Poker VS AI: will online poker survive Artificial Intelligence?

The implementation of digital AI tools has put in check the traditional poker sector, which sees the classic concept of the games in danger. The fear of a significant loss of players and the devirtualization of the game due to the replacement of face-to-face games by computer-driven bots has raised some unease among purists, who do not look favorably on the choice to make use of artificial intelligence poker devices.

What role does AI play in today's poker games?

When the first computerized programs applied to poker appeared, many did not understand what a machine had to do with the game. Today, poker and artificial intelligence seem doomed to understand each other.

And the proliferation of digital tools to perform calculations and other actions during the games is a breakthrough, although many of these devices are restricted to official tournaments and events of international projection.

Poker is a highly strategic game, full of nuances and based on the study of the opponent to try to adopt one strategy or another during the game. Some say that you only know a person in depth when you look them directly in the face, and poker seems to have taken this maxim and turned it into its mantra because the basis of all the strategic and economic dynamics of the game is based on this: the study of the opponent.

The arrival of digital devices has opened the door to implement other options, more accessible and casual but that have little to do with the experience of playing at a poker table. Part of the blame lies in the fact that the unstoppable advances in digitization have developed an artificial intelligence capable of replacing any human player in skill. Thus, nowadays it is common to find duels of bots that perfectly fit at the online gaming tables, while outside them there is another duel that still has no clear winner: poker vs. AI.

The most purist see the application of artificial intelligence in poker as little less than an intrusion, something that makes some sense if you take into account that poker depends on a huge human factor and that it does not have notable improvements in its digital version. This means that poker and artificial intelligence are not going to get along for a long time.

Online poker, the first step in the digitization of poker

If we look at Libratus, a computer program designed based on artificial intelligence, we will see how dangerous it is to maintain stability at online poker tables. In the testing phase, the program annihilated any chance of victory of the four players who tried to beat it. After the results, the strategy was rethought to implement less invasive artificial intelligence tools in poker, although with practically identical potential.

The poker vs. AI duel was thus inaugurated, and to this day there are both supporters and opponents of AI playing a more prominent role in the development of new poker proposals. Others, on the other hand, foresee a bleak future for poker if artificial intelligence has its way, since it will leave little room for human players to find that balance between luck and skill that characterizes poker.

However, in the event that a way is found to properly calibrate the most advanced artificial intelligence tools for traditional poker, the old legislation would have to be adapted to the new incorporations, something that could take years to happen.

Mostly because the United States, the cradle of gambling and the main supporter of traditional casinos and bookmakers, still has a great tradition of physical gambling and its States have timidly begun to approve online poker in certain circumstances. Without online poker being a viable option in the short term for a country like the United States, it seems difficult to think that online poker could disappear because of tools that are clearly not ready to be fully integrated into current formats.

Therefore, the duel between the online side of poker and the most advanced artificial intelligence is not so much a direct confrontation of interests as two pawns from different eras that have to manage the transfer of a modern proposal to a much more avant-garde one. But, at a time when laws are being changed to legislate in favor of online poker, many choose to think that this poker vs. AI duel has no place, and that it will be necessary to perfect the online game before thinking about integrating more modern tools applied to the game.

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