One of the games that anyone is sure to find in a casino is poker. The game incorporates uncertainty in a world of strategy, intelligence, and skill- this is a game in which one must have intelligent thinking and an open mind. Several professionals have played among themselves to mark their names at the top of the leaderboard.
But in this digital age, where people play online poker for money, there comes a new challenge in the form of AI. Further, since people love a challenge, it has become a showdown for the superior player. The question thus becomes: how do you defeat an opponent like AI that has no tells?
In this piece, you will learn more about the convergence of artificial intelligence and poker. Let’s dig in.
Rise of AI in Poker
When the integration of artificial intelligence into poker gaming was to happen, it all began with a simple step. And this had to do with designing computer programs to play the game. But at first, these attempts seemed overly essential, so the chances of it developing past that stage were slim.
However, as time passed, AI soon became a daunting game opponent. For this evolution to happen, the use of poker bots was introduced as a means to show how machines can master this complex game. Thus, by the ability of AI systems to analyze data stats, optimize winning strategies, and imitate countless hands, the potential of machine intelligence was fulfilled.
Consequently, these computational algorithms are now in use to create formidable opponents. More often than not, these AI opponents can match and even supersede the best human players in the poker variants.
Defeating Top Human Players With AI
Of course, to test the artificial intelligence capabilities they had created, the developers pitted the world’s best poker players against the algorithm. This was the best way to ascertain how much breakthrough had been achieved in machine learning. After several attempts, there was finally a green light.
In 2017, two AI models, Deepstack and Libratus, were recorded as the first to surpass professional poker players. They marked the turning point in the AI vs human arguments.
Deepstack And Libratus
Deepstack was the first algorithm recorded to surpass human players, and researchers developed it at two universities. To outperform these players, Deepstack” and “Libratus” and incorporated deep reinforcement learning to improve their strategy and performance. Its success thus displayed the ability of artificial intelligence to adapt to an ever-changing game like poker.
However, despite this victory of Deepstack, some more diggings were still done to further improve AI. This led to the development of Libratus by researchers from Carnegie Mellon University. This Libratus defeated four of the world’s best poker players in a 20-day tournament.
This tournament was themed “The Brains vs AI,” and it involved four players, each spending 11 hours a day battling Libratus. The variant of the game they played was the no-limit Texas Hold’Em. At the end of the competition, it was recorded that Libratus won more than $1.7 million in chops.
Thus, we see a testament to the swift growth that AI has experienced in poker gaming.
Limitations of AI in Poker
Now, despite the heights that AI has achieved in poker, it is not all-knowing and so has its limitations.
One such limitation is that poker is a game of chance, which introduces uncertainty. This poses a challenge because AI’s strengths lie in situations with well-laid rules and analytical odds.
In addition, the psychological aspects of the game that require bluffing, reading opponents, and other skills are beyond the algorithm’s scope. Humans are built to adapt to various game styles and also change strategies as needed. But this may be a little difficult for AI to imitate, considering poker extends beyond arithmetic analysis.
What Does The Future Hold For AI in Poker?
The future of artificial intelligence in poker gaming holds much intrigue. The battle for supremacy does not end; humans and AI are pushing the game’s limits. As a result, several questions and possibilities come to mind.
One such possibility is the ability of AI to augment human capabilities. This will allow humans to hone their skills, make better decisions on the go, and analyze plays correctly.
Furthermore, the future may make it possible to combine both human perception with machine learning’s prowess. Thus creating stronger team-ups that are difficult to surpass.
It could also be that there will be provision of tournaments exclusive to algorithms. This simply means a competition where only different AI programs battle against each other to see who wins. This may come in handy in further improving AI in poker.
Humans have always exercised their strengths against one another in the poker world, with many making names for themselves. Yet, the introduction of AI into poker brings about a new era showcasing the power that lies in machine learning. As artificial intelligence keeps evolving, there will be a dramatic transformation where poker games become even more strategic.
We love to see it!