Poker Bots In Online Poker

Poker bots are an enormous problem in todays online poker world. I have warned previously about the dangers of anonymous poker tables and now increasingly bots are becoming a major issue. When you combine the element of anonymity with the possibility of poker bots being ran on a frequent basis (which is happening) that is a huge concern for players. Unfortunately, poker bots have become better and better in recent years and I suspect are now good enough to be making enormous sums of money online.

For those of you who follow my blog on a frequent basis you will notice that I have not been posting on a frequent basis lately. This is because earlier this year I founded a company called GoFetch, which is a rapidly growing pet services marketplace company. I sit with our team of developers everyday and I have no doubt in a matter of a few weeks to months we could have a profitable poker bot running. This is not something that interests me but it is a reality.

The Danger of Poker Bots

1) Poker bots are winning at an increasing rate.

I recently received the following notice from a major online poker network. I edited out the networks name and the amount being refunded but this is a major network an the sums were not insignificant.

“Dear Paul,

We’ve recently completed an investigation into some accounts on the ———– network which were identified by ———– security measures as players using  “poker bots” to play on the network. 

The use of this 3rd party software is strictly prohibited, ———— have managed to seize funds and have redistributed them to players affected.

As part of the investigation we found some play where you were directly affected. As a result we will be crediting €—- into your poker account today. This will get credited in the US dollar equivalent.

We are happy to say that none of the bot players held accounts here at ————-. And remain committed to supplying the safest environment possible to place bets and play poker. We’ll continue to vet new account registrations using various security measures to ensure we maintain the integrity of our games. 

Good luck at the tables and best regards,

Kind regards,

Louise”

I strongly believe based on what I have been hearing that bots are rapidly becoming much better and more difficult to detect. Its highly likely I should have been refunded more than I was.

2) Poker bots are difficult to detect 

Developers are working to make them increasingly difficult to detect. This is like an arms race and the security departments of major poker networks are consistently one step behind the developers who are innovating and finding ever more creative ways to get around bans.

3) Poker Bots Harm The Ecosystem 

Unfortunately, when people read an article like mine it makes them less likely to want to play online, and rightfully so. It bugs me that poker scripts and bots are increasingly taking over online poker. Recreational poker players will have little or no interest in playing online poker if this situation continues to worsen.

4) Bots Are Unfair

There is a human element to poker that is both fun and frustrating at times. For example, getting 2 outed three times on the river in large pots is frustrating and can negatively impact your play. Poker bots are not in the least bit thrown off by standard human emotion. This is what makes them difficult to compete against and it is also a big part of the reason it is unfair to have them online.

Poker bots mixed with real people makes their unfair advantage even greater. It is normal to assume some human emotion on the other side of the poker screen, but that is not a fair assumption anymore with all the poker bots out there. This is something to keep in mind the next time you think a reg out there is “steaming”. It might just be a bot :(.

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5) Poker Scripts Are Close To Bots

Call me old school since I first started playing poker over 10 years ago now, but I find these poker scripts like the one ^ basically just one step before a full bot. Table selection is an important part of the game, and this places it entirely in the hands of a computer script. If all that poker is about is who has the fastest script and who has programmed the best bot that is a pretty sad state of affairs for online poker. .

6) Are Poker Bots Theft? 

This is a tough question to answer. When the terms and conditions clearly ban the use of bots it is highly questionable behavior to be using one, I look forward to hearing your comments.

How To Combat Poker Bots

1) Watch For Unusual Non-Human Behavioral Patterns

This is the easiest way to detect a bot rapidly. In the past I found bots were a bit easier to detect than lately. In some cases you could find bots that insta folded when you 3bet back on the flop even if it was just a min 3b. Why? In some cases, poker bots were programmed to bluff or semi-bluff raise and fold regardless of the 3bet back size on the flop.

2) Quality Table Selection

I always emphasize this and have written extensively about poker table selecting in the past. If you aren’t playing at a table with a weaker player these days watch out. Competition is strong and increasingly you are competing against poker bots.

3) Don’t be Arrogant

Poker bots are highly sophisticated and they benefit from the ability to process large volumes of information. Incredibly intelligent people are actively working on iterating and improving poker bots. They benefit from of hundreds of thousands of hands (even millions of hands) of data to analyze and iterate to make the poker bots better. It is natural to assume that bots will eventually become superior players to humans. I would argue that we have now arrived at that point in many games across the internet.

Anyhow, sorry to be the bearer of bad news but it is what it is. For players, it’s good to know what is going on in the industry and keep your head up. This is a depressing post to write, but it speaks to the state of online poker today. I can also tell you the email I received is not the first one of its kind. In the past 6 months I have received a few refunds despite not playing frequently. This speaks to the prevalence of poker bots in todays games. I hope you enjoyed my blog.

All the best out there! Don’t forget to get my book too :), Exploitive No Limit Hold’em.

-ThePokerCapitalist

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