Research Article

Superhuman AI for heads-up no-limit poker: Libratus beats top professionals

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Science  26 Jan 2018:
Vol. 359, Issue 6374, pp. 418-424
DOI: 10.1126/science.aao1733

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Libratus versus humans

Pitting artificial intelligence (AI) against top human players demonstrates just how far AI has come. Brown and Sandholm built a poker-playing AI called Libratus that decisively beat four leading human professionals in the two-player variant of poker called heads-up no-limit Texas hold'em (HUNL). Over nearly 3 weeks, Libratus played 120,000 hands of HUNL against the human professionals, using a three-pronged approach that included precomputing an overall strategy, adapting the strategy to actual gameplay, and learning from its opponent.

Science, this issue p. 418

Abstract

No-limit Texas hold’em is the most popular form of poker. Despite artificial intelligence (AI) successes in perfect-information games, the private information and massive game tree have made no-limit poker difficult to tackle. We present Libratus, an AI that, in a 120,000-hand competition, defeated four top human specialist professionals in heads-up no-limit Texas hold’em, the leading benchmark and long-standing challenge problem in imperfect-information game solving. Our game-theoretic approach features application-independent techniques: an algorithm for computing a blueprint for the overall strategy, an algorithm that fleshes out the details of the strategy for subgames that are reached during play, and a self-improver algorithm that fixes potential weaknesses that opponents have identified in the blueprint strategy.

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