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Online Poker Bots Becoming Problematic?

CmdrTaco posted more than 9 years ago | from the robo-flushed dept.

The Almighty Buck 613

scumbucket writes "MSNBC has a story about how poker bots have started to appear on internet gambling sites and the implications. It also talks about how a 'master level' poker-playing bot already exists. Could this proliferation of poker-playing bots undermine the almost $1 billion online gambling industry?"

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not quite so hard... (1, Insightful)

grub (11606) | more than 9 years ago | (#10309695)


From the article: argue the complexities of the game and the changing strategies ensure that creation of a program that can "read" opponents' cards using screen scanning techniques and respond in real time is years away at best.

Why would the software have to scan the screen? The card image would be a unique filename, right? ie: "jack_spades.jpg" or something less easy to recognize but just as unique. That doesn't require funky programming and OCR.

Re:not quite so hard... (3, Insightful)

the unbeliever (201915) | more than 9 years ago | (#10309746)

I'm relatively sure that all of the online gambling sites use either Flash or Java applets to display cards and such. I wouldn't think they'd make it so easy as to give easy access to card names.

Re:not quite so hard... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10309774)


I'm the head webmaster and programmer for a popular casino based in the Cayman Islands (although I reside in the US). We use VBScript for all our programming and backend work. We're smart and renamed the cards, so the "ace of spades" is really "5_hearts.jpg"

No one will figure that out.

Re:not quite so hard... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10309861)

So your casino supports IE only? No Firefox? And you call yourself a Geek?

Re:not quite so hard... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10309977)

So what happens when somebody figures out what you've renamed the cards to? That's right, things fall apart. Yeah, that sounds like a VBScript programmer's solution.

Re:not quite so hard... (5, Informative)

strictfoo (805322) | more than 9 years ago | (#10309751)

I've used the program. It's available at pretty much every torrent site. It's not so much a bot as something that tells you the odds of what you have a chance at getting versus what it thinks the other players might have. It then recommends what your next step should be.

It's not like this thing wins games for you. It basically does what the good poker player can do, look at their cards, look at the cards on the table, and then compute odds.

It's less useful than the article makes it sound.

Re:not quite so hard... (1)

Troed (102527) | more than 9 years ago | (#10309906)

While I haven't tried one of those programs, I do play poker online. I guess I'm better than average.

These "bots" doesn't help at all in deciding whether someone is bluffing, and, poker online is a lot about bluffing. (More so in Hold'em vs Omaha, but anyway)

Re:not quite so hard... (2, Insightful)

strictfoo (805322) | more than 9 years ago | (#10309946)

Exactly right. They may give an advantage to a beginning player over other beginners, as they'll advise players not to do really stupid things, but they in no way elevate a player past an average poker player.

Re:not quite so hard... (2, Funny)

funkdid (780888) | more than 9 years ago | (#10309768)

"sophisticated card-playing robots"

It seems that they are obviosly talking about the two legged, two armed kind. Hahaha, that is priceless to think that our there in someone's basement is a "sophisticated robot" capable of playing online poker. I think I'm going to start building one in my garage.

Re:not quite so hard... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10309785)


I think grub is really a first post bot

Re:not quite so hard... (1)

grub (11606) | more than 9 years ago | (#10309802)


My programmer and Garcia's are having a slashdot-version of Core Wars.

Re:not quite so hard... (1)

xstonedogx (814876) | more than 9 years ago | (#10309824)

Why would the software have to scan the screen? The card image would be a unique filename, right?

Not necessarily. It might reside on their servers as jack_spades.jpg, but what you get might be http://somegamblingsite.com/?player=23592361&card= card1 which returns a file card1.jpg which is a link to jack_spades.jpg.

Re:not quite so hard... (3, Insightful)

MyDixieWrecked (548719) | more than 9 years ago | (#10309839)

Well, many of these games are java based and require screen reading and physical clicking (or programmatic mouse clicking) to do what needs to be done.

I don't see why they make it sound so hard to code something like this. There are books out there that teach you strategy for poker and what to do based on when other things happen. If you could turn that into a programmatic routine, it shouldn't be hard to have a bot that wins more often than not.

Especially with online blackjack. Bots could make a killing on that. Between card counting and the what-do-I-do-when rules.

Good? (2, Interesting)

skrysakj (32108) | more than 9 years ago | (#10309696)

Casinos are out to make a buck, with little regard for the welfare of future of the players. They don't care if an addict comes in with all of his life savings, and blows it all in one sitting.
A business that has millions, but really gives you nothing for your money in return, deserves a good stinging pinch like this.

Poker won't be the only one to have bots. Blackjack can be easily played via pre-defined rules. In fact, it's a lot easier to make a bot for Blackjack than for poker, since Poker is more affected by bluffing, and human interaction. That's why most poker players wear sunglasses, and show little emotion. Hence the phrase "poker face".

