Computer Program Cannot Be Beaten At Texas Hold 'Em Poker

By Staff Reporter , Jul 09, 2018 11:03 PM EDT

Consider yourself as a Texas Hold 'em poker pro or maybe the best poker player in the world. But what you don't know is that there is a new poker player in town who is virtually unbeatable. This new player, however, is not human, but an Artificial Intelligence (AI) bot. For Texas Hold 'em newbies, there is a golden rule in the gambling industry i.e. to become the best you need to beat the best, therefore,it's not only the pros who need to battle this super AI poker bot.

About the AI poker bot (computer program)

The super AI poker bot was developed by a group of scientists at the University of Alberta in Canada. The developers of this poker bot did a great job as they state that no human player can defeat this bot other than forcing a break-even (i.e. if you are a really excellent poker player).

The poker bot has roughly 262 terabytes of memory, which, among other things, is used to run the CFR+ program. This program is an upgrade on the counterfactual regret minimisation (CFR) algorithm. The CFR+ program is responsible for recording, storing and helping the bot to remember mistakes. In essence, the CFR+ program is valuable when the poker bot makes a mistake as it guards against the repeat of a similar mistake in future. In practice, this is to say that if you are sitting at a poker table at 888Poker playing against the poker bot, when it raises a bet but goes on to lose, the CFR+ program will record this loss as a 'mistake'. Once it's recorded as such, in the background, the CFR+ program will analyse how the poker bot should have avoided the mistake, how it should have played and the amount it could have won. The CFR+ will record this mistake as a 'regret value' for future reference.

If in future the same scenario repeats, the CFR+ program will reveal the 'regret value' and use it to correct past mistakes. In this way, the poker bot operates at a more advanced level than humans do as we do not have the patience nor the memory to keep track of all 'mistakes' for future reference.

In addition to this, the CFR+ program helps the poker bot to avoid defeat in as many ways. Though it's theoretically possible for the poker bot to be defeated by a human, the CFR+ program will try to minimise loses in the best mathematically possible way. Due to the 'regret value', it can be said that the CFR+ program strives to make the poker bot perfect in all gaming situations. This perfection is indeed possible if the poker bot manages to record and correct all the mistakes that it can ever make in a game of Texas Hold 'em poker.

Limit and No limit poker

Limit poker means that players are limited to the amount they can bet, while no limit poker means youare not limited to the amount you can bet. When it comes to the AI poker bot, its computer program works smoothly with limit poker as compared to no limit poker. This is because in no limit poker the computer program will have to work on two fronts i.e. predicting the amount of money that the opponents can bet while at the same time predicting to predict the actual play. Nonetheless, if exposed to no limit, the computer program will try to function as best as it can.

Why humans cannot defeat this computer program

Humans cannot defeat the poker bot, which is owed to two crucial factors i.e. the 'regret value' and also due to its ability toalmost instantly figure out the perfect strategies to counter every possible move.

Michael Bowlin, one of the scientists who helped in designing this AI poker bot, said that the computer program has the capability of increasing its memory. Hence, more counterfactual values are possible as well as more memory of computing the main strategy. However, he said that they decided against training the poker bot further because they are convinced that it's as good as perfect as it is. He added that their main concern now is looking at training the computer program to perfect its main strategy and counterfactual values in no-limit hold 'em poker.

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