The Smartest Machines Are Playing Games

If there was any doubt about the incredible power of computer technology, it’s just been revealed that a computer managed to win $290,000 at a Chinese poker tournament.

Computers beating humans in tough games like chess have often been a sign of the way that the likes of The Terminator are only just around the corner, but the poker conquests of the AI system shows just how serious things are getting.

The artificial intelligence program called Lengpudashi managed to beat a team of six competitive poker players in a five-day tournament. And the human team even included a select group of engineers and scientists who attempted to use game theory to anticipate the moves of the powerful AI system.

It’s another humiliating blow for human poker players who have already seen the Libratus robot take down four of the best poker players earlier this January. And what’s critical about this is the way that it shows that artificial intelligence is starting to master what’s been known as an ‘imperfect information game’.

Unlike the legendary computer systems like Deep Blue and Komodo who managed to trounce chess champions purely through a systematic approach to the visible pieces on the board, it was thought that poker would prove to be a far tougher challenge for artificial intelligence.

This is because poker relies on the very human concept of ‘bluffing’ to fool the opponents into wrongly guessing which cards lie hidden in the player’s hand. But it seems as though the latest generation of AI systems has proven to be able to learn from experience to work out when to imitate the act of bluffing.

Whilst this may prove to be a little intimidating for us humans, it does prove to be handy for anyone who’s looking to follow Lucky Nugget Casino’s tips for practicing poker for a holiday game night. This is because these tips recommend plenty of play against a computer opponent, and with artificial intelligence advancing all of the time, our practice sessions will sure become much more effective.

Obviously most of us won’t be able to access the supercomputer at the Pittsburgh Supercomputer Center that was used to run Lengpudashi. But it’s only a matter of time before the impressive AI gameplay becomes a part of games of online poker in the future which will hopefully mean that we’ll all get the chance to become better poker players!