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Poker Pros Climbing Out Of The Hole In Heads-Up Battle Against Machine

Dong Kim Picks Off Huge River Bluff To Help Trim Losses


Dong KimOn Monday, a group of four world-class poker pros cut their deficit by about two-thirds to the poker-playing bot Libratus that was developed by Carnegie Mellon University.

Entering Tuesday’s matches, they trailed by 50,500 after the completion of about 28,000 hands. That’s nearly a quarter of the total hands scheduled for the 20-day contest ending later this month at Rivers Casino Pittsburgh.

Going into Monday, the heads-up poker professionals—Jason Les, Dong Kim, Daniel McAulay and Jimmy Chou—were in a 160,000-chip hole. The blinds always stay at 50-100.

The chips have no real-money value, but the poker pros will split $200,000 in prize money.

Kim had the best session among his team on Monday, and entering Tuesday was the only player with an overall profit against Libratus, which means balanced and powerful in Latin.

Kim, who finished ahead of an earlier version of the bot in a 2015 match, picked off one of the largest bluffs of the entire “Brains vs. AI” contest in his session on Monday. Every hand begins with each player sitting with 200 big blinds (20,000 in chips).

Here’s a look at the hand:

Kim had the button and raised to 274 (blinds 50-100), and Libratus called.

The flop fell 6Spade Suit 5Heart Suit 4Spade Suit, and the machine bet 274. Kim called, and the turn brought the 8Heart Suit.

Libratus bet 274 again, and Kim raised to 3,151, which was about twice the pot.

Libratus called the over-sized turn bet, and the river was the 9Spade Suit, which completed one of the flush draws.

The bot bet nearly 15,000, which was about twice pot. Kim tanked before eventually calling with the 9Heart Suit 7Spade Suit for a nine-high straight.

Libratus tabled the 8Spade Suit 8Club Suit, for a set turned into a bluff.

“I had the 7Spade Suit which is the best card to have next to a flush,” Kim told Card Player.

“I raised nearly twice pot [on the turn] so it needs a hand that has tons of equity, a pair plus a flush draw or the nut flush draw, etc.”

“I wasn’t happy but meh, the bot will have bluffs here,” Kim said of Libratus’ river over-bet.

Les said that this version of CMU’s bot is “better at bluffing and better at not being bluffed.” More action in the historic match can be live streamed here.