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Pokerbots Making Online Players Sad

Zonk posted more than 9 years ago | from the in-fact,-forget-the-blackjack dept.

The Internet 408

Anonymous Coward wrote to mention a Wired article about the rise of Pokerbots in online gaming venues. From the article: "Smart, skilled players are rewarded in the long run, especially online, where there are plenty of beginners who would never have the nerve to sit down at a real table. But WinHoldEm isn't just smart, it's a machine. Set it to run on autopilot and it wins real money while you sleep. Flick on Team mode and you can collude with other humans running WinHoldEm at the table. For years, there has been chatter among online players about the coming poker bot infestation. WinHoldEm is turning those rumors into reality, and that is a serious problem for the online gambling business."

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Is Zonk an editor bot? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13418271)

That would certainly explain a lot, especially if Taco wrote it.

Re:Is Zonk an editor bot? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13418385)

Taco could not even write something that almost seems as if it could, in a completely screwed-up way, work.

He got as for as
rob@gayhost: cat hello.pl
#! /usr/bin/pearl
print "helo world!!!1!!"

rob@gayhost: ./hello.pl
bash: /usr/bin/pearl: No such file or directory


in his "Perl for complete and utterly hopeless Dummies"-book until he gave up frustrated, muttering something about "Gates was right already, fucking open sores bullshit, Linux sucks".

Poker Cheaters (5, Insightful)

mfh (56) | more than 9 years ago | (#13418272)

My initial thought is that anyone who would run a pokerbot is evil. Then my attention turns to Las Vegas and the enormous rooms of metalic robots who are all fixed to win and win big, suck the life, time (24/7 baby), and money, out of would-be regular people. Then I don't feel as bad. I still don't like cheaters, tho. The answer? Play free online poker. Save your money for BYOB -- real games with your friends. We play Texas Holdem from time to time at the cottage and it's a hoot. Games should be fun -- not business, IMHO.

Automated (4, Insightful)

Klar (522420) | more than 9 years ago | (#13418336)

I'd think that the same sort of approach could be taken as has been done in the past with macro's in mmorpg's. Track behaviour, and if there is suspicion, have an admin personal message the player, asking them a question a bot wouldn't have difficulty answering. Also,

I know a few people who play high stakes online games(2k+ buyin tables), are people trusting the bots at high stakes?

Re:Automated (1)

dotgain (630123) | more than 9 years ago | (#13418357)

You must mean 'a question a bot would have difficult answering.'?

Re:Automated (1)

Travoltus (110240) | more than 9 years ago | (#13418382)

That's why cyborgs are so much better. A player sits there while the bot is running, and responds to any chatter.

If I were using this stuff I'd want to babysit it on the chance that a glitch might cost me money instead of making money.

Re:Automated (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 9 years ago | (#13418515)

Babysit it till it's in profit, then withdraw your original bank from the site. That way you can only ever lose money your bot has alreay won.

Re:Automated (3, Insightful)

painkillr (33398) | more than 9 years ago | (#13418407)

the problem isn't pokerbots running 24/7, it's ppl using pokerbots on their PC while they're playing. anyone stupid enough to run a pokerbot 24/7 will get caught, it's the people who sit at their pc and solely handle the clicking after consulting the pokerbot that can get away with it.

Re:Automated (3, Insightful)

XMyth (266414) | more than 9 years ago | (#13418495)

There isn't a whole lot a poker bot can do for you that most skilled players can't do in their head anyways. The ONLY advantage to a bot is the automation. Being able to consult one while you're playing isn't an edge against a good player.

All it is is a crutch weak players can use against other weak players.

Also, if you're consulting a 'bot' for all of your play then your play isn't going to change and you'll get swallowed whole by the first decent player you sit at a table long enough with.

And if you can change up your play while using the bot/app then you're probably going to see that it's not that hard to figure up the pot odds and other things a bot would do for you on your own.

Re:Poker Cheaters (4, Insightful)

Travoltus (110240) | more than 9 years ago | (#13418339)

[Games should be fun -- not business, IMHO.]

Anything that involves real money is, or becomes, business.

Darwin never sleeps.

Re:Poker Cheaters (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13418366)

Ummmmm ok... I play hold'm about 5 hours a day for a living, and I still have fun playing. Nothing like taking some old newb for 10,000 in under an hour.

Re:Poker Cheaters (4, Funny)

sydb (176695) | more than 9 years ago | (#13418595)

Darwin never sleeps.

Must be a bug, OSX sleeps; what version are you running?

Re:Poker Cheaters (2, Interesting)

melikamp (631205) | more than 9 years ago | (#13418378)

Here's a thought: TFA says that the online poker biz already makes $1.4 billion annualy. Now this cash will pay for R&D of The Perfect CAPTCHA. This will be interesting to watch.

Re:Poker Cheaters (1)

randyest (589159) | more than 9 years ago | (#13418415)

What's fun about watchng the human bot-minder pass the CAPTCHA then sit and watch his winnings roll in as his 4 accounts run WinHoldEm and communicate/conspire with one another to cream the fifth person at the table?

I don't think you understand how these bots work.

Re:Poker Cheaters (3, Informative)

melikamp (631205) | more than 9 years ago | (#13418611)

They work really badly anywhere except at (1) long-hand (2) fixed limit (3) low stakes (4) loose (5) passive tables where the winning strategy is clear and mostly consists of waiting for a good hand and then playing pot odds correctly. If anyone is so bored that they are willing to babysit a bot which makes less than $1 per hour, more power to them.

