One of toughest problems to have faced online operators since the dawn of online poker is the infiltration of virtual tables by computer-controlled players. These ‘bots’ have an almost perfect mathematical grasp of the game, can implement game theory ideas efficiently and never tire or tilt. The technology guiding these bots has improved over the years, and online operators have never been able to fully eradicate them from the game. This spectre of bots has come to the fore once more recently, with six-figure sums of money refunded to players at Americas Cardroom and partypoker.
America’s Card Room: $200,000
Americas Card Room has developed a reputation over the years of not being strong enough in their investigations of suspicious account activity, with well known players such as Joe Ingram voicing concerns of this nature in the past. This week, Americas Card Room has clearly been cracking down on the issue, with around $200,000 being refunded to players and a personal statement being issued by CEO of Winning Poker Network, Phil Nagy.
This stated that Americas Card Room, who operate on the network, have been increasing their vigilance against bots and would continue to do so. The message also said that $200,000 had been refunded in the previous few days due to bot activity.
Joe Ingram responded on Twitter with an invitation to Phil Nagy to speak on his show and said that more can still be done.
I would like to show Phil this list of 30 suspected bots on the cash game tables with nearly identical stats to take a look at before he comes on the show. I’ve played thousands of hands w/ some of these players on the website. @ACR_POKER https://t.co/jEApzxyX3X pic.twitter.com/iOvwZcW717
— Joey Ingram 🤙🏻🤙🏻 (@Joeingram1) April 17, 2019
partypoker: $735,000 refunded
This latest announcement from Americas Card Room came just three weeks after partypoker refunded $735,000 to players affected by bot activity on its site. 277 bot accounts were closed, and the large sum was refunded over a four-month period in which partypoker worked extremely hard to clear bots from their virtual tables. This extra work was undertaken by a specialist Poker Fraud Team which is made up of former poker professionals, with over 75% of subsequent bot account closures being attributed to this team.
Team partypoker’s Patrick Leonard said: “Two years ago it wouldn’t have been possible, but after seeing the security department first hand, the team working there and the tools they are using, I’m very confident now that they can tackle people trying to play against the rules. In my opinion it isn’t worth somebody trying to bend the rules because, in the words of Liam Neeson: ‘They will find you, they will catch you and they will.. ban you!’”
Reports such as these are obviously a double-edged sword. On the one hand, they serve as a reminder that bots are still being created and that they continue to plague the online world. On the other hand, it is encouraging to see that the biggest poker rooms in the industry are doing everything they can to stay one step ahead of these accounts and shut them down before they can do too much harm.
Article by Craig Bradshaw