Poker Bots Changing The Online Gambling World

Published Tuesday, January 31, 2017 -
Poker Bots Changing The Online Gambling World

In the online betting industry there are many questions asked whether computers are running the show or do humans have a real chance of winning at online casino card games such as poker. A recent article from Bloomberg Technology has revealed the quest for proof that artificial intelligence can out play real people and beat them at playing poker. Researchers in Canada and the Czech Republic have defeated several professional players in one-on-one games of no-limit Texas hold’em poker hailing the achievement as a breakthrough for AI.

Michael Wellman, a professor at the University of Michigan who specializes in game theory and Artificial Intelligence commented on the research, “If correct, this is indeed a significant advance in game-playing AI,” adding,  “First, it achieves a major milestone (beating poker professionals) in a game of prominent interest. Second, it brings together several novel ideas, which together support an exciting approach for imperfect-information games.”

The software running at the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center in Monroeville Pennsylvania will be utilized in a tournament at a Pittsburgh casino. Lead developer Tuomas Sandholm, a professor of computer science at Carnegie Mellon University says the human players in this tournament are considerably stronger than those tested by the Alberta Canada researchers, and 120,000 hands will be played over 20 days, providing greater statistical significance to the results.

The math is impressive with heads-up no-limit Texas hold’em proving too difficult for machines to play expertly. There are 10160 (10 followed by 160 zeros) possible paths of play for each hand in heads-up no-limit Texas hold’em.

Professor Wellman pointed out, “What's really new for such a complex game is being able to effectively compute the action to take in each situation as it is encountered, rather than having to work through a simplified form of the entire tree of game possibilities offline.”

These breakthroughs in artificial intelligence research raise questions about the threat that bots pose to the online gambling industry.



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