AI & Digital Tools vs Online Poker: How to Stay Ahead of the Game

24 Mar

While the poker industry is already facing a significant challenge with the rise of real-time bots, the use of future artificial intelligence (AI) tools could potentially threaten the long-term health of the game significantly.

When the first computer assistance programs for poker appeared, most did not understand what they could help with in the game. Today, the situation could not be more different.

The widespread use of digital tools to help players calculate and analyse during play changed the game forever but now the online industry is moving away from allowing such programs to be used in-game. One such change is the inability to download and store hands that has helped the amateur players from falling too far behind to compete.

The banning of HUDs has helped enormously. All of that said, these programs have made the game more easily accessible to novice players through a faster learning process.

What About True AI Programs?

Poker is a game that largely depends on human interaction, so it’s no wonder that most players see the application of artificial intelligence as an intrusion. With all of the recent fanfare about the Chat GPT AI program, it is easy to understand why some are worried about what this means for the online game.

On the positive side, there are obvious benefits in terms of learning but it’s a dark thought when we consider how close we might be to a true real-time AI player that not only plays its own perfect GTO strategies but also pinpoints its opponent’s weaknesses and exploits to the maximum degree.

This, of course, was everyone’s fear in the early days of online poker more than two decades ago. We have already witnessed the Libratus program defeating world-class players.

To start the poker vs. AI debate, there are now both fans and haters of artificial intelligence playing a role in creating new poker strategies. Some people see this as beneficial because it will give humans much-needed help to balance out the luck and skill that is necessary to be successful at poker. However, others foresee a very dark future for poker if AI takes charge because then there would be no room left for human input or intuition.

It seems unlikely that online poker is unsafe in the short to medium term, but AI is now here to stay, and it is expected to make ground-breaking improvements over 2023 that could see the face of the virtual game changed forever.

We might see a situation where fundamental changes are introduced to the popular formats in order to maintain the element of human competition.

To sum up, the marriage between AI and online poker presents both challenges and opportunities. While the use of AI tools in poker might threaten the traditional concept of the game and lead to a loss of players, it also has some potential to enhance the player’s experience.

The industry as a whole can work towards finding a balance between utilising the benefits of AI while preserving the human interaction and intuition that makes poker such a beloved game. Overall, the future of online poker may not be as dire as some predict, but it will require the industry to adapt and evolve to stay competitive in the digital age.

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