After holding their initial man-versus-machine poker tournament in April of 2015, computer scientists from Carnegie Mellon University in Pennsylvania will be at it again later this month with the Brains Versus Artificial Intelligence: Upping The Ante event.

Due to take place from January 11 at the Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh, the 20-day tournament will see four professional poker players in Jason Les, Dong Kim, Daniel McAulay and Jimmy Chou take on the Libratus computer program in 120,000 hands of heads-up no-limit Texas hold‘em.

Although the laptop-utilizing players will be vying for a share of a $200,000 prize purse, the goal for Carnegie Mellon University scientists is to set a new benchmark in the pursuit of artificial intelligence.

“Since the earliest days of artificial intelligence research beating top human players has been a powerful measure of progress in the field,” said Tuomas Sandholm, a professor from Carnegie Mellon University’s Computer Science Department. “That was achieved with chess in 1997, with Jeopardy! in 2009 and with the board game Go just last year. Poker poses a far more difficult challenge than these games as it requires a machine to make extremely complicated decisions based on incomplete information while contending with bluffs, slow play and other ploys.”

In Carnegie Mellon University’s previous man-versus-machine competition, a computer program christened Claudico collected fewer chips than three of the four human poker players against which it was competing. But, the 80,000 hands proved to be too few to establish the superiority of either human or computer with statistical significance, which led Sandholm and his team to increase the number of hands for this month’s event by 50%.

“I’m very excited to see what this latest artificial intelligence is like,” said Les, a professional poker player based in Costa Mesa, California. “I thought Claudico was tough to play. Knowing the resources and the ideas that Sandholm and his team have had available in the 20 months since the first contest, I assume this artificial intelligence will be even more challenging.”

The Brains Versus Artificial Intelligence: Upping The Ante event is being sponsored by venture capital firm GreatPoint Ventures along with Avenue4Analytics, TNG Technology Consulting, Intel, Optimized Markets Incorporated and the publication Artificial Intelligence. The unique occasion is moreover to receive support from the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center through a peer-reviewed XSEDE allocation, Rivers Casino and Sandholm’s Electronic Marketplaces Laboratory.