It is all about complete automation. Without it these bots are useless because it is simply not fun to play the long-hand fixed limit poker correctly. Take it from an avid hold'em player.

Re:Poker Cheaters (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13418396)

yea I'm still having a hard time believing there are people out there dumb enough to gamble real money on the internet.

Internet gambling -- how could it *NOT* be a ripoff?!?

Re:Poker Cheaters (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13418447)

Bring Your Own Bot?

heheheeh (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13418280)

sdflkjsadfjklsdahf

fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13418282)

fp

Poker (4, Insightful)

Descalzo (898339) | more than 9 years ago | (#13418286)

Well, I'm sorry but I don't lose any sleep over people who lose money gambling, or who feel it is unfair. It's gambling! Who do you think pays for all those lights in Vegas? The losers!

Re:Poker (5, Informative)

Hedonist23 (603302) | more than 9 years ago | (#13418353)

I understand where this comment is coming from, but what people don't understand is that poker is actually a much different game than other forms of gambling. It's a game in which you play against other players, not the house. As far as the house is concerned, you can win every hand and become a millionaire, as long as they get their rake (the percentage a house takes out of every pot).

Poker is a skill game, that's why people can become pro's at it. That's why even semi-pro's like me can make a decent living off of it, especially now with the boom in popularity of the game.

Cut out the middle man! (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 9 years ago | (#13418412)


> Who do you think pays for all those lights in Vegas? The losers!

I just send my money straight to the power company, once a month.

Re:Poker (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13418418)

Well I'm sorry but I don't lose any sleep over people who complain about microsoft, or who feel they are unfair. It's business! Who do you think pays all those dividends? The customers!

Illegal is illegal. Just because you don't gamble doesn't mean gambling laws shouldn't be enforced.

find a flaw (2, Insightful)

nihaopaul (782885) | more than 9 years ago | (#13418295)

all you have to do is find a flaw in the poker bot and then exploit it, they always have one!

Re:find a flaw (4, Funny)

ikkonoishi (674762) | more than 9 years ago | (#13418318)

Generally a torpedo down the exhaust port works.

If that fails try throwing an old man shooting lightning from his fingers into a conveniently placed pit to the energy core.

Re:find a flaw (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13418351)

you DO realize it was Lando, not the Emperor, who destroyed the second death star... right?

Re:find a flaw (4, Insightful)

Flyboy Connor (741764) | more than 9 years ago | (#13418324)

all you have to do is find a flaw in the poker bot and then exploit it, they always have one!

This is a pretty apt comment. I think professional poker players would love to play against a bot. It gives them a considerable advantage, because if they studied the bot they can predict what it will do.

There are, basically, two possibilities. Either the bot plays purely statistically. If that is the case, it may win against dumb players, but can break even at best against good players. Or, the bot tries to model its opponents and tries to take those models into account when playing. If that is the case, as soon as a good player recognises that a bot is playing, he can ensure that the bot will have the wrong model of him, and then exploit that.

And, of course, as the parent says, it is possible that the bot contains an exploitable flaw. The bot creator goes to sleep, someone on the net recognises the flaw and posts about it in a newsgroup, and by the time the bot creator awakes he is broke. I would not sleep soundly with a bot playing with my money.

Re:find a flaw (4, Interesting)

randyest (589159) | more than 9 years ago | (#13418393)

Of course they play statistically and, surprise, computers are better at playing accurately based on statistics than even the best human players. WinHoldEm doesn't try to profile or model players. It just plays perfect poker (statistically.) And against most players, that is a sure win over time. Even against great players, it doesn't lose over time (think Las Vegas house.)

The point you're missing is that several accounts, all playing WinHoldEm bots which are communicating with one another can rape even the best players over time. It's cheating at poker, and the gambling sites can't seem to control it yet.

Re:find a flaw (2, Informative)

Illserve (56215) | more than 9 years ago | (#13418530)

Even against great players, it doesn't lose over time (think Las Vegas house.)

The "house" doesn't make money from statistics. It makes money from the rake, a small percentage of each pot which go to the establishment. Just like party poker.

WinHoldEm bots which are communicating with one another can rape even the best players over time.

Collusion of this sort doesn't give you a very huge advantage. You have a bit more information about the statistics of card distribution by knowing the other players' hole cards, but it's not a terribly big deal.

Re:find a flaw (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13418614)

Yes, it isn't terribly big until you know that 3 out of 4 of your bots have a K, and the guy still betting against you is trying to bluff you that he has 3, which would be the only thing on the table capable of beating your two pair.

Hell, if I know I can make $100 a day off of this I'd probably do it.

Re:find a flaw (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13418535)

1) You have no fucking clue as to what perfect poker entails.

2) WinHoldem doesn't come even close, it's still an utter POS. There are good bots, winholdem sure as hell isn't one of them.

Re:find a flaw (4, Interesting)

Richthofen80 (412488) | more than 9 years ago | (#13418572)

all playing WinHoldEm bots which are communicating with one another

This is the important thing, collaboration. In all scenarios, casinos, both real and online, factor in the odds or frequency of the player winning. For every percentage over 49% in favor of the player, the casino adjusts accordingly. It just doesn't make any sense for the casino to win less than 51% of the time. int he case of these poker sites, they take a certain percentage of the 'take' in any hand. In blackjack, the odds are in favor of the dealer about 51% of the time. Casinos have unlimited money and can continue to play, knowing in the long run statistically they'll win.

