Meet Claudico: the computer that will take on the world’s best poker players


There’s a new poker player in town – and he’s not human.

Claudico, a computer program created by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University from the institution’s School of Computer Science, is about to go up against four of the top poker players in the world.

Texas Hold ‘Em might never be the same as Claudico challenges Dong Kim, Bjorn Li, Doug Polk and Jason Les – the world’s top human competitors when it comes to the poker game.

The program will play 20,000 hands each against the four players in which it will be a no-limit game that both human and electronic players can wager any amount of money.

The game that will be called Brains vs. Artificial Intelligence competition is now being held at Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh, beginning April 24 and lasting through May 8.

It’s the CMU developers’ belief that the program can beat some of the best human players in the world. If the program fails to beat the players, then they get to pocket a share of $100,000 in prize money donated by Microsoft Research and Rivers Casino.

Tuomas Sandholm, leader of the team at CMU that developed Claudico, stated that poker is now a benchmark for artificial intelligence research, just as chess once was. He also added that it’s a game of “exceeding complexity that requires a machine to make decisions based on incomplete and often misleading information, thanks to bluffing, slow play, and other decoys.”

While the human players are confident about their skills, they believe that it’s a 50-50 proposition, knowing that there’s a good chance that they’ll lose to the program as they have no idea what they’re up against.

Considering that Claudico will play via a university computer and then will tap the power of Pittsburgh’s Supercomputing Center’s Blacklight supercomputer to help compute its winning strategy, their doubts are warranted.

Who will win – the brains or the artificial intelligence?

One thing is for sure, we can’t wait to find out.

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