Action Translation in Extensive-Form Games with Large Action Spaces: Axioms, Paradoxes, and the Pseudo-Harmonic Mapping / 120
Sam Ganzfried, Tuomas Sandholm

When solving extensive-form games with large action spaces, typically significant abstraction is needed to make the problem manageable from a modeling or computational perspective. When this occurs, a procedure is needed to interpret actions of the opponent that fall outside of our abstraction (by mapping them to actions in our abstraction). This is called an action translation mapping. Prior action translation mappings have been based on heuristics without theoretical justification. We show that the prior mappings are highly exploitable and that most of them violate certain natural desiderata. We present a new mapping that satisfies these desiderata and has significantly lower exploitability than the prior mappings. Furthermore, we observe that the cost of this worst-case performance benefit (low exploitability) is not high in practice; our mapping performs competitively with the prior mappings against no-limit Texas Hold'em agents submitted to the 2012 Annual Computer Poker Competition. We also observe several paradoxes that can arise when performing action abstraction and translation; for example, we show that it is possible to improve performance by including suboptimal actions in our abstraction and excluding optimal actions.