How Artificial Intelligence Changed Gambling in 2017

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As we approach the end of 2017 and 2018 is upon us, many of us are looking back on this past year, recapping some of the key developments that shaped the last 12 months.

One topic that has been creeping into the mainstream press and social awareness net is the growing field of AI (Artificial Intelligence). Though the topic has gotten considerably more attention in the past year than in the past decade, many of its biggest developments were left out of the mainstream.

According to information on the growing AI field, one of the biggest AI developments happened in the gambling sector. 2017 will be marked as the year that AI was officially crowned as the raining earthly champion of poker.

The Epic Poker Battle Of 2017

Starting in January of 2017, four of the world’s top poker pros took on what is arguably the most advanced poker bot in history. In an extended 120,000-hand tournament to establish whether man or machine was supreme on the poker table, four of humanities best professional gamblers took on an AI by the name of Libratus.

The tournament ended in a rather crushing defeat for the humans, with all four losing a total of $1.76 million at an average rate of $14.70 per hand. This is the most decisive blow in the history of human vs. AI poker competition, and it marked the beginning of an AI dominated era.

What Is Libratus?

Libratus is a poker bot developed by the AI team at Carnegie Mellon University for $9.65 million dollars. The brain of this poker champion is 30,000 times faster than your home computer and has over 274 terabytes of RAM (Random Access Memory).

Libratus is the most advanced poker bot ever created; it learns and is strategy-independent from human play. Furthermore, it is capable of adjusting its game play to isolate specific weaknesses in an opponent and analyzes its own mistakes, adjusting its strategy. In essence, Libratus learns and only gets better.

Is Libratus Alone?

The AI poker revolution has been years in the making. The earliest poker AI software, Orac, was created in 1984, and the first world series of poker robots was held in 2005. These earlier models were never capable of decisively defeating humans until this new age of AI poker bots in 2017.

Libratus is likely the most advanced, however, “DeepStack,” a poker AI developed by the University of Alberta is also capable of beating human competition. Deepstack, in testing, wins at an average win rate 9 times higher than the average professional human player.

This is only one example and multiple other poker bots are in testing or development as you read this.

Artificial Intelligence Gaming Poker


Since 2012, AI has been in use in the Bellagio in Las Vegas where everyone could play against it. However, that AI is not nearly as advanced as the 2017 upgraded counterparts and was, at the very least, beatable to some degree.

These new, sophisticated AI poker bots are now not only capable of winning, but will continue to win more often and with more vigor as they learn and adjust strategy.

In short, 2017 was the year that robots over took us at poker and changed gambling forever.