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Poker professionals may soon have to find new jobs as Artificial Intelligence seems to be taking over. Facebook and the Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) have recently built an Artificial Intelligence (AI) bot that was able to beat top human professional poker players in six-player no-limit Texas hold’em poker which is the most popular variant of poker. Pluribus, the AI, beat the poker pros in the game in a couple of different formats, that is, one bot and five human players, and five AI bots and one human player.

To begin with, the creation of such a multiplayer bot in itself is a huge milestone in the field of Artificial Intelligence. Moreover, poker has long been regarded as one of the “grand challenges” in the field of AI especially because unlike games like chess and Go, poker involves hidden information. As such, there are complex strategies to poker that are not present in any other game and for this reason, bots and AI have been struggling to account for the hidden information and act on it effectively until now, that is.

Building on Previous Success

Pluribus, as it turns out, is a more advanced version of CMU’s bot Libratus which was able to beat poker pros in heads up play a few years back. Some of the improvements that have been made include a new online search algorithm which lets Pluribus look at the available options for a few moves ahead, and not just the end of the game. Moreover, it also features “faster self-play algorithms for games with hidden information,” which means that that it is much more efficient in learning how to deal with hidden information in games.

There have, of course, been a decent number of AI techniques that have achieved breakthroughs in other games. However, they have only been able to beat one other player at no-limit Texas hold’em – multiplayer gaming has not been so easy to crack. Pluribus not only achieves that but also does it more efficiently by taking up only 128 gigabytes of memory and using just two GPUs while playing.

“There were several plays that humans simply are not making at all, especially relating to its bet sizing. Bots/AI are an important part in the evolution of poker, and it was amazing to have first-hand experience in this large step toward the future,” Michael ‘Gags’ Gagliano a renowned poker player with over $2 million in earnings commented.

Some of the other poker pros that Pluribus was pitted against included World Poker Tournament Winners and World Series of Poker Main Event Champions. They are Chris Ferguson, Greg Merson, Darren Elias, and Jimmy Chou.