back to article Robot wars break out on poker sites

The world's two largest poker sites, PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker, are battling to keep poker bots off their sites. In October, Full Tilt removed an unstated number of players, confiscated the funds in their accounts, and pledged to redistribute this money to players who'd lost to the bots. PokerStars took similar action …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Steve 6

    Welcome to Gamling...

    Many folks had their funds confiscated without warning - OK that's not nice, but would one really expect the site to give prior warning such that the bot players can pocket their takings before being booted off?


    These bot players took their chance and knowingly risked all (with their own version of "stealing") by cheating the T&Cs. They were unfortunate enough to be caught before running, hence they lost out...... and they were on a gambling site....

    Oh the irony!

  2. Anonymous Coward

    Abbott & Costello...

    ... meet the Turing Test

  3. Arkasha

    A poker bot doesn't need to win consistently

    ... it only needs to break even over a period of time. Rake-back on some of these sights can be worth upwards of $80k. Run a few bots on a few different sites and watch the rake-back roll in.

    1. damian Kelly

      Absolutely correct

      The attraction for online poker is that, compared to other gambling, is that the house takes a fixed rate. This means if you are good you can walk away with more than you started.

      Because the site makes its money on the volume of money moved its own players only need to break even or maybe suffer a small loss and the site will still profit overall.

      What people confuse with bots are the 100s of people I know who make a little here and a little there form these sites. I never play anything higher than $5/$10 but over the years have made a few thousands on these sites as a little hobby in the evening. Of course I have a shit list of avoid at all costs players (who wants to play with those better than oneself?) but every now and again you get accused of being a bot........

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        I am a conservative player, reasonably so in a live game, but insanely so in an online game. I tend to make money when i play, by being fairly mechanical and pretty much only playing hands i am sure I will win.

        This only works up to a certain level, but the casual online player doesn't really pay attention to it. This could easily be mistaken for bot behaviour, as over time I make money, and can play for long periods, because I'm not always paying full attention to the game until i get a hand.

  4. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    "I will be back"

    I hope there shall be a book about those algorithms. And no patents! (I wish)

  5. Ross 7


    Making a single bot play well do better than break even over time is pretty challenging. However, running a few dozen bots and ensuring they are sharing tables with other bots on your network, sharing hand info makes it trivial.

    I'm not sure why the bot runners are complaining - if I were to do this kind of thing you can bet your bottom dollar I'd be regularly cashing out! If they failed to do so, that's their own fault. The risks were obvious.

    There's one point that's not covered in the article, likely because it's not cut and dried - non-automated bots. That is to say a piece of software that you advise of the hand/betting info and it advises on the best move which you then take. With a decent mathmatical model you could do well out of it, but would it be cheating?

    1. Paul 172


      lol Ross you beat me to it :) ave a virtual beer :)

    2. Pete 2 Silver badge

      As a non-player ...

      > With a decent mathmatical model you could do well out of it, but would it be cheating?

      I can't see that it's cheating any more than memorising the odds of various combinations is cheating - doesn't that give an "unfair" advantage to people with good memories?

      However, I also can't see any problem with insider trading - not that I'm into gambling on stock markets, either. Why on earth would you buy (or sell) a stock unless you had information about its prospects?

      1. alwarming
        Paris Hilton

        Re: As a non-player.

        Well said.....

        [for a non-player of poker, or stocks].

        Paris, coz she prefers inside'r swapping over trading.

      2. damian Kelly

        Certainly not!

        Most players have a crib sheet.......

        From my the stickies on the side of my monitor I see pocket aces win 1/3 all the way to the river (in the absence of more information) and a host of other snippets.

        But you need to know how to use these odds. A high pair vs KT suited for example? A suited on flop? How do the hand odds compare with the pot odds. Are you seated in a strong position or a weak position.

        So for the pocket ace question play hard and early KT suited stick around when pot odds make betting a good value proposition etc etc

  6. Paul 172

    Apart from Bloch and co...