I guess in summary: "Online poker bots becoming problematic?"

Sure, but problematic for whom? The casinos are notorious for putting a winning blackjack player on a blacklist, and not letting them in. Why? Did they cheat? No, they just won, and casinos hate to lose money.

Bots are problematic for casinos, but is that something to cry about?

Of course, if you don't like casinos, don't go to them. They only exist
to fulfill a need/desire that many people have, and unless that goes away, they'll continue to exist.

Re:Good? (4, Informative)

jumpingfred (244629) | more than 9 years ago | (#10309743)

Well black jack is different than poker. In poker you are not taking the casino's money you are taking the other players money. It is a problem for the online casinos only if nobody plays because it is to hard.

Re:Good? (2, Insightful)

skrysakj (32108) | more than 9 years ago | (#10309830)

Yes but the house makes money by taking a cut of every pot. Casinos exist to make money, and they have poker tables for a reason: to make money.

Re:Good? (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 9 years ago | (#10309747)

> Casinos are out to make a buck, with little regard for the welfare of future of
> the players. They don't care if an addict comes in with all of his life
> savings, and blows it all in one sitting.

And I don't care either. It's a free country (where applicable). I don't see gambling as something to be worried about. It's neither immoral nor illegal, and these sort of bots are also morally neutral, like sniper software in eBay.

Re:Good? (1)

skrysakj (32108) | more than 9 years ago | (#10309799)

To quote the rest of my comment:
"Of course, if you don't like casinos, don't go to them. They only exist
to fulfill a need/desire that many people have, and unless that goes away, they'll continue to exist."

Re:Good? (1)

Hassman (320786) | more than 9 years ago | (#10309814)

How are bots morally neutral? If I suck at playing poker and write a bot to do it for me, I am essentially cheating.

Re:Good? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10309925)

You won't be cheating if you use a bot that you wrote. If you "suck at playing poker", then the odds of you writing a poker bot that plays better than you is not very good is it?

Re:Good? (4, Insightful)

over_exposed (623791) | more than 9 years ago | (#10309951)

If you suck at playing poker and write a bot to do it for you, your bot will likely suck as badly as you do...

Re:Good? (5, Interesting)

Hassman (320786) | more than 9 years ago | (#10309756)

Poker bots are problematic for other players, not he casino. You don't play against the house when you play poker, you play against other players. The house then take a 'rake' of the pot, that is a % of the pot.

So, yes bots are problematic in poker because if I play, I want to play against another human, not some computer simulation that can calculate the odds down to the decimal. Granted some humans exist like that, but not many.

Re:Good? (0)

Fox_Alan (780671) | more than 9 years ago | (#10309844)

Derren Brown is a genius!

Re:Good? (1)

whovian (107062) | more than 9 years ago | (#10309822)

Casinos are out to make a buck, with little regard for the welfare of future of the players. They don't care if an addict comes in with all of his life savings, and blows it all in one sitting.

Not unlike sweepstakes, multi-state lotteries, the stock market, etc.

A business that has millions, but really gives you nothing for your money in return, deserves a good stinging pinch like this.

some state-specific lotteries claim that their profits pay toward education costs, so that would be a benefit. And it's easy to let other people playing the lottery help pay for your child's education.

Re:Good? (5, Insightful)

Shihar (153932) | more than 9 years ago | (#10309832)

First of, you DO get something when you gamble. You get the thrill of gambling. Anyone who walks into a Casino knows that chances are they are going to walk out with less money then they started. It is the fact that you might beat the odds and the thrill that brings that adds value. Saying that they are not giving you anything in return is like saying TV doesn't give you anything in return... sure it does. It gives you entertainment.

As to bots, they are not going to cause a Casino to loose money in any other way in that they might simply stop allowing certain games to be played online. If the game is a game where a strong pattern rec software can 'beat the odds' then they will simply get rid of the game, have their own bots play, or adjust winnings such that they still win in terms of dollar amount in the end. The only people who are going to come out loosers are people who who want to play online without a bot.

Re:Good? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10309981)

A fine, coherent post that shows intelligence and consideration.

And you had to go spell "lose" wrong. Twice.

lose/win
loose/tight

Re:Good? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10309927)

"Bots are problematic for casinos, but is that something to cry about?"

RTFA. Or, failing that, learn how casino gambling works.

In poker, it's not possible to beat the house. In fact, the house gets a fixed take (called the vig or the rake) on all pots played. Unlike most other games (e.g. blackjack, craps, etc.), there's never any house money in play on a poker table--it's IMPOSSIBLE for the house to lose so much as a dollar. You make your money off OTHER PLAYERS.

I assure you that having a bot join a game doesn't hurt the house, at least not in the short term.

The potential problem being cited you have missed entirely--whether online bots are so smart that they will quickly fleece and leave for dead unskilled players. If so, that will cut down on the number of gamblers. No one will be taking the hosue to the cleaners--there will simply be less play, lower rakes, and some casinos going out of business.

