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TechnologySuperhuman AI Bots Pose a Threat to Online Poker Firms, Morgan Stanley Says

18:41  12 september  2019
18:41  12 september  2019 Source:   bloomberg.com

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The threat for online poker players is not the human desktop card sharks playing against you, but the superhuman artificial intelligence bots that could infiltrate games, according to analysts at Morgan Stanley . “The (re)emergence of superhuman poker bots in the online ecosystem now appears to

The threat for online poker players is not the human desktop card sharks playing against you, but the superhuman artificial intelligence bots that could infiltrate Sep 12 2019, 3:36 PMSep 13 2019, 9:16 AMSeptember 12 2019, 3:36 PMSeptember 13 2019, 9:16 AM. (Bloomberg) -- The threat for online

(Bloomberg) -- The threat for online poker players is not the human desktop card sharks playing against you, but the superhuman artificial intelligence bots that could infiltrate games, according to analysts at Morgan Stanley.

“The (re)emergence of superhuman poker bots in the online ecosystem now appears to be a matter of when, not if,” analyst Ed Young wrote in a note.

In July, a new AI program called Pluribus was unveiled by Facebook Inc. and Carnegie Mellon University, which beat five professional poker players in a six-player Texas Hold’em tournament.

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Financial analysts at Morgan Stanley expect AI bot Pluribus to negatively impact online poker revenue due to its ability to beat players in Unless and until companies like PokerStars throw their hands up and wave the white flag to declare online poker dead to bots , the threat is being overblown.

The rise of artificial intelligence ( AI ) poker bots might present a threat to individual online poker players, but it seems the effects could be more devastating to the industry at large. Morgan Stanley analysts believe the rise of AI online poker bots could hurt the industry. (Image: Phys.org).

Notably, Pluribus’s strategy was created at a low-cost and in a short time, whereas previous AI bots playing games like chess or checkers required expensive supercomputers or large numbers of servers. That’s a “major development” for AI as it makes the strategy affordable and quick to replicate on a technical level, Young said.

Poker is uniquely exposed to the threat of bots because it needs multiple players and is arguably a game of skill, so players having confidence in the system is essential, according to Young. If that confidence is damaged, it could hit the number of recreational players taking part and these are the main source of revenue for operators, he said.

While online gaming firms like The Stars Group, GVC Holdings Plc and Playtech Plc have safeguards in place to protect against bots, a loss of player confidence and ultimately revenue from a proliferation of AI bots are “plausible risks,” Young said. The broker trimmed price targets for all three stocks, with Stars the most exposed to online poker.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sam Unsted in London at sunsted@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Beth Mellor at bmellor@bloomberg.net, Paul Jarvis, John Viljoen

For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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