I never realized how many poker players (multiple millions worldwide) not only enjoy playing poker online, but have developed their skills, strategies and poker star reputations without ever leaving home. *There is big money to be won (or lost) in high-stakes online poker tournaments held every single day of the week, morning, noon and night.
But that could change drastically. A couple of months ago, Facebook Research together with Carnegie Mellon, published the results of their years of work to develop a superhuman AI (artificial intelligence).Named Pluribus, it is the first AI bot capable of outplaying experts in a complex game with more than two players or two teams. In other words, Pluribus can consistently beat the world’s top poker players in six-player no-limit Texas Hold’em, the most widely played poker format in the world.
Online poker companies had better beware. It’s only a matter of time until millions of players worldwide will begin to feel the chilling effects as AIs start infiltrating online games, until the chances for a human to win will dwindle. The companies, now basking in the glow of an almost $4 billion industry, will make every attempt to be hyper-vigilant; they will tighten security, increase ID checks and/or institute “live playing” where online users need to use web cameras to ensure authenticity. Nevertheless, at some point machines will dominate the online game, humans will tire of never winning and lose interest, and AI will have dealt a deadly blow to the industry of online poker.
*Which means, I guess, that of the 8,569 players at this
year’s WSOP World Championship, some of the players might never have played live poker with live poker players at a poker table in a casino.