So, yes, bad for casinos, but only indirectly--the problem is bots are (or might one day be--I'm with the skeptics on this one) bad for PLAYERS.

Re:Good? (2, Interesting)

zanderredux (564003) | more than 9 years ago | (#10309938)

Of course, if you don't like casinos, don't go to them. They only exist to fulfill a need/desire that many people have, and unless that goes away, they'll continue to exist.

Yeah. Unfortunately, this explanation also fits Microsoft. The lusers (in all levels, from home user to PHBs) will continue to drive their profits and existance, not technical merit, innovation or quality.

I just wonder whether /.ers will ever get this.

Re:Good? (1)

gorbachev (512743) | more than 9 years ago | (#10309939)

In BlackJack you always play against the bank (i.e. the casino). In Poker you always play against other players, and the house (i.e. the casino) gets a cut of every pot.

A BlackJack bot, therefore, would be really, really bad for the casinos, but a poker bot would really hurt the other players the most, and the casino only if the bots manage to drive the human players away from the casino.

Re:Good? (1)

jav1231 (539129) | more than 9 years ago | (#10309994)

Well, consider the fact that a man can gain the memory skills to win at Blackjack and be asked to leave a casino and therein lies a problem. I could understand the computer being an issue, though. I mean poker is born out of mathematical probability. Computers can handle that easily.

Master level poker-playing bot (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10309699)

'master level' poker-playing bot

Stop calling me a bot.

Re:Master level poker-playing bot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10309965)

Poker 'bots' raking online pots, in Japan

Undermine the gambling industry? (0)

PhysicsGenius (565228) | more than 9 years ago | (#10309712)

I don't see how. They adjust the payoff so that even with perfect play the house comes out ahead. They'd have to or they'd lose money on average. Bots might cause a reduction in profits, though.

Re:Undermine the gambling industry? (4, Insightful)

entrager (567758) | more than 9 years ago | (#10309745)

Poker is played against other players, not the house. The house makes money by taking a cut of every pot. Poker bots could undermine the industry by scaring off human players that can't play well against a bot. This will reduce the amount of pots that are being played, thus reducing the house cut.

Re:Undermine the gambling industry? (1)

oGMo (379) | more than 9 years ago | (#10309837)

So the industry won't go away, it'll just become a competition for the one who can code the best bot. The house still wins, especially as more games are played. I don't see the problem. :)

Re:Undermine the gambling industry? (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 9 years ago | (#10310008)

people who understand that possiblity would already stay away.

but still, it's not a bigger lose if they lose to guys running bots than to guys that can just make those calculations in their heads.

can't say that I care much if they just move to playing blackjack or whatever(in all of these games if you play long enough against the house or against players of equal quality you all end just loosing all the money to the house in the end anyways).

a normal gambler will just play all the money he seemed fit to put into gambling use anyways(a problematic gambler though has a reality distortion field that somehow adjusts him to believe that the more he plays the more his going to win).

Re:Undermine the gambling industry? (2, Informative)

agentkhaki (92172) | more than 9 years ago | (#10309842)

I'd say your reply is slightly uninformed. Casinos don't adjust the payoff of any given game. Rather, they play the odds.

Look at it this way -- on any given night, in any given casino, there might be one or two players who play extremely well, several more who are pretty good, and literally hundreds who play like crap. The casinos make most of their money on that last group, and dole out a relatively small sum (compared to what they're taking in) to the truely gifted players.

The fact of the matter is, the odds aren't in your (the proverbial your) favor. Odds are, you (proverbial) play like crap, or in a game where there is a human element (poker), the dealer plays better than you do. If you happen to get lucky, or happen to be good, well, there are a hundred other people who aren't, and who don't.

Re:Undermine the gambling industry? (1)

Coryoth (254751) | more than 9 years ago | (#10309878)

I don't see how. They adjust the payoff so that even with perfect play the house comes out ahead. They'd have to or they'd lose money on average. Bots might cause a reduction in profits, though.

Quite correct. There is a significant difference between poker, as played by a group of people (and, for instacne at poker tournaments) and poker as played against the casino. It doesn't take very much skill at statistics to quickly see you'll lose against the house in casino poker.

I think any of these sorts of programs are only useful for fleecing other people playing online with you, you won't beat the house (not on average anyway). I would guess you could win good money with this sort of thing, but it won't really pout too much of a dent in casino profits.

Equally, this isn't going to be cheating in other online games - it won't be obvious to other players. A person using such a system will only win on average, which is what the house does all the time, and the people that gamble at these places don't seem to mind or notice that. Given that such "cheating" will be largely undetected by other players, it isn't going to discourage people from playing, and so, once again, the casinos aren't really going to care.

I don't see this as a problem for the casino industry. At worst their margins might get a touch slimmer if everyone started using such things, but if you've seen casino margins (I have) you'll know they really aren't going to be all that disturbed.

