HALLELUJAH: Humans Triumph Over Poker-Playing Robot in Two-Week Showdown

(Photo: Reuters)

Doesn’t it seem like robots are better than humans in just about everything nowadays?

Well, guess what: We’re still better than them at poker! In your face, robot gamblers!

Two weeks ago, four of the best poker players in the world sat down to play 80,000 hands of Heads-up No-limit Texas Hold'em against Claudico, a poker-playing AI system developed by Carnegie Mellon University programmers. Claudico had previously won a competition against fellow poker-playing AI machines; now, it (he?) was ready to take on living, breathing, sweaty professional gamblers.

Today, CMU announced the results: After betting a (virtual) total of $170 million, the humans came out on top by $732,713. So, even though computers are better than us at chess, Go, Scrabble, and probably boxing, we still have a slight edge at poker.

A CMU press release declared that the outcome “was not quite large enough to attain statistical significance.” CMU’s Tuomas Sandholm, who helped developed Claudico, concluded that the match was a “statistical tie.”

But one of the poker players, Bjorn Li, was ready to celebrate. “At the end of the day, the most important thing is that the humans remain on top for now,” Li said.

Amen, Bjorn. Skynet is not a threat to our poker pits and card sharks. Not in 2015, anyway.

You can read more about the epic showdown between poker man and poker robot here.