Professional poker players no match for A.I. in six-player Texas Hold ’em

An artificial intelligence-powered, poker-playing bot destroyed professional card slingers in six-player Texas Hold ’em, in the latest example of A.I. showing its dominance over humans in games.

The A.I. system, named Pluribus and created in collaboration between Facebook’s AI lab and Carnegie Mellon University, played 10,000 hands over the course of 12 days against 12 professional poker players. There were two scenarios: Pluribus against five human players, or five versions of the A.I. against one human player.

In a paper published in Science, the researchers revealed that Pluribus won an average of $5 per hand with winnings of $1,000 per hour, which they described as a “decisive margin of victory.”

“It’s safe to say we’re at a superhuman level and that’s not going to change,” Facebook A.I. Research scientist and Pluribus co-creator Noam Brown told The Verge.

This is not the first time that A.I. bested humans in a game of poker. In January 2017, an earlier version of Pluribus, named Libratus, defeated four professional players in heads-up, no-limit Texas Hold ’em. The difference, however, is that Libratus went up against humans in one-on-one games, while Pluribus rose to the challenge in six-player tables.

The difference between two-player and multiplayer games, of course, was huge. In two-player poker, the bots may easily figure out a winning strategy. Things are not as simple in six-player poker games, due to the much higher number of variables and the hidden information, unlike games such as chess where all the positions of the pieces are known at any given time.

Pluribus, however, still came out on top, as it taught itself six-player Texas Hold ’em while formulating strategies that were very different from how humans played the game. The bot learned the timing of huge bets and bluffs, and produced a combination of unpredictability and bold moves that humans simply could not match.

The development of A.I. has seen it move into multiplayer gaming as a learning environment, such as when Google’s DeepMind just over a month ago tackled into Quake III’s Capture the Flag. The mode required A.I. agents to work together to beat teams made up of human opponents, and they were very successful at it.

Pluribus takes things a step further, and Brown believes that the bot’s ability to handle multiple players, hidden information, and numerous possible outcomes may find real-world applications for the benefit of mankind.

Gaming

Blizzard will save players from Overwatch cheaters by shutting down matches

Overwatch game director Jeff Kaplan said that matches in the multiplayer shooter will abruptly end as soon as the game detects a cheater. The feature will not result in lost Skill Rating for the honest players in the match.
Gaming

Ubisoft terminates player-made XP farming quests in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey

Ubisoft banned experience farming quests made on the Story Creator Mode of Assassin's Creed Odyssey. The quests exploit the tool to allow players to gain massive amounts of experience points without doing anything.
Deals

Sprint Unlimited Kickstart is a service plan that’s actually worth switching for

Are you looking for a new carrier, or are you open to switching if it can save some cash? Sprint's new Unlimited Kickstart service offers unlimited text, talk, and data for just $25 per month -- with no restrictive annual contract.
Gaming

Nintendo Switch games that run at a smooth 60 frames per second

The Nintendo Switch certainly isn't as powerful as other modern systems, but it's still capable of offering a great gaming experience. These Nintendo Switch games run at 60 frames per second.
Emerging Tech

Hubble spots unexpected disc around supermassive black hole

Hubble has discovered something odd: A disc of material around a supermassive black hole which was thought to be starving. The black hole in question lies at the center of the galaxy NGC 3147, 130 million light-years away from Earth.
Emerging Tech

Meet NASA’s climbing robots, able to move through the slipperiest environments

When it comes to exploring far off planets, robots need to be able to tackle all sorts of environmental challenges. NASA has been working on a series of climbing robots to take on different tasks in inhospitable environments.
Emerging Tech

Bouncing robot for low-gravity space missions has a spring in its step

The European Space Agency has created SpaceBok, a robot inspired by the springbok designed for low-gravity dynamic walking. On the moon, SpaceBok could potentially jump as high as two meters into the air.
Emerging Tech

Impossible Foods looks to make another splash with fishless fish

Impossible Foods is currently developing fishless fish, in response to the growing demand for plant-based food. The product will include heme, a protein from genetically modified yeast that was also used in the Impossible Burger.
Cars

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Drone lens, laser synth, and more

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Emerging Tech

Russia launches X-ray observatory capable of locating thousands of black holes

Russia has finally launched its powerful X-ray observatory, Spektr-RG, after a delay caused by faulty batteries on board the spacecraft. The launch took place at 5:30 a.m. PT on Saturday, July 13, taking off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome.
Emerging Tech

See a gargantuan dust storm covering the north pole of Mars

A dust storm around Mars' north pole has been imaged by the Mars Express orbiter. Localized dust storms are common on Mars, but occasionally one expands into a planet-wide event like the one which caused the demise of the Opportunity rover.
Emerging Tech

The Very Large Telescope captures the beautiful remnants of a dying star

The VLT has captured a beautiful cosmic object, the planetary nebula named Abell 24. Located in constellation of Canis Minor (The Lesser Dog), it is a swirl of dust and gas which is illuminated by the core of a dead star.
Emerging Tech

Astronomers have spotted a moon forming around a proto-Jupiter

Astronomers have spotted a young planet with a disk of gas and dust around it which is similar to the one from which the moons of Jupiter were born. The planet PDS 70 b is in the process of forming and is located 370 light-years away.
Emerging Tech

Stallone in Terminator 2? How one deepfake prankster is changing cinema history

Ever wanted to see The Shining with Jim Carrey instead of Jack Nicholson? How about Stallone in Terminator 2: Judgement Day instead of everyone's favorite governator? Thanks to deepfakes, it's now possible -- just ask YouTuber Ctrl Shift…