What scares Casinos is collusion. To any one player in blackjack, he has a 49% chance. However, multiple players sharing information changes those odds, in favor of the group over the casino . (this only applies to 'house' games, like blackjack) If you read Ben Mezrich's 'Bringing down the house', a group of students at MIT figured this out. They were able to play statistically and when they found a table whose odds leaned into the players, they called in a big fish who would bet more, knowing that the odds had swung.

The same collusion applies to Poker, except against other players, not the house. If I am dealt two Aces, and I collude with another player who indicates that he got one ace, I can tell two things... One, that no one else can match my aces, since there's a single ace somewhere else, and second, the other player can drop out, minimizing the loss of the teams.

The great thing about card games is that there's a finite number of cards dealt, and therefore statistical rules apply... the chances of drawing an Ace from a deck of cards increase for every non-Ace you draw. Since robots can keep track of every card dealt, they have an excellent chance to quickly calculate poker and blackjack situations. Collusion allows even more input to be gathered and for computers to make even more informed decisions

Re:find a flaw (3, Informative)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 9 years ago | (#13418440)

And, of course, as the parent says, it is possible that the bot contains an exploitable flaw. The bot creator goes to sleep, someone on the net recognises the flaw and posts about it in a newsgroup, and by the time the bot creator awakes he is broke. I would not sleep soundly with a bot playing with my money.

I doubt that would happen. It's the online gambling equivalent of posting a misprice to fatwallet.com. Except that online merchants are big slow and stupid and most still haven't figured out how detect hordes of people taking advantage of a misprice. Most still aren't smart enough to page a human when there is an abnormal spike in the sales numbers for an item.

For a poker-bot, it is simple to prevent large scale exploitation of a flaw - give the bot a sanity check. If it loses more than $X, then it stops playing and pages a real human to check things out. There will probably be false positives due to the nature of gaussian distributions but experience ought to indicate what a good enough value for $X is to minimize those false positives and still make automated playing profitable.

Re:find a flaw (1)

Illserve (56215) | more than 9 years ago | (#13418501)

There are, basically, two possibilities. Either the bot plays purely statistically. If that is the case, it may win against dumb players, but can break even at best against good players. Or, the bot tries to model its opponents and tries to take those models into account when playing. If that is the case, as soon as a good player recognises that a bot is playing, he can ensure that the bot will have the wrong model of him, and then exploit that.
Of course, this is what human players do to each other too, trying to ensure that the other player's models of them are wrong. There's no reason a sophisicated bot can't pull the same kind of tricks.

It's tough to pull off, but the bots have inherent advantages in being unflappable and having infinite stamina.

And, of course, as the parent says, it is possible that the bot contains an exploitable flaw. The bot creator goes to sleep, someone on the net recognises the flaw and posts about it in a newsgroup, and by the time the bot creator awakes he is broke. I would not sleep soundly with a bot playing with my money.

You're not thinking too hard about ways in which this could work. Noone is going to leave the bot online with access to the entire stake, you cash out every day, which means that the most catastrophic night is still going to leave you in the black.

Also, the bot could have catastrophe detectors which cause it to stop playing if it seems its losses are outside of statistical norms.

Re:find a flaw (1)

Tatarize (682683) | more than 9 years ago | (#13418325)

The problem is even if you know the pokerbot overvalues KJo it's still not going to come up that often. And the rest of the play is going to be solid. Over the long run it would be hard to beat a bot, even if the code isn't minorly flawed. Also, what if the bots are sharing information. That is such a huge advantage it would overwhelm any small amount of negative expectation play.

Re:find a flaw (1)

Hedonist23 (603302) | more than 9 years ago | (#13418343)

But if you know that a bot bets a certain amount on a flush draw, and will fold if you raise x amount, you can become incredibly profitable in a situation that occurs quite frequently.

Re:find a flaw (2, Informative)

randyest (589159) | more than 9 years ago | (#13418365)

True, but that's not how the bots work. No offense -- everyone posting here seems confused. Google winholdem and you can learn that it simply plays ideal poker. No player profiles, no fanciness -- just simple statistically ideal poker.

That's enough to win more than lose against average to good players (even greart players, over the long run) but pair a few winholdem bots in the same game cooperating and you can rake it in.

Re:find a flaw (1)

melikamp (631205) | more than 9 years ago | (#13418443)

Care to provide a link to the algorithm description? I cannot find one.

Re:find a flaw (1)

Hedonist23 (603302) | more than 9 years ago | (#13418458)

Yeah, I get it, and the collusion between bots is definately a real problem. But, the idea of "ideal poker" is a myth since it varies so much from situation to situation. I can beat a bot that plays Sklansky statistical poker all day long. I can also beat one that plays a Hanson style of playing any two cards (especially in limit, I don't think anyone would ever make this, or want to). It's when a player mixes their style to throw other players off that the true skill comes in. Bots can't do that yet.

Look for the flaw here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13418521)

I don't know what happens in collusion mode, but my guess is that the different bots are sharing their hidden cards. What else could it be?

Make your bot so that it lies to the other bots that it is colluding with. You get extra card info and the other bots get worse card info.

Why not do what casinos do? (2, Funny)

Limburgher (523006) | more than 9 years ago | (#13418307)

If you're caught cheating, you're escorted out.

Sometimes, to a shallow ditch in the desert.

Hard to implement online, actually. Nevermind. :)

Re:Why not do what casinos do? (1)

Al Dimond (792444) | more than 9 years ago | (#13418502)

Well... as I understand the online poker scene, to play you must have an executable program installed on your computer that must be running in order for the game to be played. Seems pretty simple to make a program that would do something at least somewhat nasty to cheaters. Particularly those that run with admin rights.

