Libratus poker AI beats several of the world's best players

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The point of contention here is that human players rely heavily on physical and psychological cues to play the game, as well as taking probability into account and keep track of cards that have been in play.

On a pure mathematical level the computer has a much easier job playing and learning how to play because it only needs to focus on the cards themselves. It doesn’t need to read other players’ behavior nor does it need to concern itself with hiding/displaying any tells.

It’s like learning how to drive a car in an empty city versus a busy one filled with unpredictable situations and people. It’s not the same.


Not sure what point you’re making. Winning is winning. Sure, it’s not winning using the same methods. It wins chips using microchips. (-:


You could also say that it is working at a deficit when playing against humans - it can’t see and read them. What I mean is suppose you imagine that it had a visual system and was able to learn about the humans it is playing against, both as a whole as well as per individual. With that additional learning, I suspect it would do even better. So the fact that it can win using only the information about the cards it sees and the betting/playing of the other players is a testament to how well it has done.

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I would say it’s job is easier just looking at the cards because it only has to concern itself with mathematical probabilities and learning the rules of the game. Additional factors like ambiguous tells, purposeful tells and bluffs, etc adds complexity for the AI to learn that in this case is not being considered. On top of that the robot doesn’t have to hide/display any tells that can hurt or be of advantage to other players. All they got to work off of is randomised bets.

Exactly. Many people (see @virtuous_sloth) have long-claimed that this was a computer’s disadvantage — that an experienced player’s excellent sense of humans (their emotions, their tells) would let them know when the other player was bluffing. However, as other people have pointed out, bluffing is still just a matter of mathematical odds, and there are mathematically advantageous ways of bluffing, and of calling other’s bluffs. A computer will still bluff because it’s the “right thing to do,” not because it’s a mendacious hustler.

Deciding how to react to possible bluffs is very different from deciding whether someone is lying about their love life.

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Poker without eye contact is not poker. That’s nice the computer won - but what did it win?

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A computer won’t have “tells” but it will have patterns…I wonder how well it would do against people who have watched it play 50-100 games…

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Call. Two pair, jacks over threes.


Well, I’m skint.


Yeah, you say that. But did you really win?


You don’t understand. I mean, we played this game, and you ran your calculations, and I’m sure you did a very good job of following your algorithms. But that’s your purpose. You literally couldn’t do anything else. You don’t even have the illusion of free will, and you certainly can’t take any pleasure in what you’ve accomplished. So I guess what I’m asking is, what did you win? At the end of the day, Mr. Computer Program, what did you really win?


You still aren’t hearing me. I’m saying, what did you–


No, but I mean–


I think (from a different article I read about this) the idea is that its patterns (which exist to some extent) are simply more complicated than even excellent human players can adapt to on the fly. It’s not playing every hand the same way–even relative novice human players don’t make that mistake–but neither is it reacting to player X in situation Y with $Z in chips the same way every time.

Maybe the real advantage is that it’s not afraid of getting jeered at and told it has shit for brains when it does “wrong” things like make huge bets pre-flop and then check the rest of the way.

The computer also has nothing to lose. So playing for the sake of it and not needing to worry over the outcome is to its advantage. A poker player whose livelihood is on the line won’t have that luxury.

“What makes him so good?; He ain’t got no distractions; Can’t hear those buzzers and bells; Don’t see lights a flashin’; Plays by sense of smell.; Always has a replay; Never tilts at all; That deaf dumb and blind kid; Sure plays a mean pin ball.”,


Initiate gloat routine…

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