Artificial intelligence (AI) and poker have been intertwined for decades. Researchers using the game as a testbed for developing new AI techniques. In recent years, the relationship between the two has grown more intense. AI has made significant strides in being able to beat some of the world’s best poker players.
The game of poker, particularly the variant of Texas holds ’em, is an attractive challenge for AI researchers because it is a game of imperfect information. Unlike chess or Go, in which all the pieces and their positions are visible to both players, in poker, players must make decisions based on incomplete information about their opponents’ cards and past actions. This makes the game a good testbed for developing AI that can make decisions in uncertain and dynamic environments.
One of the first major milestones in the development of AI for poker was reached in 2007. A program called Polaris defeated several human professional players in a heads-up (two-player) game of limit Texas hold ’em. However, it wasn’t until 2015 that an AI program called Claudico competed in a heads-up no-limit Texas hold ’em tournament against several human professional players. While it didn’t win the tournament, it did manage to hold its own against the human players.
In 2017, a new AI program called Libratus was developed by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University. The program competed in a heads-up no-limit Texas hold ’em tournament against four professional poker players. The tournament lasted for 20 days, with the AI playing a total of 120,000 hands. At the end of the tournament, the AI had defeated the human players by a significant margin, winning $1.7 million in chips.
The success of Libratus and other AI programs in poker have important implications for the development of AI more broadly. The ability to make decisions in uncertain and dynamic environments is a key challenge in AI research. The success of these programs in poker suggests that we may be closer to solving this problem than many experts had thought.
However, it’s important to note that AI has not yet been able to consistently defeat top professional players in all types of poker. Also, the game is often played in a team setting and AI has not yet been able to consistently beat teams of top human players.
Despite this, the strides made by AI in the field of poker have been significant. It will be interesting to observe how technology develops in the coming years. As AI becomes more advanced, we may see AI programs that can consistently defeat human players in all types of poker, including multi-player games. This would have important implications for the future of poker, as well as for the development of AI more broadly.
It’s safe to say that AI is the future of technology. It has the potential to transform the way we live, work, and interact with the world. AI has the potential to revolutionize almost every industry and create new opportunities for businesses and individuals. AI is already making huge strides in improving our lives and it will only become more advanced over time.