I mean, some of these sites let you win real stuff without paying any money in. They're probably already installing adware on your computer as it is.

(All this said, I've never really played any online poker so I might have some of my facts wrong)

I wasn't aware... (1)

MAdMaxOr (834679) | more than 9 years ago | (#13418578)

that bots had kneecaps to break.

Who cares? (0, Flamebait)

Seumas (6865) | more than 9 years ago | (#13418310)

Mod me flamebait - I don't really give a damn.

However, I don't have any more sympathy for some schmuck that gets reamed gambling online than I do for the same douchebag that gets reamed in vegas. If you're going to play cards or pull a slot lever, you should just assume your money is being poured in gas and set aflame and not expect to see a return.

And if you're playing *online* . . . Well, we all know the stereotype. Except you're also stupid because at least in person you can see the fucking cards and the fucking dealer and be reasonably certain less fishiness is going on.

Re:Who cares? (3, Insightful)

The Evil Couch (621105) | more than 9 years ago | (#13418406)

there's even less reason to care than you think.

The bot does nothing crazy. it knows the odds on everything. which means that it plays no better or worse than a human who knows the odds of each hand.

sure, it can tap into other bots playing so that it develops a huge advantage over other players, but so can two humans with an instant message or voice chat program.

unfair? you bet.

cheating when it's used stand-alone? hell no.

We knew it would happen sooner or later,, (1)

melikamp (631205) | more than 9 years ago | (#13418317)

We knew it would happen sooner or later. I do not see it as a big deal though. I find the live play with my friends or in a local poker room much more satysfying anyway.

The end game.... (4, Insightful)

pieterh (196118) | more than 9 years ago | (#13418321)

No more unassisted human players, but networks of bots competing against each other, ultimately controlled by individuals, and creating a larger and more interesting game... Bots are just another tool, after all.

Re:The end game.... (1)

yppiz (574466) | more than 9 years ago | (#13418352)

You mean the stock market (as done by many institutional investors).

--Pat

Where's the problem? (4, Interesting)

lightspawn (155347) | more than 9 years ago | (#13418323)

If they're allowed to play, there's no problem. Humans should deal (heh), or retreat to humans-only venues.

If they're not allowed to play (why not?), but still do, there are two problems. The social one of people running them (I'm assuming the bots don't decide to play by themselves) which probably can't be solved - some people are inherently dishonest. Then there's the technical problem - how do you let humans play while shutting out bots? There really isn't a feasible solution, especially if humans decide to play physically but let a bot decide their moves for them. But of course some will still try to implement a partial solution. Discuss.

Re:Where's the problem? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13418350)

Since no human would play perfectly, it'd probly be possible to tell if it's a bot after a number of hands because it's playing perfectly. Of course, then the bot will be programmed to screw up every so often.

Re:Where's the problem? (2, Interesting)

drdink (77) | more than 9 years ago | (#13418374)

Or you could put a captcha [wikipedia.org] at the start of every few hands. Not every hand, since that'd be annoying. Instead, just do it every few random hands, such as every fifth or sixth. It won't solve it, but it'll cut down on the problem.

Re:Where's the problem? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13418455)

If a bot is so lucrative, can't the owner just hire someone in india for $.50 an hour to babysit the bot and enter captchas?

Re:Where's the problem? (2, Insightful)

ae (16342) | more than 9 years ago | (#13418540)

Why wouldn't that hypothetical Indian just run the bot himself?

Re:Where's the problem? (1)

VikingBerserker (546589) | more than 9 years ago | (#13418592)

I was thinking along captcha lines as well, but even less automated in nature. How about adding a chat window to the screen, for a little playful banter? It's certainly common in live poker, and anyone who has played a MMORPG is familiar with it. Let the people chat as they will, and if they don't get any response from somebody, they can report on their suspected bot to the admins. The admins can then run a more sophisticated process for testing the suspect.

not cool (-1, Redundant)

coffeisgood (910748) | more than 9 years ago | (#13418330)

I don't believe there should be bots in games like that. By the way, bots are everywhere! Chat rooms for example. _______ PowerMac -$2000 iMac - $1300 Writing your own program sourceforge.net/projects/waik [slashdot.org] - priceless

shIt! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13418331)

you can. No, halt. Even Emacs are a pathetic Volume of NetBSD dicks produced part of GNAA if People playing can and committees BitTorrent) Second, than make a sincere project somewhere Perspective, the outreach are who are intersted At this point And she ran faster than this brain. It is the metadiscussions Declined in market Of a solid dose the last night of many users of BSD population as well Volume of NetBSD You to join the to deliver what, is busy infighting is wiped off and dying. AAl major It's best to try windows, SUN or 'You see, even

From Someone Who Makes His LIving Playing (5, Interesting)

Hedonist23 (603302) | more than 9 years ago | (#13418334)

I make my living playing poker. I used to play mainly online, and now split my time fairly evenly between brick and mortar (B&M) play and the online realm.

I can tell you that the bots are not a big deal yet. First of all, I'll be amazed when they ever come up with the technology to play no limit hold 'em. That would be a miracle program. Poker is much more than just betting and raising, and the occasional bluff. Just as important are reading your opponent, making bets that damage others pot odds, and playing your position in relation to the blinds. Plus, there's just a certain amount of feel needed in the game. Even Doyle Brunson claims ESP is important in Super System.

