A computer has beaten five of the world's champion players at poker -- a game once thought too difficult for machines to master. It is the latest milestone marking the superior powers of machines over people and the first time a computer has beaten more than one opponent in a complex game of strategy and calculation. Computers first defeated the human world champion at chess in 1996 -- and the even-more complex Chinese strategy game of Go two years ago. But poker has posed a tougher challenge as it involves several players around the table. And unlike in chess or Go, the computer does not have access to all the information available as it cannot see its opponent's cards.
During one experiment, the poker bot Pluribus played against five professional players. During one experiment, the poker bot Pluribus played against five professional players. In artificial intelligence, it's a milestone when a computer program can beat top players at a game like chess. But a game like poker, specifically six-player Texas Hold'em, has been too tough for a machine to master -- until now. Researchers say they have designed a bot called Pluribus capable of taking on poker professionals in the most popular form of poker and winning.
An artificial intelligence called Pluribus has emerged victorious from a marathon 12-day poker session during which it played five human professionals at a time. Over 10,000 hands of no-limit Texas hold'em, the most popular form of the game, Pluribus won a virtual $48,000 (£38,000), beating five elite players who were selected each day from a pool who agreed to take on the program. All of the pros had previously won more than $1m playing the game. What counts as a beating for humanity ranks as a milestone for AI. No computer program has ever achieved superhuman performance against multiple poker players.
Among the many achievements of machine learning in recent years, some of the most striking are the victories of the machine against human players in games, such as Google's DeepMind group's conquest of Go in 2016. In such milestones, researchers are often guided by theoretical math that says there can be an optimal strategy to be found, given a good algorithm and enough compute. But what do you do when theory breaks down? Two researchers at Carnegie Mellon University and Facebook went back to the drawing board to solve "heads-up no-limit Texas hold'em," the most popular form of multiplayer poker in the world. Theory isn't computable for this form of the card game, so they designed some elegant search strategies for their computer program, "Pluribus," to beat the best human players in 10,000 hands of poker.
Computer scientists have developed a card-playing bot, called Pluribus, capable of defeating some of the world's best players at six-person no-limit Texas hold'em poker, in what's considered an important breakthrough in artificial intelligence. Two years ago, a research team from Carnegie Mellon University developed a similar poker-playing system, called Libratus, which consistently defeated the world's best players at one-on-one Heads-Up, No-Limit Texas Hold'em poker. The creators of Libratus, Tuomas Sandholm and Noam Brown, have now upped the stakes, unveiling a new system capable of playing six-player no-limit Texas hold'em poker, a wildly popular version of the game. In a series of contests, Pluribus handedly defeated its professional human opponents, at a level the researchers described as "superhuman." When pitted against professional human opponents with real money involved, Pluribus managed to collect winnings at an astounding rate of $1,000 per hour.