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AI’s Unprecedented Influence: Redefining Poker Strategy Beyond Human Capacity

The challenge that AI faces in poker is unpredictable human behaviour. Unlike more straightforward games like chess or Go, poker doesn’t provide complete information and involves ambiguous activities like bluffing. However, technological advancements have made AI integral to poker. 

Inroads Into Poker and Becoming Battle-Ready

Some AI creators chose Texas Hold’em as a more realistic option, considering its poker rules of fixed bet sizes. Others, like Polish player and programmer Piotrek Lopusiewicz, chose to develop AI programs for no-limit poker, which is much more complicated than Limit Texas Hold’em.

Progress was made with the development of Libratus, a poker-playing AI program that was developed at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. In 2017, Libratus competed against human poker pros in a 20-day tournament and emerged victorious. The AI maintained a win rate of 14.7 big blinds per 100 hands, which is almost unheard of among humans. Libratus learnt from the game and adapted strategies on the go, following it up with unpredictably rational decisions.

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Another early-era breakthrough for AI in poker was the 2019 introduction of Pluribus. Built by Carnegie Mellon University and Facebook’s AI lab, Pluribus won a six-player, no-limit Texas Hold’em tournament decisively amidst stiff competition. Thus, in a matter of a few years, AI programs have become ready and equipped to take on human intelligence in poker. Some may recall a similar competition between chess grandmasters and computers that dates back to the pre-AI era.

Other Key AI Tools in Poker

One of the earliest AI tools available to poker players was the one developed by Piotrek Lopusiewicz. He had started selling his AI tool, PioSolver, for $249 back in 2015. This triggered the development of a series of poker-playing programs like Libratus and Pluribus. Also deserving a special mention is the AI tool DeepStack. It became the first program to defeat humans in a poker game. A University of Alberta creation, DeepStack has neural networks that can solve more than 10 million poker situations. It mastered the two-player, no-limit Texas Hold’em that required it to identify player bluffs and hidden cards.

OpenAI’s introduction ChatGPT has also emerged as a handy AI poker tool. Its ability to use Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Machine Learning (ML) meant that it could address text-based poker queries. The use of NLP and ML enables ChatGPT to study poker hand patterns and opponent behaviour using millions of data points in an instant. 

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Impact on Poker Strategies

For seasoned poker players, the advent of AI is also a cause of concern. They claim that it will change the basic tenet of the game. Poker requires creativity, observation skills, decision-making and composure, things that may become peripheral when the entire show is run by AI tools. However, many others consider AI as the latest in the long line of technological breakthroughs that have been incorporated into the game of poker. 

Players are now using AI tools to analyse years of data to study opponents and their behaviour patterns, preferred strategies and playing styles. AI is helping players design strategies by providing valuable insights. 

However, apart from the use of AI in developing poker strategies, AI is also being used in real-time gameplay. A study conducted by Legal US Poker Sites pointed out that one out of five poker players are using ChatGPT to win their games. A senior poker pro, Fedor Kruse, was found using Real-Time Assistance software during online games. This helped him get game-theory optimal (GTO) strategies that were based on the poker rules, hand, earlier bets, pot size, account community cards, etc. The fact that Kruse got caught during online games indicates that gaming platforms are getting equally equipped to detect AI-aided players in the table. 

Why is AI Integral to Poker?

The prevalence of AI in poker is multidimensional and becoming increasingly prominent. After the initial struggles faced by AI developers to replicate human intelligence, tools are in place to take the world of poker by storm.

You can use AI tools that are designed to compete with professional poker players. These tools are used by poker experts to improve their skills and performance. 37% of poker experts admitted that AI tools have made them better poker players, and playing against these tools was enjoyable.

Besides, there are AI tools, PioSolver and Simple Postflop, which help players analyse play and develop GTO strategies. Given the change AI is bringing into the world of poker, its relevance in the future of poker is beyond doubt.

Concluding Thoughts

As AI technology continues to advance, its use in games like poker is unavoidable. It poses a threat of cheating in live games, and cynics see an overall reduction in skill levels due to AI dependency. However, when used positively, it can improve the skill levels among players. Besides, leading poker platforms like Pocket52 are investing in softwares that can detect online AI usage. Eventually, we can expect to see AI tools as a positive addition to the world of online gaming, specifically poker.

Read more: Google Pixel 8a Price Leaks: Expected to Exceed Pixel 7a Pricing

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Rahul Roy
Rahul Roy
I am a computer guy by profession and a sports fanatic by choice.
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