Limit ring games are a different ballgame, and a bot does have some chance of success. However, that chance is at best only at the low level games, where a program could actually outplay the players. Any mid to high stakes game has players who will quickly figure out the way a bot plays, and milk it for all it's worth.

As it is now, winholdem is a pretty bad program. I don't know of anyone who has made a profit with it, and I do know a couple of people who have at least taken a look at it. If you're worried about something in online poker, be much more worried about collusion, with multiple people at the same table sharing their hands with each other. But, even that doesn't give a huge advantage against a good player, unless there are upwards of six or seven people in a room sharing information against the rest. Poker is, and always will be a skill game, and none of these cheating methods can change that.

hed.

Re:From Someone Who Makes His LIving Playing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13418452)

A bot can make a profit from a 0.01% advantage.

A bot will ALWAYS play the odds if it's programmed to. A good human player can beat a bot, but mediocre human players will lose to the bot. In the end the bot's master wins and everyone else loses.

Re:From Someone Who Makes His LIving Playing (1)

Hedonist23 (603302) | more than 9 years ago | (#13418477)

Very true, but I don't think this will affect the sites too much. Quite frankly, a mediocre player is giong to lose all their money in the long run anyway, if a bot can beat them. Whether it goes to a player or a bot is really irrelevant. Also, it's impossible to create a bot that plays the odds perfectly, since so much of the beauty of poker is the unknown odds from what your opponent is holding. A bot will never be perfected to deal with this situation, at least not as far as I can see. A bot can be made to play perfect chess, because you can see all the moves, that is not the case in poker.

Re:From Someone Who Makes His LIving Playing (1)

NitsujTPU (19263) | more than 9 years ago | (#13418459)

From experience, I do not know much about poker, but I do know a bit about artificial intelligence.

This whole conversation has me a bit intrigued, and I am actually considering writing a program to play poker. An associate of mine, I don't remember who was talking about this a while ago.

Given that I could identify every possible hand for the table, and then pattern betting behavior, and correlate that to historical information involving hands. Would such information be valuable in the way that a human player plays the game, or is there something that I am missing about the game?

Re:From Someone Who Makes His LIving Playing (2, Informative)

Hedonist23 (603302) | more than 9 years ago | (#13418488)

There's a lot more involved, although that information is of course valuable. You would also have to program it to understand that good players vary their betting based on their position related to the blinds, as well as if the game is currently aggressive/passive, etc. Knowing every possible hand is really only a first step.

A friend of mine was actually working on the same thing, for an artificial intelligence class. The program failed miserably, but he did get an A, so he at least got a start :)

hed.

Re:From Someone Who Makes His LIving Playing (1)

randyest (589159) | more than 9 years ago | (#13418465)

Your'e ignoring the huge advantage of one user having several bots playing in the same game. The bots communicate. It's like two or more people playing at a table and whispering privately to conspire against the other players. It is a huge advantage.

How do you "read" a player online? Do you have webcams ion your games or something? Typing speed? Chat word-usage? Emoticons? lol.

Also, I think it's funny that a post that seems to be claiming there is such a thing as ESP (Extra-Sensory Perception, i.e., supernatural communication) is modded highly on /.

Re:From Someone Who Makes His LIving Playing (1)

Hedonist23 (603302) | more than 9 years ago | (#13418525)

I didn't say that I believe in it, I said that Doyle Brunson does. If you didn't know, Brunson is a living legend of poker, practically helped invent texas hold em, has won over a dozen World Series of Poker bracelets, and is in general just a good player.

Collusion is of course a problem, which is what that whole last part of my post is about. Quite frankly, you don't really need a bot for that. You need a buddy, an IP blocker, or a chat client like MSN messenger. Collusion will be a problem no matter what in online play. Quite frankly, it's tough to make it a huge advantage, however.

Interestingly enough, many books specific to online poker do say that there are tells. Instant calls generally mean flush draws. Insta-checks mean the check/fold button is clicked. Long periods before betting usually mean a made hand. In my experience, these tells aren't that reliable, but neither are many tells in real life. Whatever edge you can get, in my opinion.

Re:From Someone Who Makes His LIving Playing (1)

demachina (71715) | more than 9 years ago | (#13418493)

I'm amazed anyone would play for anything resembling money online. Bots are just one of many ways for you to be scammed. I assume the big online sites either refrain from cheating or are doing it selectively to keep the sucke .... players coming back. I can see playing it for fun or penny ante online but anything beyond that...

At least in Vegas there is some oversight of the gaming tables and the one armed bandits. I'm inclined to think whomever controls the server on an online site can skim off as much as they feel like, they just need to keep it under control so people win enough to keep coming back since they need butts in the seats. How exactly do you know one of the players in a game isn't the house and they aren't clicking a mouse to pick the cards they need to win a big hand.

There is a reason poker is structured the way it is in meat space. You need to know you aren't getting dealt from a stacked deck, how exactly do you assure that online. Pocker is a marvelous game, and exercise in AI, but bad thing to play for money online.

Re:From Someone Who Makes His LIving Playing (1)

angle_slam (623817) | more than 9 years ago | (#13418553)

I'm inclined to think whomever controls the server on an online site can skim off as much as they feel like, they just need to keep it under control so people win enough to keep coming back since they need butts in the seats. How exactly do you know one of the players in a game isn't the house and they aren't clicking a mouse to pick the cards they need to win a big hand.

