How Artificial Intelligence Mastered The Art Of Poker

Artificial Intelligence is a fascinating technology. Sure it can get all too futuristic and even Black Mirror-y at points, but it still is a marvel to witness. After all, here is what’s essentially a digital brain made by humans, and here it is beating the world’s best chest player.

And now, the technology has reached yet another important milestone: mastering the art of six-player no-limit Texas Hold’em poker.

Conquering poker through AI

It may sound a bit underwhelming (after all, we’re all expecting flying cars by now, Back to the Future said so) but games like poker actually present a much greater challenge to AI mostly due to hidden cards and players who bluff. Of course, throughout the last few years, artificial intelligence technology has mastered more complicated forms of one-on-one poker. However, taking that game and adding more players makes it increasingly more complex, even for an AI.

But not for long, it seems. Since an AI named Pluribus has managed to defeat more than a dozen professional poker players recently. According to the research, which was published July 11 in the journal science, this type of algorithm that can plot against multiple enemies can be especially useful for other technologies. This can include political strategists, business negotiators or even cyber-security watchdogs.

The AI did this first playing against copies of itself, gradually learning the ins and outs, as well as the actions needed to win. From there, it simply used that intuition for when to hold and when to fold. During the latter rounds, the AI also tightened the screws of its strategy by imagining several moves ahead, therefore giving itself several different outcomes for different moves. It then adapted based on the hypothetical decisions that it made.

AI is in the bag

According to  computer scientist Viliam Lisý of the Czech Technical University in Prague, who was not involved in the work , this means that the algorithm Pluribus used can now be used to test games that involve much more strategic thinking and reasoning, as well as those that use hidden information. Strategic computer games that see a player controlling a large number of characters can also be used to further develop AI reasoning and thinking.

Playing poker Scientists reveal the secret to creating long-lasting memories in the brain while having fun. Photo courtesy of Pexels, Public Domain