Mind vs. Machine: AI’s Impact on Online Poker and Betting Algorithms

Online poker and betting are two of the most popular and lucrative forms of gambling worldwide. Millions of people enjoy playing these games online for fun or real money. However, in recent years, a new challenger has emerged in the online gambling arena: artificial intelligence (AI).

AI is the branch of computer science that aims to create machines and systems that can perform tasks that normally require human intelligence, such as reasoning, learning, decision-making, and problem-solving. AI has made remarkable advances in various domains, such as chess, Go, and video games. But can AI beat human players at online poker and betting?

The answer is yes, and it has already happened. In this article, we will explore how AI has influenced online poker and betting, the challenges and opportunities for players and operators and the implications for the future of online gambling.

AI vs. Human Poker Players

Poker is a game of skill, strategy, psychology, and luck. It involves incomplete information, bluffing, deception, and risk management. Poker is also a game of multiple players, where each player’s actions affect the others. These features make poker a complex and challenging game for humans and machines.

However, AI researchers have been able to develop computer programs that can play poker at a superhuman level, beating some of the best human players in the world. One of the most notable examples is Pluribus, an AI system developed by researchers from Carnegie Mellon University and Facebook AI Research.

Pluribus is a general-purpose poker-playing AI that can play both two-player (heads-up) and multiplayer (six-player) no-limit Texas hold ’em, the most popular poker variant. Pluribus uses a combination of self-play reinforcement learning, learning from playing against itself, and real-time search, evaluating different actions during each hand.

Pluribus defeated some top human poker professionals in both heads-up and six-player games, earning an average profit of about $5 per hand over 10,000 hands. Pluribus also demonstrated novel strategies that human players had not seen before, such as randomizing its bets and bluffs to make itself unpredictable.

Pluribus is not the only AI system that can play poker well. Other examples include Libratus, another system developed by Carnegie Mellon University that beat four human pros in heads-up no-limit Texas hold’em in 2017; DeepStack, a system developed by the University of Alberta that beat 11 human pros in heads-up limit Texas hold’em in 2016; and Cepheus, another system developed by the University of Alberta that solved heads-up limit Texas hold’em in 2015.

AI vs. Human Bettors

Betting is another form of gambling that predicts the outcomes of various events, such as sports matches, elections, or stock prices. Betting is also a skill, strategy, psychology, and luck game. It involves incomplete information, uncertainty, probability, and risk management.

AI has also been applied to betting, to find optimal strategies to maximize profits or minimize losses. AI can use various techniques to analyze large amounts of data, such as historical results, statistics, trends, patterns, and news articles. AI can also use machine learning to learn from experience and adapt to changing conditions.

One example of an AI system that can bet well is Stratagem.AI, a London-based startup that uses deep learning to predict the outcomes of soccer matches. Stratagem.AI claims to have an accuracy rate of over 70% on its predictions, which it sells to professional bettors and hedge funds.

Another example is Unanimous.AI, a San Francisco-based startup that uses swarm intelligence to create collective predictions from groups of human experts. Swarm intelligence is a form of artificial intelligence that mimics the behavior of natural systems, such as flocks of birds or schools of fish. Unanimous.AI claims to have outperformed traditional forecasting methods in various domains, such as sports betting, politics, finance, and entertainment.

The Impact of AI on Online Poker and Betting

AI has undoubtedly had a major impact on online poker and betting for players and operators. For players, AI offers both challenges and opportunities. On one hand, AI poses a threat to human players, as it can outsmart them and take their money. On the other hand, AI offers a chance for human players to improve their skills, learn new strategies, and gain an edge over their opponents. For operators, AI also offers both challenges and opportunities. On one hand, AI poses a risk to operators, as it can reduce their revenues, damage their reputation, or expose them to legal issues. On the other hand, AI offers the potential for operators to enhance their services, attract more customers, or create new markets.

The Future of Online Poker and Betting

AI and online poker and betting are constantly evolving and improving. The future of online gambling will likely see more applications of AI, as well as more interactions between human and machine players and bettors. Some possible scenarios are:

– AI as a coach: AI systems could act as coaches or mentors for human players and bettors, providing them with feedback, advice, or suggestions on how to improve their performance or optimize their strategies.

– AI as a partner: AI systems could act as partners or allies for human players and bettors, collaborating or supporting them in their decisions or actions.

– AI as a competitor: AI systems could act as competitors or adversaries for human players and bettors, challenging or opposing them in their games or bets.

– AI as a regulator: AI systems could act as regulators or arbitrators for online poker and betting, ensuring fairness, security, transparency, or compliance in the online gambling industry.


AI has made remarkable progress in online poker and betting, demonstrating superhuman abilities and influencing the online gambling industry. AI has also created new challenges and opportunities for both players and operators and new scenarios for the future of online gambling. AI is here to stay, and so is online poker and betting. The question is, how will they coexist?