Poker Bots Getting Cleverer in 2011?

Online Poker Bots are Becoming Cleverer

According to a recent news article in the online New York Times, poker bots are becoming a lot smarter and winning and a much bigger threat to online poker than they used to be.

Poker Bots, which are automated programs programmed to sit at online poker tables and make money, are technically forbidden at most sites.  The two largest online poker sites, PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker, are strictly against the use of poker bots in their terms and conditions.

According to these two poker sites, accounts caught using a poker bot will be shut down and in most cases all of the winnings and cashiers will be taken away too.

Most other poker sites do not share the same strict policy, according to owners.  They say that asides from PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker, the majority of poker sites are happy to turn a blind eye to poker bots since they can actually rake more money (leading to greater contributions of profit to the poker rooms) than regular players.  Prohibiting poker bots would generally be perceived as a negative financial decision.

One of the most popular poker bots available, Holdem Poker Bot, costs just $129/year for the license fee and can allegedly make money up to NL100 ($0.50/$1 stakes).  Shanky Technologies, who developed the Holdem Poker Bot in addition to many others, claims that they sell around 400 units per year which leads to generated profits of more than $50,000.

In recent years, the downsides to poker bots were that they were unable to keep up with the random, fast changing circumstances of poker. They were particularly bad at making nuanced decisions in the game, such as bluffing or responding to multi-level play.  However, according to the New York Times article, poker bots are getting cleverer at these little tasks and becoming more reliable every year.

Interestingly, the article’s researcher claims that poker bots have to be more sophisticated than chess bots.  In Chess, the game is a perfect scenario where both player’s can see each others pieces and optimum moves/responses can be calculated.  In poker however, neither player can see the other’s holding cards and cannot predict what card will be dealt in the next betting round, thus there is too much information and calculations to be made in online poker for a perfect bot.

In conclusion, if you’re worried about poker bots playing at your table than you might want to play at either PokerStars or Full Tilt Poker, who have a stricter policy against them in addition to better recognition software.  You can also receive free poker cash and free poker money at both of these rooms, worth up to $100 each in free bankrolls, if you visit