    ...who can get an edge by card counting (not applicable in computer simulations)... where's the edge to creating a bot ?

    find it funny that people believe there is such a great element of skill involved in poker when it is mostly luck (especially on a computer when you're not able to read other players' reactions).

    maybe they play off against people by getting on the same table like,


    ...with three hands to choose from, victim could get creamed, over time.


    1. John G Imrie Silver badge

      BOT - BOT - BOT - VICTIM

      Isn't that every strip poker computer game ever written :-)

    2. Velv Silver badge

      Where's the edge ?

      While the cards dealt may be luck, each hand has a mathematically measurable set of odds, therefore by betting appropriately on those odds, a profit can be made.

      It might be skill for a human to work the odds in their head, but computers as we all know, are particularly adept at working out complex mathematical equations.

      There is more "skill" at real tables by reading the opponents, but given the figure quoted here of $80,000 seized from one player, I'd happily have that sort of luck/skill edge on my side!

      However, I enjoy playing the game, so play at the "play money" tables, therefore no bots for me.

  7. Rogerborg

    Poker Rule 1: There's a bot at every table

    Poker Rule 2: If you don't know who the bot is... it's you.

  8. JaitcH

    The Mafia are virgin angels compared to this mob

    I seem to remember reading a story about one of these gambling sites was sold and the former owner had a back door to rip off players.

    The guys really do make casinos look like heaven and the Mafia like virgin angels.

    1. MMcA

      Google "Absolute Poker fraud"

      At least Stars and FT are doing something. None of the other sites do.

  9. Eduard Coli


    Online gambling is supposed to be illegal in the US.

    Though I suppose they have an app for that too.

  10. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

    Surely you mean "Jokerstars..." or "Riverstars..."

    I've been playing poker for about 10 years in one form or another and never have I seen such implausable "outs" and hands made on such a regular basis on this site. I know there will be those that say that you see more bad beats because you play faster, but it has gotten to a point where there is a large groundswell of opinion of foul play backed up by some pretty startling statistics, despite their "team Pokerstars" players trying to dispell any such like based on their supposed mastery of the game.

    Its got to the point now where in my experience it's no use trying to play seriously on this site as the odds just don't stack up.

  11. Steve Roper

    Seems Lucas predicted such attitudes to bots 33 years ago

    BARKEEP: "Hey! We don't serve their kind in here."

    LUKE: "What?"

    BARKEEP: "Your 'droids. We don't want them here, they'll have to wait outside."

    LUKE: "Why don't you wait out by the speeder, we don't want any trouble."

    C3PO: "I heartily agree with you, sir."

    1. Wize

      *waves hand across the screen*

      These are not the bots you are looking for.

  12. Andy 40

    Uninformed comments...

    Why to people feel the need to post inane comments about something they know nothing about?

    To answer some of the worst offenders:

    @Eduard Coli: Online poker is not illegal in the US except for a couple of states (eg. Washington). What is illegal is for US banks to allow their customers to transfer money to these sites. There are of course ways round this.

    @Paul172: Just plain wrong, and shows you don't understand the game, I could show you stats for players who have played over 1 million hands (a sample size big enough to pretty much eliminate 'luck') and are huge winners. I myself am a significant winner.

    The fact is bots are a relatively minor problem, they certainly don't stop a decent player winning.

  13. Apocalypse Later

    Can you spot the bots...

    ...posting in this forum?

  14. alex dekker 1


    Preventing bots playing games for money is like trying prevent someone from cracking a DRM scheme. Gambling sites should acknowledge this and allow bots to play, so long as the other players are informed.

  15. MMcA

    I spent three months researching bots for a well-known poker magazine...

    They wouldn't run the story. Bad for the advertisers.

    Then the Absolute Poker scandal broke...

