PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — It was man vs. machine.
Four professional no-limit Texas Hold’em players waged an exhausting, two week struggle against a CMU computer named Claudico, at Rivers Casino.
When the mythical dollars were tabulated, humans prevailed by a margin of $732,713.
Computer science professor Tuomas Sandholm compared it to the Pittsburgh Marathon.
“That was last Sunday, but it only took up a few hours, but you guys have been playing for two weeks. So that’s the real marathon around here,” he said.
Humans were led by Douglas Polk and Bjorn Li, two of the top players in the world.
“Humans won!” Polk exclaimed. “We did it! We took down the computer!”
Though the unemotional Claudico always had his poker face on, the humans found a way to manipulate his tendencies.
“We really managed to find some weaknesses in some of the ways it liked to play its hands, and we exploited some of those to build our lead,” Polk added.
Individual winner Bjorn Li of Hong Kong won the lion’s share of the $100,000 prize money. But he’s a team player.
“My own personal score does not matter so much,” he said. “But, you know, humans won.”
The $732,000 sounds like a huge margin of victory, until we consider that $170 million was wagered in the two-week tournament.
“It was a statistical draw,” Professor Sandholm declared. “So we cannot conclude for sure that the humans are better.”
Players had a slightly different point of view. And when a new and improved Claudico plays its hand down the road, Bjorn Li says, “I’ll be looking forward to coming back in a year, or whatever, whenever the CMU guys are ready to do this again.”