Men vs. Poker Machine

Men vs. Poker Machine

Monday, 27 April 2015

In a match reminiscent to the famous man vs. machine showdown between chess champion Gary Kasparov and super computer Deep Blue, four players are currently taking on a sophisticated piece of software in a battle for supremacy.

The challenge, which involves Doug Polk, Dong Kim, Bjorn Li and Jason Les, will see the four players grind out 20,000 hands each against a poker computer known as Claudico. Created by Tuomas Sandholm and developed by his team at Carnegie Mellon University, the software will compete against the four high stakes pros over a two week period in a No Limit Hold'em format.

Unlike its predecessors that have focused specifically on Limit Hold'em (which is easier to solve mathematically), Claudico will use a matrix of complex algorithms to constantly learn and adapt to the dynamics of each game.

Although the developers believe the computer has a 50/50 chance of success at best, the fact they were able to create something that's even worthy of taking on some of the top heads-up players in the world is an achievement. Moreover, the continual development of the program could have massive implications for a number of industries in the future.

"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," said Sandholm.

As it stands, the humans have a comfortable lead over the AI computer, but a recent comeback has shown that it is learning their moves slowly but surely. After roughly 35,000 total hands the computer was down almost $60,000 (not real dollars, just points), but with 65,000 more hands to play before May 8 it could easily reverse the score and claim a momentous win.

To stay in touch with the action, which is taking place inside Rivers Casino, Pittsburgh, you can watch a live stream here.

Tags: Technology, Doug Polk, Dong Kim, Bjorn Li, Jason Les