  16. Winkypop Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Online poker gambling

    Either way, you're either a bot or a mug.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Easy solution

    Get your fat lazy a**es off the couch and go to a casino? What's this obsession with doing everything online? It makes sense to do something online when it's something that you don't enjoy and want to spend the least time possible doing, but chatting with friends, playing poker...? We really are going to end up like those humans in Wall-E.

    1. alwarming
      Paris Hilton

      cheers to that... AC

      In real casino's, casino's aren't the only ones screwing...

      Paris, coz unlike bet money, she can't be unscrewed.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Not always great

      To be honest I rather enjoy poker online, in the places where you can chat that is.

      My real casino experiences have been far less fun. Mostly because the people are in it for hte cash

  18. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    PokI? Bleh.

    "However, if there was a maximum amount that any one person was allowed to win against it, the program would certainly be good enough to net an overall profit against the entire field of opponents."

    Oh so if a bot can fleece the fish, but have immunity against the poker sharks they can make money? Well, fancy that. Apparently they want their bot to be "too big to fail." As a rank amateur I think I could win in these conditions too.

  19. Anonymous Coward

    Liquor in the front...

    ...Poker in the rear.

  20. BitBotherer
    Thumb Down

    Online poker

    I have been playing poker with humans for twenty years, a couple of years ago I played online for two months or so, just to try it.

    Apart from the fact that you really need to look into the eyes of your opponents there was something that just didn't feel right about the way a lot of games turned out, there was just too much scope for fraud, I used to imagine an admin sitting in front of a monitor turning a dial like an old fashioned volume knob tweaking the housebots % depending on who was playing and the size of the pots, extracting as much as possible without anyone noticing.

    So I stopped playing.

    It's more akin to putting money in a 'one armed bandit' than poker.

  21. Arnie
    Thumb Down

    Got a refund from FT last week

    Poker sites are sketchy as fuck. If you've played online for a while you'll know all about boom and doom switches. Well how about this. Been playing Full Tilts 6MAX Super Turbo's for about 6months and running below breakeven. Only playing the $2 games with a roll of about $300. ST's are pure push/fold based on ICM (Independent chip model) games. Simple. Play good ICM win money in the long run. Last week got a email from FT saying that my account would be refunded because of collusion. It was the grand sum of $7. Since the refund I've barely not cashed a game. Literally. Since last week I've run up winnings of around $100. No mean feat playing $2 games I can tell you. I am on a serious +EV streak. Wonder why?

  22. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

    I will put my cards on the table

    and openly admit that I do not play poker, either face-to-face or on-line, but it seems to me that in order for some people to keep winning, and for the house to take it's cut, it is obvious that someone has to keep loosing, and loosing a lot.

    To me, this indicates that there is a significant group of mugs, self-renewing as each wave loose all their money, and replaced by others suckered in by the advertising that is EVERYWHERE it seems.

    So there are people who keep playing because they are better than the newbies, and there are people who run bots that can do the same. Sounds like either of these two groups have nothing to complain about, as they will probably break even, otherwise they would stop.

    So how many here admit that they've regularly lost money? I'm sure that if they do it will have been as an 'experiment' or 'just to try it out', not admitting that they're the mugs.

    I think that the whole industry is unethical, and should contain greater safeguards for the uninformed. But the late night TV interactive game shows are allowed, where the odds are so obscured that you can't tell what the payback is, so I can't see on-line poker being stopped. I just feel sorry for the victims.

  23. Nick Ryan Silver badge

    Not real rew news

    Not real new news to me... having been dealing with these companies and professional poker players and clubs for the last 5-6 years, it's been known about for ages.

    Most serious players haven't touched the online games for years because they know that they're full of bots. The bots on their own are "skilled" players, however when you have multiple bots (from the same farm) on a table the odds are much more stacked in their favour as they share information and can play off each other.

  24. Eponymous Cowherd
    Thumb Up

    Is inline poker infested with bots?

    Do bears shit in the woods?

This topic is closed for new posts.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019