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Poker Bot Extends Already Huge Lead Going Into Final Day Of Contest

About 97 Percent Of The Hands Had Been Played Entering Monday


The poker playing supercomputer Libratus still had 4,200 hands left to play against its human opponents on Monday, but with a lead of more than 1.5 million chips the “Brains vs. AI” contest had for quite some time been virtually over.

The deficit equates to about 15,000 big blinds, or 75 buy-ins. Every hand of the contest had each player sitting with 20,000 in chips and the blinds set at 50-100, with no ante.

The 20-day battle pitting heads-up no-limit hold’em specialists Jason Les, Dong Kim, Jimmy Chou and Daniel McAulay against Carnegie Mellon University’s card-playing creation has garnered widespread media attention. Heads-up no-limit hold’em has long been viewed as one of the toughest games for a machine to master, thanks to the game involving incomplete information.

The bot in its current form wouldn’t be able to handle a six-max table, let alone a nine-handed table. It’s unclear if CMU has plans to work on that project next.

Libratus was just the latest in a series of poker-playing artificial intelligences from CMU computer scientist Tuomas Sandholm and his team. A previous team of online poker pros was able to beat a similar bot called Claudico by about 7,500 big blinds in the spring of 2015.

A little more than a year later, CMU was able to unveil a machine that lived up to its Latin meaning of “balanced and powerful.” Libratus took the river over-bet shove to another level.

The human team started losing right out of the gate, but they later pulled the contest close to even. The bot then started crushing them, winning most of its sessions thereafter.

Going into Monday, Les had lost 862,000, which was the most on the team. Chou was down nearly 340,000, and McAulay was in the hole 275,000. Kim, who for days had been playing with a small lead against the machine, had a poor weekend and was losing by 84,000 chips entering the final day.

Action on the final day will be live streamed on Twitch.

Watch live video from libratus_vs_jasonles on