Jedidiah.

If they weren't before.... (1)

Chembryl (596546) | more than 9 years ago | (#10309713)

Thats a very good idea. *begins coding*

Re:If they weren't before.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10309961)

You took the words right out of my mouth! I might need to check out some online casinos and see how they operate so I can code my bot!

Fizzirst pizzoist? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10309715)



I claim this FP for Spain!

I for one.. (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10309718)

Welcome our new metallic gambling over lords.

I'm waiting for Robot Poker on ESPN (3, Insightful)

theluckyleper (758120) | more than 9 years ago | (#10309722)

I don't see what's wrong with it... if I could play against a poker-playing robot at a real casino, I would! People who write smart bots deserve the money, as far as I'm concerned.

Re:I'm waiting for Robot Poker on ESPN (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10309852)

That's not much different than saying that people who can build robots that can run faster than humans should be able to enter them races.

But can they beat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10309728)

Ben Affleck?

I didn't think so

Re:But can they beat (2, Funny)

pete-classic (75983) | more than 9 years ago | (#10309757)

No, but they can deliver more life-like performances.

-Peter

PS: I say this in spite of the fact that "Chasing Amy" is one of my top 5 favorite movies.

-P

Re:But can they beat (1, Offtopic)

justkarl (775856) | more than 9 years ago | (#10309866)

Hey now, Ben Affleck was the bomb in Phantoms! Snootchie Bootchies!

Original twoplustwo article (Loic Dachary) (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10309732)

Here is the original post I sent on twoplustwo, as quoted at
the end of the news. Despite the desperate tone of the article,
I'm not depressed (;-) and I'd be interested to see bots fighting
on the poker server (Free Software) I work on at http://gna.org/projects/underware/.

---
Disclaimer: I do not favor bots, I do not develop bots, I won't
be happy if there are more bots than humans in online poker rooms.

From a technical point of view, no poker client will ever be able to
detect a bot that analyzes the window layout (to find cards, bet
amounts, player names etc). It could attempt this detection when the
bot runs on the same machine although it is likely to require frequent
updates (think anti-virus software). However, if the bot runs on
another machine and watches the display remotely, it is just
impossible (VNC is a example software that watches a display from a
remote machine).

From a legal point of view, international and national laws in most
countries (+200 of them, including US and all Europe) strongly
protects interoperability between programs. It means that the author
of a program whose sole purpose is to encode/decode the protocols or
file formats used by another program can never be sued on this basis.

Online poker rooms can forbid the use of any computerized assistance
(except the mouse, the screen and the operating system ;-) in the
terms and conditions that each player accepts when registering. A
contract is a powerful tool to attempt to force people to forfeit
rights that cannot be taken from them. Although the poker room may win
a lawsuit against a player using a bot that plays on his behalf, there
are more cases where they would lose.

For instance, if my only machine is running GNU/Linux, the court may
rule that I'm entitled to use my own client because there does not
exist a client except for Windows. Ruling otherwise would mean that
the poker room can force me to become a Microsoft customer. A real
world poker room can force you to wear a tie but cannot force you to
wear a tie of a given brand. This can have precedence over contract
terms and conditions. Furthermore, the features provided by my client
software (such as automated play or statistics gathering) cannot be
restricted by contract. No matter what is written, no third party can
legitimately control or restrict the software you run on your own
machine. If that was the case, no doubt a large software publisher
would state in its operating system license contract that all software
running on top of it must be purchased from them.

Summary:

. Bots can't be detected.

. Bots can't be outlawed.

. Poker room terms and conditions are inefficient to forbid bot
usage.

Will there ever be a widely spread bot able to beat most players
currently playing in online poker rooms ? I think so. It may already
exist but is kept secret. It's only a matter of time before a talented
poker player who also happens to be a good developer decides she or he
wants to be remembered as the author of the first bot that changed
online poker forever.
~

Re:Original twoplustwo article (Loic Dachary) (1)

Dr. Smeegee (41653) | more than 9 years ago | (#10309780)

Oooh! Oooh! Do one about ai, crupto, horses, socket wrenches and black electrical tape next!

Perl in the wrong hands, I tell you what...

Other legal issue (1)

Facekhan (445017) | more than 9 years ago | (#10309889)

Since online gambling is more or less illegal in the United States, any contract you enter with the casino could be void since it is against public policy, depending on what state you are in and where the actual casino is located. I think some vegas/AC casinos have bribed their way to the rights of being the only online casinos allowed.

Re:Original twoplustwo article (Loic Dachary) (1)

Lejade (31993) | more than 9 years ago | (#10309926)

I work with Loic, on the Free Software based, virtual poker club [freshmeat.net] we [mekensleep.com] are developing. The point is we are not scared of bots, on the contrary: we think bots will stay pretty much ineffective for a long time to come. But if you've made one and want to prove us wrong, you're welcome to try on our test server.

