Accelerating Best Response Calculation in Large Extensive Games
Michael Johanson, Kevin Waugh, Michael Bowling and Martin Zinkevich
One fundamental evaluation criteria of an AI technique is its performance in the worst-case. For static strategies in extensive games, this can be computed using a best response computation. Conventionally, this requires a full game tree traversal. For very large games, such as poker, that traversal is infeasible to perform on modern hardware. In this paper, we detail a general technique for best response computations that can often avoid a full game tree traversal. Additionally, our method is specifically well-suited for parallel environments. We apply this approach to computing the worst-case performance of a number of strategies in heads-up limit Texas hold'em, which, prior to this work, was not possible. We explore these results thoroughly as they provide insight into the effects of abstraction on worst-case performance in large imperfect information games. This is a topic that has received much attention, but could not previously be examined outside of toy domains.