After kicking off two weeks ago, the 20-day man-versus-machine poker tournament taking place in Pennsylvania has seen a computer program developed by scientists from Carnegie Mellon University race into a commanding lead.

According to a report from The Washington Post newspaper, the Brains Versus Artificial Intelligence: Upping The Ante event began on January 11 at the Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh and involves a computer program christened Libratus going up against four professional poker players encompassing Jason Les, Dong Kim, Daniel McAulay and Jimmy Chou in 120,000 hands of heads-up no-limit Texas hold‘em.

Developed by a team fronted by Tuomas Sandholm, a professor from Carnegie Mellon University’s Computer Science Department, Libratus reportedly ran into a $50,513 lead after only 27,000 hands while it had doubled this advantage by 14 times to $701,242 following 67,000 rounds of play.

In Carnegie Mellon University’s previous man-versus-machine competition in 2015, 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’s team to increase the number of hands for this month’s event by 50%.

“Libratus has had the lead since the outset,” Sandholm told The Washington Post. “Artificial intelligence is making moves humans would never make. Artificial intelligence is a Martian playing poker.”

The laptop-utilizing human players are vying for a share of a $200,000 prize pool but have only 53,000 hands left to complete while the Carnegie Mellon University scientists are hoping to set a new benchmark in the pursuit of artificial intelligence. Helsinki-born Sandholm reportedly stated that he settled on the game of no-limit Texas hold‘em poker because it could be used as a model for real-life “imperfect” situations such as occur in cyber-security or military strategy.

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 receiving support from the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center through a peer-reviewed XSEDE allocation, Rivers Casino and Sandholm’s Electronic Marketplaces Laboratory.