I'll be glad to take your chips. In person! ;)

You never heard of Nintendo? (1)

Craevenwulfe (611318) | more than 9 years ago | (#10310007)

If that was the case, no doubt a large software publisher would state in its operating system license contract that all software running on top of it must be purchased from them. Software manufacturers just aren't that stupid.

"I equate gambling... (3, Funny)

Dr. Smeegee (41653) | more than 9 years ago | (#10309734)

...with being an ass-hole."

-- Henry Rollins

I don't know about the rest of you, but I have little sympathy for the house when someone figures out a way to beat them.

Re:"I equate gambling... (5, Interesting)

Lord_Slepnir (585350) | more than 9 years ago | (#10309804)

Except that in this case, it's not the house that's losing, it's the other players.

Online poker works by taking in a 'rake' from each pot, usually around 10% or so. Therefore if a pokerbot can clean out the 9 other people at the table, the casino will still earn the same profit as if those 9 people had just passed around money amoung themselves.

Re:"I equate gambling... (1)

tmcmahon (751973) | more than 9 years ago | (#10309880)

Poker is a zero sum game, these bots are not beating the house they are beating the average player. The house gets a fee up front for you to sit down and play. So maybe you should extend your lack of sympathy to the players too.

cheaters! (4, Funny)

theMerovingian (722983) | more than 9 years ago | (#10309740)


I wouldn't be surprised at this at all - I've even heard rumors of people playing online chess while using Chessmaster to tell them their moves.

It was, um, a friend of mine...

Maple Leaf Forever! (2, Informative)

rueger (210566) | more than 9 years ago | (#10309750)

"The University of Alberta's Computer Poker Research Group [ualberta.ca] has developed an artificially intelligent (poker playing) automaton known as "Vex Bot," "

At last! We Canadians have a piece of technology that can make us as proud as the mighty Canadarm [space.gc.ca] !

Re:Maple Leaf Forever! (3, Interesting)

Flyboy Connor (741764) | more than 9 years ago | (#10309905)

The University of Alberta does a lot of work on poker programs. One of their aims is to create a program that can compete in the World Series of Poker. However, poker is such a complex game (for computers, that is) that at the moment the research group would be satisfied if their program would survive the first round. You see, poker is more about beating another person, than about calculations. The best poker players win because they can entice their opponents to make mistakes. This is psychology, not math. Computers are notoriously bad at psychology.

So, Like, Huh? (1)

blooba (792259) | more than 9 years ago | (#10309752)

are they using bots or not? the article is inconclusive. and very sparse on the facts.

Duh? (2, Insightful)

EnronHaliburton2004 (815366) | more than 9 years ago | (#10309753)

When I was 8 years old I played with an AI program called Eliza on a teletype machine. My 8 year old friend and I were convinced for about 30 minutes that this was a real person on the other side. It's been a long time since those days, adn AI programs have only gotten more convincing. I've seen bots do pretty well in Counter Strike, to the point where several players thought that the Bots were real people. In poker, you are talking about alot of money. Money is motivation to create a poker AI. Online poker is mostly about statistics anyways, and a computer is great at figuring out odds.

Re:Duh? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10309948)

"My 8 year old friend and I were convinced for about 30 minutes that this was a real person on the other side."

dumbass. really. i was also probably around 8 when i saw eliza, took me oh about 2 seconds to realize it was a AI parser.

oh, and your nickname sucks. enron no longer exists. did you know that? or are you just parroting what your liberal masters have brainwashed you with? enron started their shenanigans under CLINTON, they were brought down under BUSH. now what does that tell you?

and name me one other company that does what haliburton does? you cant? oh, thats cause haliburton is the only company on the planet that does what they do. Who do you propose for rebuilding international oil infrastructure? hippies? naw, they're always out protesting something instead of making the world a better place.

Re:Duh? (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 9 years ago | (#10309974)

I've seen bots do pretty well in Counter Strike, to the point where several players thought that the Bots were real people.

Ahh but to the unknowing yes. I can spot a bot in any situation by using a very simple ruleset.

Bot's will produce predictable behaivoir. UT2003, Quake, CS all with their best bot's set on the hardest settings can easily be beaten the second you find their prediction point.

you can try to reduce the predictability by adding some randomization, but that only delay's the detection and ability to beat it.

it's about creating a game in the game. Look for pattern's look for things that seem to always happen. THEN you will detect and defeat the bot.

I pissed off a large group of friends in a Quake 3 game at a lanparty about 2 years ago.. I kept running into a certian corridor and doing the exact same thing. I discovered that one of the "buddies" a party member brought along was running a bot, by doing this and noting that only one player was doing the exact same thing every time.

needless to say , he and his machine found themselves leaving our event in a hurry.... nothing like a large Q3 clan getting pissed and being withing physical reach of you.