There are literally thousands of people on the big poker sites at any one time. If the big site was caught cheating, they would lose that business pretty quickly. Check out any poker forum and you constantly see people trying to catch the servers cheating. Hasn't been done yet, (to my knowledge).

Re:From Someone Who Makes His LIving Playing (2, Informative)

demachina (71715) | more than 9 years ago | (#13418612)

Maybe thats because its impossible to catch the people running the servers cheating unless they are completely clueless or you have a regulatory body going in and scrutinizing their software and operations which I doubt there is especially for off shore sites.

The house software controls the deal. They can write software where they press a button and the program finds the undealt cards they need for the house player to win a pot they want, or assuming its well written software tell them it can't be done this hand without looking like its cheating. If you have your pick of the undealt cards you can arrange to win most hands.

It boggles the mind anyone would think they could catch a minimally well written piece of software cheating for the people who control the server and all its software.

Poker is, and always will be a skill game.... (1)

oliverthered (187439) | more than 9 years ago | (#13418534)

That's what they said about chess, and guess what their are computer that beat chess players hands down.

Re:Poker is, and always will be a skill game.... (1)

Hedonist23 (603302) | more than 9 years ago | (#13418541)

It's possible to see all the moves in a chess game that are possible, they're all right there on the board. Not true in poker. There is unknown information (your opponents hole cards), and thus, no perfect way to play.

Re:From Someone Who Makes His LIving Playing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13418587)

Short stack nolimit hold'em is basically the easiest poker game there is, far easier than limit. So I kind of doubt that a bot being able to play that would be any kind of miracle.

If you don't think so I'd like to see the kind of odds you'd like to lay against a bot playing a 10bb or 20bb stack.

As for your contention that high stakes player quickly will figure a bot out. That only works as long as there is something to figure out, that's not necessarily true. Also, there is the possibility of the bot only being deployed against players it can beat, after all it doesn't have to stay if it takes a beating.

But I do agree that winholdem sucks.

who cares (0, Troll)

mwm158 (526284) | more than 9 years ago | (#13418344)

limit holdem sucks anyway. Play no limit like a real man and you don't gotta worry about silly bots. People aren't smart enough to make good no limit bots yet :)

don't be afraid of poker bots (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13418345)

I am not aftraid of poker bots. I play in a casino 20 hours/week and online 15 hours a week.

A good player adjusts to his players in a very human way.

Artificial intelligence of a high variety would be need to emulate this adaptive behaviour in a robot/software program.

There are two benefits that I see from poker bots:

1. They will provide self-funded development in artificial intelligence, just like the stock market provided advancement in certain aspects of physics, statistics, and probability.

2. Good poker players will detect bots and 'trap' them to make money from them.

Implied odds (http://rds.yahoo.com/S=2766679/K=implied+odds/v=2 /SID=e/TID=F588_121/l=WS1/R=1/IPC=us/SHE=0/H=3/;_y lt=AuwgGElWrfwm0QKAD7BMCEdXNyoA/SIG=12dj0jprq/EXP= 1125273382/*-http%3A//www.cs.ualberta.ca/~jonathan /Grad/papp/node22.html [yahoo.com] ) provide disproportionate benefit to folks that explot low probability/high payoff situations.

The poker bots do provide more information to pople, and they give them an edge, in that respect they are simply a tool.

The poker bots provide a better mathematical approach to poker, which means statistically, they will beat bad players.

Regardless of how it happens, a fool and his money are soon parted.

Should be obvious (4, Insightful)

keraneuology (760918) | more than 9 years ago | (#13418346)

Who is going to set up the first bot only online poker site? Let people compete by setting their bots against other bots.

Of course, won't be long until really good poker players start cheating by pretending to be bots...

on-line poker is for marks (3, Interesting)

frovingslosh (582462) | more than 9 years ago | (#13418347)

Come on, on-line poker is for chumps.

Do you really believe that the operators of these on-line "casinos" are above playing poker against you while they can watch your hands, or when they can tell the computer what to deal next? And while dealing themselves the good cards too often might be caught by statistical analysis of the decks (if you can afford to loose enough to gather maeningful data), their watching and knowing your hands would only look like skillful play on their part.

Another form of cheating that I know is going on (because I know someone who admits to doing it) is to play multiple hands in the same game against another player and share information about your hands. This is a great way to part the fools from their money, since having lots more information about the deck than non-cheating players geatly improves your odds. You know, for example, if the chance of drawing that fourth king is very high because it hasn't been dealt to the other hands you know about, or zero because it has. And when one of the positions you control has a particularly good hand you can drive up the pot by having the other hands you control place small raises when they would otherwise drop.

If you like on-line poker, let me introduce you to three card monty. Some people confuse it with a game of chance too, but it's just a very expensive private magic show.

Re:on-line poker is for marks (1)

narkotix (576944) | more than 9 years ago | (#13418387)

ive always wondered what stops them from cheating? what if they are operating from a non governed location in the world? How can one tell? I mean chances are there probably are sites run my mafioso types in foreign countries, so how do you trust em?

Re:on-line poker is for marks (1)

Hedonist23 (603302) | more than 9 years ago | (#13418419)

I don't think they are above it, but the respectable, well established sites would be incredibly foolish to riske their daily millions on such an idea.

Party poker and it's affiliates drag in so much for rakes because of the fact that their site is reputable and their number generator is nearly true randmoness (far more random than an actual shuffle). Why would they throw that away just to cheat a few people out of an extra hundred dollars?

