It sounds like the landmark victory that poker pros Jason Les, Doug Polk, Dong Kim and Bjorn Li pulled off against poker A.I. Claudico may be a relatively short-lived one.
Les, while on break from the $111k WSOP One Drop High Roller in Las Vegas, told PokerListings there have already been talks of a rematch against Claudico.
“Obviously they want some time to work on it and improve it again but I’m sure there will be a rematch in some format, there’s just some details we’d want to work out.”
“I’m down, we’ll just have to see what happens and where negotiations go from here.”
Les, Polk, Kim and Li — AKA the Brains — pulled off a considerable victory winning by a margin of $732,713.
Teaming Up with Former Opponents to Beat Claudico
It was a nearly unprecedented challenge in the history of poker as the Brains played for 14 grueling days, playing around 12 hours each day, and recording 80,000 hands versus a single A.I.
Les said it was far harder than the actual World Series of Poker, which is renowned for long days and non-stop poker action.
“[Playing Claudico] was a grind,” he said. “We were in there playing on a computer, one table heads-up, for like 12 hours a day on average. It was something else.”
Unlike normal poker, which is pretty much focused on the individual, the entire Brains crew was encouraged to pool their poker skills together to get an edge on the A.I.
“Doug and Dong have already been my friends for years so I was used to talking poker with them,” he said.
“Bjorn I had just met this year. I’d actually played against him previously and then suddenly we were on a team talking strategy with each other. It was a little unusual.”
“It was important for us to show that humans still had an edge in the game. We wanted to pull off a victory in at least one round.”
Doing Humanity Proud
It was obvious the entire team had a serious investment in the outcome after 14 days of poker.
“When we determined that we were going to win — about halfway through the challenge we had a pretty big margin of victory — we were stoked. We were all really proud to represent humanity and post a victory.”
Despite winning as a team, Les still had a tremendous amount of respect for the A.I.
“I think that if heads-up isn’t your main game then you’d have a lot of trouble versus Claudico,” he said. “You would probably lose.”
Les also believes Claudico will keep improving.
“For heads-up I think eventually this bot will get pretty good. It’s either going to win or be so close against the top players that no one can really say for sure who’s better,” he said.
“In the future I think that software will be very good for heads-up. I don’t think it says anything bad for poker, I think it’s more of an achievement for computer science.”
For the time being Les is focused solely on beating human opponents at the WSOP. It’s something that’s been going very well as he already has a second place finish and a third place at the 2015 WSOP for nearly $300,000 in winnings.
At this point he’s looking forward to a little bit of a break from poker, however.
“It’s been a lot of fun but I am looking forward to it winding down and kind of taking it easy for awhile,” he said.