"Poker poses a far more difficult challenge than these games," said Sandholm in press materials announcing the event. "It requires a machine to make extremely complicated decisions based on incomplete information while contending with bluffs, slow play and other ploys."
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The Libratus A.I. is expected to provide a much tougher challenge for human players this time around. The machine learning system is the result of more than 15 million core hours of computation in simulated games, compared with the 2-3 million core hours used for Claudico.
According to the design team, the A.I. is taking a different mathematical approach this time around, too. The system is optimized to attain what game theorists call a Nash equilibrium, named for the late CMU alumnus and Nobel laureate John Forbes Nash Jr. ("A Beautiful Mind"). It gets complicated, but basically a Nash equilibrium is a pair of strategies where neither player can benefit from changing as long as the other player's strategy remains the same.
Besides the upgraded A.I., this year's tournament will introduce some other changes. The four poker pros – Jason Les, Dong Kim, Daniel McAulay and Jimmy Chou – will be vying for shares of a $200,000 real money cash prize purse.
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They'll be earning it. This year's tilt is scheduled for 120,000 individual hands dealt over the course of 20 days – a 50 percent bump over last year's 80,000 hands over two weeks. Statistically speaking, this will reduce the influence of blind luck in the competition as the players compete from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.
Each human competitor, playing via laptop computer, will also be managing two hands simultaneously. Part of each eight-hour day will be spent on the casino floor, and part in an isolated chamber. The tournament designers have also introduced specific mathematical control scenarios to ensure fair competition.
If you want to keep track of the action as it goes down, Rivers Casino has posted an event page with live leaderboards and webcam feeds, or keep an eye on the #BRAINSVSAI Twitter hashtag.
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