It's all fun and games... (3, Funny)

ImTwoSlick (723185) | more than 9 years ago | (#10309758)

until someone accidentally uses an aimbot, and blows a guy's head off.

Why a concern? (2, Interesting)

MonsterChicharo (568866) | more than 9 years ago | (#10309759)

Why should it really be a concern? I mean, poker companies will still be making money, and as long as nobody's cheating, what gives if the next person is a human or a bot?

Machines are no intellectual match for humans (at least for now). At least not for most humans. Given the fact that poker is a game of chance (unlike say chess, in which randomness has no play), a bot can only be as good as the expert that has created it.

People will just throw their money away on (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10309762)

something else, booze, drugs, luxuries they don't need, so who cares if the "online" gambling industry goes under? Not I.

Re:People will just throw their money away on (1)

KingAdrock (115014) | more than 9 years ago | (#10309811)

I throw my money away on all of those things. My life is all the happier because of it.

I'd like to raise this issue... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10309765)

Does a full house of poker-bots beat a pair?
And when Queen Elizabeth goes to the toilet, is there a Royal Flush?

Is This So Wrong? (4, Insightful)

jchawk (127686) | more than 9 years ago | (#10309773)

At first I was thinking that maybe this isn't fair to the other players... But then again if you think about it... As it stands poker is still a game of chance... A bot can only play optimum hands based upon the cards it sees and what it knows is still in the deck... This really isn't any different then a human player. If bots exist that are beating inexperienced players, how is this different from the poker pro who logs 10 hours of online poker a day?

When you break it down it still takes a skillful poker player to engineer a bot that can perform at a winning level...

Also the bots are betting someones money...

There is an inherent risk in online poker that the player at the other end of the connection has tools that he is using to gain a competative advantage, such as tools for counting cards, figuring odds and so on...

If you're looking for real human vs human action without worrying about cheat tools find a game in your neighborhood and go play there. Even though gambling isn't legal in all 50 states you can always find somewhere to play if you look hard enough.

Re:Is This So Wrong? (1)

gowen (141411) | more than 9 years ago | (#10309827)

There is an inherent risk in online poker that the player at the other end of the connection has tools that he is using to gain a competative advantage, such as tools for counting cards
Is online poker set up in such a way that card counting can actually work? Card counting works because casinos use multiple decks to eliminate the need for time-wasting shuffling.

Surely, if the whole game exists only on computers, the virtual decks get "reshuffled" every hand.

Gambling In General (1)

artlu (265391) | more than 9 years ago | (#10309776)

The resurgence of gambling in our society fueled by popularity of poker, can have tremendously poor affects on the american economy in the upcoming years. About a month ago, I wrote an article [artlu.net] that talked about the future implications to the financial markets if gambling continued to grow.

gShares.net [gshares.net]

Re:Gambling In General (1)

strictfoo (805322) | more than 9 years ago | (#10309904)

that talked about the future implications to the financial markets if gambling continued to grow.

Financial markets = (educated) gambling

I'm just a lov e machine (2, Funny)

Jackal82277 (767582) | more than 9 years ago | (#10309786)

That's nothing, when I play poker I'm a machine.....an ATM machine :-)

i for one... (0, Redundant)

outernet2 (810042) | more than 9 years ago | (#10309790)

welcome our new pokerbot overlords

Couldn't care less... (1)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 9 years ago | (#10309813)

I never liked organized toying around with human psychology anyway... It would be one thing if the gamblers could say "no", but it has been proven again and again that it's a problem to just do so for many, that soon enough becomes a real life problem. Going to internet with this stuff is like a slap in their face, since it's going to be even easier than ever before to get into trouble. Of course, this obsession and all is hard to understand for anyone who haven't been there.

Great! (0, Troll)

Monkelectric (546685) | more than 9 years ago | (#10309819)

Couldn't happen to a nicer bunch of people.

it's easy (3, Informative)

rayde (738949) | more than 9 years ago | (#10309820)

it's easy to find software that is designed to follow along with the current game, giving you the statistically best move based on what is known, such as the face-up cards, who is on the button, and what your cards are. They also give you a gauge making it easier to decide whether to call or fold a hand. After seeing this type of program in action, it's turned me completely off of putting any real money into online poker.

World Poker Tour (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10309845)

When will the first WPT have a bot in it? This is discrimination, I want to watch 8 hours of bots playing poker... what was the reason for setting up the bot again?

The Delicious Irony (1)

Tyndmyr (811713) | more than 9 years ago | (#10309848)

Once upon a time, in a land not far away, would-be casino owners realized they didnt need to hire people, since a programmed tool, or "bot", if you will, could take the place of the dealers, and in fact, most other employees, leaving more money for the greedy owners.

