The current most popular variant of poker, played in casinos and seen on television, is no-limit Texas hold'em. This game and a smaller variant, limit Texas hold'em, have been used as a testbed for artificial intelligence research since 1997. Since 2006, the Annual Computer Poker Competition has allowed researchers, programmers, and poker players to play their poker programs against each other, allowing us to find out which artificial intelligence techniques work best in practice. The competition has resulted in significant advances in fields such as computational game theory, and resulted in algorithms that can find optimal strategies for games six orders of magnitude larger than was possible using earlier techniques.
In 2017, a poker bot called Libratus made headlines when it roundly defeated four top human players at no-limit Texas Hold'Em. Now, Libratus's technology is being adapted to take on opponents of a different kind--in service of the US military. Libratus--Latin for balanced--was created by researchers from Carnegie Mellon University to test ideas for automated decision-making based on game theory. Early last year, the professor who led the project, Tuomas Sandholm, founded a startup called Strategy Robot to adapt his lab's game-playing technology for government use, such as in wargames and simulations used to explore military strategy and planning. Late in August, public records show, the company received a two-year contract of up to $10 million with the US Army.