Doug Polk, Bjorn Li lead Humans over Claudico

by Jeremy Olson on May 12, 2015

The poker world recently got an opportunity to see the ultimate humans vs. poker bot competition. The four-player team of Doug Polk, Jason Les, Bjorn Li and Dong Kim battled “Claudico,” an award-winning poker program created by Carnegie Mellon University.

There was some definite motivation to win here because Microsoft fronted $100k for the winner’s prize. And it looks like the humans will be splitting this prize because they destroyed Claudico to the tune of $732k.

Li was the biggest catalyst in the victory since he made $529k against the machine. “We know theoretically that artificial intelligence is going to overtake us one day. But at the end of the day, the most important thing is that the humans remain on top for now,” said Li. “I think they really want to find out how they can improve the bot. But I don’t think there’s too much we can share with them because we might be coming back some day.”

Polk also fared well against Claudico since he booked a $213.6k profit, while Kim netted $70.4k in the competition. The only player who ended up losing to the machine was Les, who dropped $80.4k to the poker bot.

Carnegie Professor Tuomas Sandholm was pleased to have his poker program take part in this competition. However, he reiterated that the end goal isn’t to make the best A.I. poker player, but rather achieve more-practical feats:

“Beating humans isn’t really our goal; it’s just a milestone along the way. What we want to do is create an artificial intelligence that can help humans negotiate or make decisions in situations where they can’t know all of the facts.”

Even with Sandholm wanting to create a program that helps make decisions with incomplete information, it’ll be interesting to see if CMU develops an improved version of Claudico and takes on the humans again.