In a first, AI program beats pros in six-player poker

Artificial intelligence programs have bested humans in checkers, chess, Go and two-player poker, but multi-player poker was always believed to be a bigger ask. Mission: accomplished. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University, working with Facebook’s AI initiative, has announced that their program defeated a group of top pros in six-player no-limit Texas hold ‘em game. The program, Pluribus, and its big wins were described in the journal Science . “Pluribus achieved superhuman performance at multi-player poker, which is a recognised milestone in artificial intelligence and in game theory,” said Tuomas Sandholm, a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon. According to the creators of Pluribus, the technology could be used to solve a “wide variety of real-world problems” that, like in poker, involve actors who bluff, or hide key information. First, the program practiced against itself, learning little by little how to use poker moves to best advantage. Surprises cropped up. “Its major strength is its ability to use mixed strategies,” said Darren Elias, who played 5,000 hands against it.

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