How AI is Changing the Poker World

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Img Source: nypost.com

Many have tried in the past to crack poker with AI and it finally seems as though someone has the right key. By being what is known as a hidden information game, poker has always been a challenging subject for AI bots to work out. However, a new bot named Pluribus seems to have hit the jackpot. The bot has been developed by Noam Brown, who works for Facebook AI and Tuomas Sandholm, who is from Carnegie Mellon University in Pennsylvania. 

The Pluribus bot has taken on the professionals and won, something that few can claim. In the experiment, the bot played no-limit Texas Hold’em version of the game in a six-player tournament against the best professionals in the world. Across 20,000 different hands of online poker, going up against 15 of the world’s very best, AI came out on top. The humans it took on have each won more than $1 million playing professionally, and if it can beat them, it looks as though this version of AI can beat anyone.

Img Source: news.stanford.edu

The results that this test has shown us all imply that this is certainly a more advanced and better version of AI than we have ever seen an attempt to tackle the card games market in the past. It is no surprise that people are tackling this market with AI though, you only need to look at the money involved in poker to see how important this could be. As said above, the 15 players in this text have all earnt more than $1 million each, and the recent 2019 World Series of Poker Final had the first prize of $10,000,000.

There are a number of poker lovers around the world that will be taking an interest in this story too, to see if it could help them with their own personal gaming. Many people settle down and try poker or betting online as a form of enjoyment, and this type of AI could impact the games that we love and the sports we bet on. According to newbettingsites.uk many bookmakers offer poker playing and casino gaming alongside their sports betting options, so a player can have one account which covers every type of gaming if they want to mix things up. This site gives a lowdown of each service, with potential new player bonuses available to those who sign up. 

Img Source: cardschat.com

How Does the Pluribus AI Bot Work?

Being a game of hidden information, it is very difficult to learn a bot how to understand and win at poker, because there is information that it doesn’t know and that it cannot be programmed into knowing. The Pluribus bot sidesteps this because it uses self-play to teach itself how to win at poker. This means it receives no guidance and no pre-installed strategies or guides to use, everything it knows, it teaches itself.

This means no human input into the machine at all, which is vital. When human input is added, this will add tendencies to the bot, which isn’t something that needs adding, this AI bot does everything for itself. This has led it to not only be able to go up against humans but also to be able to beat them as it has become a more accomplished poker player than anyone on the planet.

Img Source: newswatchtv.com

The hidden information in this game is what makes this game so difficult for bots to understand, and also what makes it so appealing to fans of the game. You don’t know what other cards are in the game with other players, and this is something that the bot doesn’t know either. This part of the game prevents the bot from using a strategy while playing, which is where the self-taught aspect comes into this. 

When a human takes part in a game of poker, although you may think you have a strategy, much of that is based on a gut feeling because there is information that you don’t know. You have to make a decision to the best of your ability based on what you think will happen next in the game, the same as what the bot does. However, the bot has the advantage of being the most intelligent poker player on the planet, one that has taught itself how to play based on game situations, not tendencies, while also being able to operate without emotion, something that few humans are capable of doing.

Img Source: cardschat.com

It is playing in this manner, having an in-depth knowledge of the game and also being able to approach things without emotion attached is what gives this bot the edge. The way Pluribus approaches the game is also different. Instead of looking at the end of the game and trying to win, it looks just a few moves in front and aims to put itself in the best possible position with the cards dealt. The bot has lightning-fast self-play algorithms which it uses and this has been specifically designed for games like poker that have hidden information in them. With all of this on its side, perhaps it should come as no surprise that Pluribus is able to beat the best humans that we have in the world.

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