.

“I hope we can stand up for humanity and take this computer down,” Polk, who has earned more than $3.6 million in live tournament earnings, said. “I know computers will eventually be able to beat humans. But I hope we can make them go a few more rounds after this before they do, like Kasparov did.”

Live streams of the games, plus an updating scoreboard, can be followed on the Rivers Casino event page.

Watch live video from Claudico_Extra on www.twitch.tv

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