Libratus, an AI developed by Carnegie Mellon University, has defeated four of the world’s best professional poker players in a marathon 120,000 hands of Heads-up, No-Limit Texas Hold’em poker played over 20 days, CMU announced today (Jan. 31) — joining Deep Blue (for chess), Watson, and Alpha Go as major milestones in AI.
Libratus led the pros by a collective $1,766,250 in chips.* The tournament was held at the Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh from 11–30 January in a competition called “Brains Vs. Artificial Intelligence: Upping the Ante.”
The developers of Libratus — Tuomas Sandholm, professor of computer science, and Noam Brown, a Ph.D. student in computer science — said the sizable victory is statistically significant and not simply a matter of luck. “The best AI’s ability to do strategic reasoning with imperfect information has now surpassed that of the best humans,” Sandholm said. “This is the last frontier, at least in the foreseeable horizon, in game-solving in AI.”
This new AI milestone has implications for any realm in which information is incomplete and opponents sow misinformation, said Frank Pfenning, head of the Computer Science Department in CMU’s School of Computer Science. Business negotiation, military strategy, cybersecurity, and medical treatment planning could all benefit from automated decision-making using a Libratus-like AI.
“The computer can’t win at poker if it can’t bluff,” Pfenning explained. “Developing an AI that can do that successfully is a tremendous step forward scientifically and has numerous applications. Imagine that your smartphone will someday be able to negotiate the best price on a new car for you. That’s just the beginning.”