PITTSBURGH (KDKA/AP) – Carnegie Mellon University researchers are going all in, pitting a computer program against some of the world’s best professional poker players.

Douglas Polk is the best “no-limit, hold’em” player in the world. CMU professor Tuomas Sandholm and his students have built a computer designed to defeat him.

“This is two weeks of eight hours a day grinding,” Polk predicts.

He and three other professionals will play a total of 80,000 poker hands in two six-day weeks at Rivers Casino. The event is dubbed, “Brains Against Artificial Intelligence.”

“With humans, you can kind of get in their head, psych them out a little bit. Kind of set them up a little bit. Like bluff, bluff, bluff, and then, okay, he’s going to bluff me again. And when you do that, you come in with a value,” the poker player says. “But with a computer, it’s going to be more trying to figure out what it’s up to, how it’s written, how it’s coded. You look for those holes that we can use to make money.”

“It’s going to be a clash of styles for sure, that’s never been seen before,” says Professor Sandholm. “And it could be that we lose huge, or we win huge, but I don’t think so. I think it’s going to be close.”

For artificial intelligence, the stakes are high, according to Carnegie Mellon Dan of Computer Science Andrew Moore.

“Artificial Intelligence on your cell phone needs to be able to advocate for you in a world in which people are trying to take advantage of you,” he says.

With four different players, you have four different styles of play. So is the computer set up to match the distinctive style of each player?

“Good question,” Professor Sandholm says. “I’m not going to answer that.”

On day one, humans take an early lead. But the game has just begun.

“We have no idea how they’re programming it,” Polk admits. “But what we do know is how it plays hands, because poker is hands. So if I get hands, and it tries to push me around, I’m going to show them what us humans are all about.”

And that’s no bluff.

The entire tournament is being streamed live on at: www.riverscasino.com

The computer will play 80,000 hands of Heads-Up No-Limit Texas Hold ’em in the two-week tournament.

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