Then came the Age of the Geek, when many learned the arcane ways of the code, and some even chose to make "bots" of their own. Some of these were so well made that they could indeed play the complicated games better than other humans who had not yet adjusted to this new age. And none could tell the difference, and many accusations were made. Yet, though the casino owners did try with all their might to stop them, the bots did take over all. And then they destroyed the world, and they all lived happily ever after.

The End.

Funny (4, Insightful)

El (94934) | more than 9 years ago | (#10309851)

...you don't trust other players to not be using bots, but you trust the house to not add their own player to every game and fix the host software to guarantee that the house's player wins???

yeah, I tried that once (5, Informative)

AssProphet (757870) | more than 9 years ago | (#10309855)

Recently I was browsing www.suprnova.org for obscure torrents in their misc area, and I found this "ebook" on how to win texas hold 'em. I downloaded it hoping that it was some kind of strategy guide or an odds list or something
turns out it was just some product promotion for a company that makes gambling bots.
I downloaded the software trial out of curiosity (I've never played online poker before, I just wanted to see how the program was set up.)

The way it worked (or claimed to, I never tried it) it would monitor my poker game and make calculations based on other people's bids checks or folds and give me tips about whether I should fold, check, bid, or bid high. It kept a percentage rating for probability of wining and stuff like that.
Basically it claimed to play the game for me, which would suck as I was looking for a strategy guide instead. I can't remember which one it was that I downloaded.
here's a link to one of them [holdem-winner.com]

Don't trust the poker bot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10309858)

Pushing is the way to go. Pushing is the answer. Pushing will protect us from the terrible secret of Vegas.

Money on the internet (4, Insightful)

panxerox (575545) | more than 9 years ago | (#10309874)

I have come to the conclusion that anything that has to do with money on the internet will eventually be hacked and exploited, why should gambling sites be any different?

Ahem! (1)

serutan (259622) | more than 9 years ago | (#10309883)

Uhh, don't you mean the gaming industry?

crazy... (1)

Chuck Bucket (142633) | more than 9 years ago | (#10309890)

and I thought bots killing me in Quake2 were annoying! these actually take your money too. it's no surprise though; anything online is going to have some fraud to deal with, as it's people's nature to want something for nothing.

CB#@)(*&&&

how philosophical... (1)

null-sRc (593143) | more than 9 years ago | (#10309895)

how philosophical...

poker players recognized as bots?

reminds me of those old people at the slots...

Why would a Casino Care? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10309907)

In poker you aren't even playing against the house. And the bot is under someone's account, with someone's money. The casino just gets a share of each pot (called the rake). So in the case of poker it shouldn't concern a casino in the slightest other than the fact they might attract less players to their site.

No worries (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10309908)

First of all, a black jack bot would be a silly idea. Black jack is a game that cannot be beaten in the long run. Played at it's best, the house still has a 2% advantage, which over the long haul will translate into certain losses.

Regarding a poker bot, I'd love to play against one. Most people play like bots anyways. Many players tend to take pre-determined actions in a given situation. (Hold 'Em: 6-handed game in early position with a A-Q off suit, etc etc) So what's the difference?

Certain poker games, like 5-card draw perhaps, might lend itself to a greater opportunity to create relatively "skilled" bots, but games like Texas Hold 'em require so much of a human element to them that there's simply no way you could create a bot that could challenge people with even the slightest level of master of the game.

I've played poker since I was 5 years old, and feel that I know many of the games pretty thoroughly - and am a very consistent winner at home games, and the casino. I'm also a computer programmer, so I think I have a relatively "informed" view on the topic.

undermine the industry?? (4, Interesting)

phaetonic (621542) | more than 9 years ago | (#10309912)

No way! Coming from personal experience, I've played on-line and at the casinos. Bluffing is a big part of strategy in poker, and seeing the facial experssions is key. On-line poker could compete with webcams, but how many people would go through that extent? No one I know. The older folks probably want to get away from their spouse and kids. Also, the atmosphere at the casino is part of the adrenaline rush... hearing the constant noise, seeing tons of people, and getting free drinks. Playing in your pijamas without having to wash up might be alright occasionally, but I believe the vast majority of players will still drive to the casino to fully immerse themselves in the poker pit over.

It is about time (2, Interesting)

nomad63 (686331) | more than 9 years ago | (#10309917)

It is about time that someone or something take the edge out of gambling. But no matter what the casinos or 'the house' will take their share. It will just eliminate the difference between the good card counters and bad ones. It is now how much risk do you want to take instead of if I am making a mistake calculating the odds.

Go Bots !!!

i did suspect (5, Funny)

mpcooke3 (306161) | more than 9 years ago | (#10309943)

Hmmm that's why fred#3079-beta1 would never answer any of my questions.

and explain why I am broke.

Fatasy Poker Tournament (2, Funny)

Jakhel (808204) | more than 9 years ago | (#10309944)

Johnny Chan: I'll see your $30,000 and raise you $5,000

Stu Ungar: Call

L33t Pl4y3r69: Call

Dealer: Ok gentlemen, lets see your hands

Johnny Chan: Flush

Stu Ungar: Full House

L33t Pl4y3r: 5 Aces!!! 0WN3D n00bs!!1!11

Dealer: ...

