While computer programs for no-limit Texas hold 'em have become steadily stronger over the past decade, the last several years have seen a sharp improvement that has enabled the strongest agents to surpass the best human players in the world. While several improvements have fueled this final spike, the one that has been identified as the most significant had previously been written off due to the fact that it has no theoretical guarantee, as highlighted by a very simple example. This surprising breakthrough is endgame solving, and in this talk we describe its history and developments over the course of research in computer poker.
Sam Ganzfried is an Assistant Professor in the School of Computing and Information Sciences at Florida International University in Miami. He received a PhD in computer science from Carnegie Mellon University in 2015 for his dissertation “Computing Strong Game-Theoretic Strategies and Exploiting Suboptimal Opponents in Large Games” and holds an A.B. in math from Harvard University. His research interests include artificial intelligence, game theory, multiagent systems, multiagent learning, large-scale optimization, large-scale data analysis and analytics, and knowledge representation. He created two-player no-limit Texas hold ‘em agent Tartanian7 that won the 2014 Annual Computer Poker Competition and Claudico that competed in the inaugural Brains vs. Artificial Intelligence competition in 2015 against the strongest human specialists in the world for that poker variant. He organized the AAAI Workshop on Computer Poker and Imperfect Information in 2014 and 2015, as well as the First Tutorial on Computer Poker at the 2016 Conference on Economics and Computation and again at AAAI in 2017.