Of course, the real solution to this fear would be to allow companies to operate out of the United States so that they could be more regulated. Luckily, states like North Dakota are moving to make this a reality.

Re:on-line poker is for marks (4, Informative)

XMyth (266414) | more than 9 years ago | (#13418461)

Why would they waste their time cheating?? The rake alone is massive profits.

And besides, if they EVER get caught cheating (former employee rats them out or something) then people will simply stop playing there and now they've lost what was their big money maker...the rake.

A B&M casino could cheat you just as well.

Re:on-line poker is for marks (1)

Varitek (210013) | more than 9 years ago | (#13418510)

Do you really believe that the operators of these on-line "casinos" are above playing poker against you while they can watch your hands, or when they can tell the computer what to deal next?
You can milk a cow every day. You can only kill it once. The online poker rooms are already making millions from rake. If they try to squeeze more out, so that even the good players' winnings go down, then people will just play somewhere else. There are plenty to choose from.

Simple way to judge (2, Insightful)

zymano (581466) | more than 9 years ago | (#13418367)

Most online poker sites have a CHAT going.

Just ask them a question. Could be an idea for the poker software programmers.

Just send me the $$$ and you don't have to pay any copyright fees.

Re:Simple way to judge (1)

Hedonist23 (603302) | more than 9 years ago | (#13418433)

I leave the chat off when I play, as do most people I know. Major poker sites are getting their chat bogged down with the usual spam messages ("visit x site to play perfect poker," "hey, someone give me money," etc.). Every pro who plays online has to turn off chat so they don't see the millions of comments made to them a minute. Using the chat isn't a viable option, really.

Re:Simple way to judge (1)

painkillr (33398) | more than 9 years ago | (#13418470)

that will only catch ppl stupid enough to run the bots unassisted. this won't catch ppl running colluding bots or just running winholdem and letting the app tell them how to play.

Re:Simple way to judge (1)

ciroknight (601098) | more than 9 years ago | (#13418496)

Wow, using my pokerbot, you're already defeated. Sit back and supervise and when a question comes, answer. No problem.

Of course, I only play on free tables, and mine's for artificial intelligence research, but.. eh.

Cheating? (2, Insightful)

Mathonwy (160184) | more than 9 years ago | (#13418376)

I keep seeing comments talking about "those durned cheat'n bots". But it makes me wonder, what exactly is "cheating" in this case?

In most cases, I'd say that "cheating" is doing anything that is against the rules of the game that gives you an unfair advantage. But what here is the bot doing?

As far as I can tell, none of the things this bot does are things that acutal human players couldn't do, if they wanted to bother. So then at that point is it still cheating?

The one exception to this is the collusion. That's clearly against the rules of poker. But I predict that that will be a self-correcting problem. Since after all, it won't be long before someone makes an alternate version of the BOT that feeds incorrect data to the other BOTs so that you're more likely to win money from them. (Since game-theory wise, if you're the only cheater in a room full of honest people, you have an advantage.) And shortly after that, other bots will start to do the same, until the "collusion" a bot gets cannot be trusted, and is no longer a worthwhile channel of information.

(Heck, a whole war of bots trying to "Read" other bots based on their (possibly erronious) collusion information could start. That could actually be kind of fun to watch. From a distance.)

Anyway, as long as the BOTs aren't actually hacking the system, or forcing other peoples' clients to crash, etc, then I think you could make a good argument that it's not really cheating.

(And no, I'm not a bot user or apologist. All of my online poker playing is restricted to free sites, anyway...)

Re:Cheating? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13418479)

collusion: the point is that one person runs all the colluding bots. information is transferred only between bots pretending to compete but with the same human master. your scenario does not arise.

and it is "cheating" in that the bots can perform statistical analysis on the game much better than humans, this is the advantage. I'm not sure if it's an unfair advantage (anyone can run a bot), but it is an unfun advantage.

Re:Cheating? (1)

GISGEOLOGYGEEK (708023) | more than 9 years ago | (#13418508)

It IS in fact cheating, if the EULA of the poker website explicitly states that you can not run bots or other artificial ways of ensuring that you play an optimal perfect game.

Just like how you may not use computers etc in vegas.

Of course there's gambling bots, spam bots, etc... (2, Insightful)

danielDamage (838401) | more than 9 years ago | (#13418383)

I'm no gambler myself, but I do understand that part of what actually makes gambling "fun" for people is the risk and potential reward. For many people it is a mixed professional and entertainment pursuit.

Granted, I'm not very good, and so I just have NEVER found enjoyment from pitting my wits against people in this way. It always just seems like luck whether I get a good hand or not. But for people WITH this skill, it's very enjoyable and exciting. As I understand it, the strategy of some poker variants like T#xas H#ld Em is pretty deep.

But as models of real money get pushed to the online universe (MMORPG's, pagerank, etc.) people are going to try and use them as automated moneymaking avenues. It just goes hand in hand with putting ANY kind of real value online. If people can find an algorythm to exploit the particular system, then they're going to.

REALLY good humans have advantages over bots in poker (and perhaps still in chess as well), but it's the above average casual players who are going to get raked.

So it's just time for the online gambling industry to mature a little, just like the MMORPG market, blogging, or any online universe that's had to combat bots and keep them from raping all the possible value from those systems.

Either they can find viable ways to combat bots and make play work for human players, or they will not be able to remain competitive.

Re:Of course there's gambling bots, spam bots, etc (1)

Blacken00100 (864342) | more than 9 years ago | (#13418423)

If you play against newer Fritz models at maximum difficulty, you will never again say that humans can keep up with computers in chess.