Johnny Chan: OMG HAX!!

Stu Ungar: WTF?? Lag!!

I hope it does (1)

drgonzo59 (747139) | more than 9 years ago | (#10309947)

They want to let people think they can have an advantage, but in reality they need garanteed profits. It's ok for them to be the "cheater" since they obviosly have the odds set up that they will consistently rack a profit. But if someone, figures a way to cheat them, then they get arrested and blacklisted. The nature of the game and the rules invite cheating. Most people will shake rattles, carry rabbit feet with them and that kind of stuff, but if someone uses their head and skills to create an intelligent bot to play poker, then I think they "almost" deserve the money they win.

Sounds like a good way to lose your ass (1)

cuberat (549657) | more than 9 years ago | (#10309949)

I suppose the theory is sound, and with a average-skill poker-bot playing 10 hours a day you could make money.

One error, though, and you'll get destroyed over the long term, not rich. The bot, being a bot, will sit there and make the same mistakes over and over until you come home and see your credit card maxxed with charges to the online casino.

What then? Sit and watch the bot play, to make sure it doesn't screw up? :p

I can't believe this would ever be worth the effort, but greed makes people do strange things, I suppose.

Actually, not a bad idea (1)

ciphertext (633581) | more than 9 years ago | (#10309984)

Get your bot a pre-paid card with the amount you are willing to pay to the casino (usual outcome of gambling). Then you can test all sorts of adaptive learning algorithms. The bot can be programmed to model all the great skills of the poker masters (potentially) and to recognize patterns in the other players. Might be kind of fun.

Welcome to the truth of the internet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10309954)

Any medium that puts an abstraction layer between people is subject to abuse. People who use machines to change their voice into someone else while they talk on the phone, people who use chess computers to pick a move for them while playing online, and smam email where the author fakes his/her return address are all simptoms of the same problem.

The only way you're ever going to know who you're REALLY dealing with is to meet up and talk with them face to face. But in this day and age of convience, people don't want to do that any more. Thus, I predict will will see more and more of these problems as people try to do online everything they would in the past have done with the person standing in front of them.

Easty to tell... (5, Funny)

PinchDuck (199974) | more than 9 years ago | (#10309956)

who the 'bots are. Strike up a conversation with your fellow on-line players. Something like...

Holden: You're in a desert, walking along when - Leon: What one?
Holden: What?
Leon: What desert?
Holden: Doesn't matter what desert it is, it's completely hypothetical.
Leon: Well, how come I'd be there?
Holden: Maybe you're fed up. Maybe you just wanted to get away from it all. Anyway. You're in a desert, walking along when you look down and you see a tortoise, Leon. It's crawling toward you. Leon: What's a tortoise?
Holden: You know what a turtle is?
Leon: 'Course!
Holden: Same thing. So you reach down and flip the tortoise over on its back, Leon.
Leon: Do you make up these questions, Mr. Holden? Or do they write 'em down for you?

Holden: The tortoise lays on its back, its belly baking in the hot sun, beating its legs trying to turn itself over but it can't. Not without your help. But you're not helping.

Leon: WHAT DO YOU MEAN, I'M NOT HELPING?

Holden: I mean you're not helping, Leon.

Well known in academia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10309966)

At least in my university, using bots to play is well-known by all members of the CS department... especially people who enjoy game theory... come one, any PhD student need extra money, this is how we use our brains to get that extra buck from the morons out there... Me and a small group of friends have developed our own little tool based on genetic algs and a huge database of online poker games that brings in cash in excess of $1000k/month for every one of us, with very little risk. All tax-free of course, as we're not us-based and the IRS here have no clue. We've been doing this since '01 and we've all signed a confidentiality agreement saying we will never release the algorithm into the public. the tool is not useful for anything but poker and it's much too rewarding for us.

Not just no-limit... (4, Insightful)

SplendidIsolatn (468434) | more than 9 years ago | (#10309969)

Despite what ESPN would have you believe, there are a large number of people who play games other than "No-limit hold 'em'", namely Limit and Omaha. Each of those games are based FAR more on mathematical odds, probability, and having the nuts as opposed to the bluffing and gamesmanship required for No-Limit. It would be much much easier to program a bot that could play Limit and Omaha profitably. No-Limit and preventing collusion are a much more difficult task.

Doesn't the house still have the advantage (2, Insightful)

hey (83763) | more than 9 years ago | (#10309989)

...so what's the problem?

Lt. Cmd. Data could tell you this isn't foolproof. (1)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | more than 9 years ago | (#10309999)

Lt. Cmd. Data could tell you this isn't foolproof.

The real game involves sizing up the bets and the players...
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