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Poker Bots: The Future of Online Poker is Doomed!

Written by:
Jenny Woo
Published on:
Aug/10/2008
Poker Bots

Online poker sites are doomed by the onset of the so-called "poker bots". Why?

"Because there's no real way to tell a program from a person. Crooks will enter programs -- or poker bots --as people. Human players will consistently lose. Eventually, all but the stupidest humans will just stop playing."

So writes Andrew Smith of the Dallas News.

Supporting his claim that "bots can beat any human" Smith analyzes a poker bot created by the University of Alberta Computer Poker Research Group that beat a few guys from Stoxpoker.com in a series of heads-up matches as the 2008 WSOP.

Yep, win one tournament and that's proof you can beat 'em all, a sarcastic WickedChopsPoker.com suggests.

Then again, poker bots are all too real....and they have already come to torment the world of online poker.

Witness last year when the world's second largest Internet poker room, Full Tilt Poker, was forced to respond to the accusations that online poker bots are playing within their poker rooms.

Several players were issued refunds after it was determined they had become victims of "online poker bot play".

Kelli Smithgall of 4Flush.com:

"The bots reportedly played on Full Tilt at the Texas Hold'em Limit cash tables and possibly, however not confirmed, at some no limit style tables.

"A poker bot is a type of malware, since the bot player is not human, they don't express fear or shame, they also can't recognize a bluff, they play the math, playing correct poker, not emotional poker, which has both it's ups and downs. Humans on the other hand might back off against extremely aggressive players.

"For example, a poker bot will raise any two cards if they think there is even the slightest advantage based on a real player's history.

"Although bots have been a common theme in online gambling and poker playing for several years now, it has been almost impossible to catch them. Like slimy snakes, they seek out unassuming new poker players that are still naive about the online gambling world."

And they don't just play poker either: bots have been used in recent years to traverse the eBay website hunting for bargains and are known to for harvesting email addresses from contact forms and spamming said email addresses with messages that read: "Hello my dear and new freind !!!!! It's Natalia" (Russian brides)" as an example.

But not all bots are malevolent.

The Google Bot is a "good bot" that scans websites like Gambling911.com for content than lists relevant news stories to be part of the Google listings.

As for Andrew Smith's conclusion, Dr. Darse Billings, who started the research into poker AI (Artificial Intelligence) as part of the University of Alberta Computer Poker Research Group, commented that it is "not a catastrophe for online poker".

"First, Ian's program only plays heads-up Limit Hold'em, which is not a popular variant. Modern programs are not strong at No Limit or multi-player games.

"Secondly, it is not difficult to identify a known program. If you use the Fritz chess program to play chess on an online server, it will be obvious to everyone. The same applies for poker. Since using programs is against the poker site's terms of use, if you do it you will have your account closed permanently.

"I started the research into poker AI in 1992, and we have had a very large team of excellent researchers working on the problem for many years. We have made a lot of progress over the past 16 years, but i can assure you, the sky is not falling."

So there....the sky is not falling.

Not until the day that bots start writing for websites like Gambling911.com. Then we know it's the end of the world.

This is R2 Woo reporting...

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