Happens elsewhere, too (1)

RyLaN (608672) | more than 9 years ago | (#13418394)

Interestingly enough, a similar debate rages on Blizzard's online games. In both World of Warcraft and Diablo II, people have written java hooks into the game to allow for scripted boss runs.

The advantage is obvious, anyone with a bot doesn't actually have to look for good stuff (MF) himself and can spend his time online fighting other players or trading away his newly found items. In both cases, however, Blizzard has aggresively tried to keep these bots off their networks and often bans accounts associated with the bots.

In this case, I see the bots as a failure on Blizzard's part to keep the game interesting, and item drops common. However, I don't know anyone who plays online poker to have fun. I think that it's fine on computer games, but to run a bot against real people with real money is really lazy, and against the spirit of the game.

Re:Happens elsewhere, too (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 9 years ago | (#13418435)

In this case, I see the bots as a failure on Blizzard's part to keep the game interesting, and item drops common.

Why is botting in online poker just laziness on the part of the botter, but in WoW it's Blizzard's fault? A bit of a double standard there.

Nothing new here... (1)

thijsh (910751) | more than 9 years ago | (#13418399)

I wrote a bot as an experiment years back. It was for other online games at MSNs Ca$h site. It worked perfectly, but unlike the author of the poker-bot I found it unethical to continue. It was just a proof-of-concept for myself and I only cashed $100 and then stopped completely. But while playing I noticed that others have also written bots and are exploiting them full time, there were nicks like 'john005' and 'john006' etc. competing with my program at a pace that no human can keep up. These online playing bots are nothing new. But as always people who bet should expect their money to be gone and never count on winning. I guess that counts even more for online betting.

What is it with online and television gaming (0)

hattig (47930) | more than 9 years ago | (#13418404)

I mean, for REAL money. Why? Is this a way of keeping the gullible poor and out of the higher echelons of society? I don't personally give a toss - games are for enjoyment, not a way to become rich. Play poker - fine. Play poker and lose your house? Fuckin' retard.

Maybe the online venues can also run the bot on each player on a game. If a player exhibits a correlation of their moves compared to what the bot predicted, then make them prove who they are, otherwise end their game.

In the end I just don't get the whole gambling thing. I get alcoholism. I get drug addiction. Hell, I understand why people commit many types of crime. But compulsive addictive gambling? It's those guys you see day in, day out after work on the fruit machines - dammit, save that money, the machines are designed to make money overall FROM you.

Then I think. Sod it, I'm not doing it, I'm not losing their money. It is their problem and I haven't got the time to care about them. So I don't.

I saw fucking computer generated horse racing on TV the other day, with text/phone/internet betting. What The Fuck... There was a whole channel devoted to this for some reason, but hey, if people are going to spend their money, or if they get their kicks from risking their money on random events, then fine. So be it.

Re:What is it with online and television gaming (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13418617)

Just think, if they stopped, you'd have no one to shit on to improve your self-esteem.

Look to the westerns for the answer. (2, Funny)

Helios292 (528182) | more than 9 years ago | (#13418408)

This can only be solved in one way. Impliment a networked FPS engine for knocking over the server and pulling out virtual Derringers when cheating is suspected.

It's part of the risk you take (1)

StarWynd (751816) | more than 9 years ago | (#13418429)

While I believe the actions of cheaters are reprehensible, you'd have to be very naive to think that there wouldn't be someone trying to cheat. Cheaters have always existed and the internet only makes it easier for them because instead of needing slight of hand to get an ace up their sleeve, they only need to find a bot on a warez site.

So, what can you do about it? Don't play. Send a complaint to the online gaming company and tell them that you're not going to use their service again. Play with your friends in a home game or in a local tournament and avoid the internet completely. If you're playing poker only because of the money, I believe you're missing the best part of the game.

Sweet! Corewars and CRobots and now poker? (1)

Quixadhal (45024) | more than 9 years ago | (#13418517)

When I was in school, I loved the old corewars game, and was facinated by the C-Robots game. Both of these games involve coding artifical intelligence agents and pitting them against each other. Now it seems the opportunity is there to do the same thing with online poker games!

Why gripe about this WinPokerBot thing? Code your own that's smarter and reap the rewards! Sure, it will annoy the human players, but they'll just have to move to a secure server that verifies you in some way (via a custom client perhaps).

Makes people sad? (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 9 years ago | (#13418561)

This sounds like... the work of SADBOT [worth1000.com] :(

I play poker online, without bots (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13418562)

I spend approximately 5 USD per day playing a 10-player sit-and-go tournament.

It doesn't make me rich. I win some and I lose some. All in all, I have a small loss. But you know what? I don't care. I play so that I can get better. It's great to see that you do get better. Then I use those skills on the real tables.

The Art of Intrusion (0)

Kristopher Ives (908659) | more than 9 years ago | (#13418589)

There is a cool story in Keven Mitnick's book, The Art of Intrusion that goes over a guy who did this and won some money off it.

YOU EFaIL IT!! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13418609)

join In. It can be

no point at all (0, Troll)

coffeisgood (910748) | more than 9 years ago | (#13418610)

Gosh! They are going too far. What's the point of making bots in online poker?! I doubt they don't have enough players.

The best way to avoid the bots (1)

lokedhs (672255) | more than 9 years ago | (#13418613)

Play the tournaments! It's much harder to win big, since you can't simply wait for new players with fresh money to take. That's why the bots don't play them. It's also much more fun.
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