Ever since the invention of poker games, players have been looking for ways to beat the system. So, it’s no surprise that online poker bots have become such a feature of the online casino industry.
Some are being used to test the learning skills of artificial intelligence, while others are used by poker players. In other cases, these bots are just tracking software that helps you keep track of things while you play. And, in many cases, poker bots are actually being used to predict outcomes in certain games.
Since these computer programs act like human players and give them an edge, it’s becoming harder to spot one. So, in this guide, we’ll walk you through how these work, how to spot them, and whether or not they’re useful.
So, how do poker bots work when used online? Basically, these pieces of software use mathematics and player knowledge to beat humans. The bots run in the background or through standalone programs while you’re playing on the download client or instant mode.
Also, it can play the game for you while you watch the session or do something else. Running a bot is reasonably easy if the poker site allows it. However, there’s a fine line that most casinos draw when it comes to your winnings.
Some sites have recently cracked down on bots, like PokerStars, which has seen two high-profile cases in its poker rooms. One investigation turned out to be a human, while another was a group of players who used bots to win $1.5 million.
What Makes Bots Tick?
In the beginning, poker bots were simplistic, and the average player could easily beat one. But since then, the bots have gotten smarter, thanks to progress in artificial intelligence and computing.
Modern programs can now use statistics, and advanced calculations called “solvers” that they remember. These “solvers” are the ultimate tool for players to get ahead, but they are being abused as well.
Since the bots can also remember infinite pre-calculated scenarios, they can produce the right response in different situations. With that kind of knowledge, they’re becoming a vast threat online for casinos specifically.
Once, they were used to “solve” chess, and beat grandmasters at the game. Now, they’re being used to “solve” No-Limit Hold’em and gaining an edge over humans.
While some sites are trying to stop this, it’s becoming increasingly harder to detect bot play and game theory.
AI Poker Bots
Researchers claim that they’re developing new bots that are “better than people” at playing poker. These programs not only use the “optimum” strategy in specific situations and bet hard, but they can bluff.
Lately, the Game Theory Optimum (GTO) strategy has improved significantly, which can look for the best possible players in all scenarios. So, if you can play GTO perfectly, you don’t have to pay attention to other players at all.
However, GTO play is almost impossible for regular humans trying to beat poker, which is why poker bots are winning. They don’t get confused, or experience lapses in memory. As long as your computer has enough processing power and storage space.
Still, the theory isn’t perfect yet, and bots haven’t solved poker, so you have a little time.
How to Beat the Software
One plus side of poker bots is that they’re difficult to develop or find and they are very expensive. Also, most poker sites have already banned bots entirely, though the newer generation might get through.
Spotting poker bots and tracking them through software is getting more challenging, so it’s up to the community to report it. Since the people using more efficient bots are also learning to hide it, though the shared knowledge base is their biggest weakness.
So, we’ve got some tips for spotting the stealthy robots.
5 Signs You’re Up Against A Bot
According to players who have played against the programs, you’ll notice some strange behavior from them. If you suspect you’re up against poker bots, look out for these telling signs:
Every bet and move takes the same amount of time in the game.
Plus, the bet sizes are identical across multiple cash game tables.
Of course, the most obvious is that this player doesn’t chat in the room at all.
Then, they play for “unreasonable amounts of time,” such as six hours.
Lastly, the player is on a variety of tables playing the same way every time.
Once you’ve spotted a bot, you can report them to security and then make a lot of adjustments to throw it off.
Will Poker Change?
With poker bots improving every day, it’s up to poker sites to detect and ban them. Since there are so few in circulation right now, it’s the best fix.
But it will get more problematic in the next few years if artificial intelligence “solves” the game and researchers share the results. Of course, regular human players won’t be able to remember everything, but bots will find a way.