How to recognize a bot playing poker


How to recognize a bot in an online poker game

Technological development is a blessing to the world as it continues to grow and evolve, but unfortunately there are always those who are capable of turning a tool into something malevolent, annoying and opportunistic. In poker, for example, there are hundreds of “good” software programs that allow players to study as best they can, engage and improve, in a manner totally in line with the ethics of the game. At the same time, however, “bad” programs have developed that were created to take advantage of opponents and speculate on their pockets. We are talking about bots e
, and now we will explain how to recognize and defend against them.

What are they and how do poker bots work?

Poker bots are software programmed to play poker online instead of the human player. They are set with preset actions and numerous cycles “
” to respond sensibly or perfectly to most actions that may occur in the game.
Actually, there are two types of bots: those that actively understand opponents’ moves and click buttons instead of humans, and those that signal the play to be made to a human behind the screen.
The first type is the most popular because it is mass-based: it plays many tables for many hours (just turn it on and let it do its thing), sometimes with several different accounts. The second is less common but more difficult to detect.

How strong are they?

Bots are mainly found at the
, because they are not as prepared and perfect as one might fear. As
Phil Galfond
: “If there are human beings who win a lot of money online, it means that bots are not such an intractable problem.”
As a matter of programming, they can’t get to incredible levels of play, but it’s enough to speculate on mid-level players.
Finally, we must add that sometimes the same bot commands several different accounts, taking an added advantage: if two accounts are at the same table, in addition to being able to collude, they know each other’s cards having an advantage in the accuracy of out and percentage calculations.

What are RTAs, Real Time Assistants?

RTAs are far worse software. Basically, it is a huge database of scenarios solved by a solver, which the rogue player draws on to make his choices.
In practice, the player sees the table action and follows the closest line among the various available solutions, finds out how the solver behaves in that case, and replicates the strategy, adopting a style of play close to what can be considered “perfect.”

How to recognize Bots and RTAs

The most common form of bots, automatic bots, can be recognized by several factors. The first thing to look out for when suspecting something is that the account takes almost the same amount of time to act with every action it takes. With the help of a
tracking program
, near-perfect statistics can be found, and this may lead to an initial suspicion.
Even if you don’t know the “correct” value of a statistic, however, often in a room where there is a bot there are others as well. As a result you will find several accounts with very similar statistics, and you can begin to suspect. Even without software you will be able to find patterns in an account’s moves and response times, and especially if they use the same sizes in the same spots. Sometimes bots may stand up or sit down at the table as an immediate consequence of a change in the number of players present. This is because for simplicity’s sake some bots are designed to play against a set number of opponents, and programmed to exit if this number changes, or sit if this number is reached.

With or without human intervention

To top it off, but these should be taken a bit more with a grain of salt, the bots obviously never interact with the chat (not even in the case of a deal at a final table) and do not take breaks, often playing long session-fiumes.
Bots controlled instead by a human behind will be more difficult to detect because they may have non-bot behaviors. Starting precisely from pace and timing of play to the use of chat.
In addition, “human” bots and RTAs have the sneaky problem that those who control them may also decide not to follow the software’s advice and deviate from the suggested strategy.
For RTAs and “human” bots, the best way to identify them is always by using the statistics of your own tracking software, but to do so requires playing them many hands and unfortunately often losing money.

How do poker rooms recognize bots and RTAs?

Details on how online poker platforms are able to detect bots and real time assistants are not officially released.
Often those who use bots open multiple accounts, and the first hurdle is to provide the room with different and reliable documents and bank details, which underscores the importance of playing in an ADM (AAMS) certified platform.
Poker rooms also have a vastly greater amount of data and statistics than any top grinder, and with calculations made by artificial intelligences they are able to find constants and patterns to signal risks of illicit behavior.
Some say-but there is no proof-that poker rooms can also view the desktop and sift through programs installed on the computer looking for malicious software.

How to defend against bots

The official answer is always to report suspicious accounts to the security center of the platform on which you play, without making the mistake of thinking “They don’t care anyway.” It is not, but even if it were clicking two buttons is completely free.
The second piece of advice unfortunately is: avoid them. Once you recognize them or have strong suspicions, you should try not to sit at the table with these accounts. It is an inconvenience, but it is the right thing to do for oneself and for the whole community.
Finally, it is not that difficult to exploit bots. While it is a little more so with RTAs.
Automated bots follow set patterns and often make mistakes when making certain plays outside the box. They do not have the computing power to memorize all possible lines, so their game is simplified.
For example, a bot might think, “If he raises more than 20bb, I only play with KK+,” and it will become fairly standard to exploit him by raising full range 21bb. Be very careful when devising such strategies, because you will have to take risks to make sure it follows certain patterns.

Some bots in poker are a little stupid
Keeping the attention span high

In short, it takes some sensitivity to understand the
logic behind the bot’s actions
. Once you understand it, you can find its weaknesses, and once you find them you can calculate ways to exploit them.
Against RTAs it becomes much more complicated, because they are in fact based on a strategy that was born to be inexploitable. However, it has small limitations of its own.
For example, solvers are unable to calculate multi-way plates. So coming into play in 3 or more, the RTA will become completely ineffective (for that spot). Of course, we will also go in and complicate life, but the game will be more honest.
Now, we will not dwell on this aspect, because those who have the ability to do so do not need us to explain it to them, and those who do not have the ability may end up losing a lot of money. But precisely, RTAs have a couple of limitations that can be exploited.

A key clue: sizes

RTA solutions are calibrated to a certain number of possible sizes and with certain ranges assigned to opponents. By consciously deviating from the assigned sizes and/or ranges, RTAs will completely lose value (if we know how to behave).
In practice, one can create an anti-RTA poker strategy, simply because it is not the same thing as an anti-solver strategy (virtually impossible).
Again, be careful if you choose this route because you will need a very high level of knowledge of the game. The majority of players will have to prefer to get up from the table.


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