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Monday, February 25, 2008

Poker Site Employing Bots?


Poker Site Employing Bots?

Internet poker traffic monitoring site, PokerScout.com, reported last week that online poker room, DoingPoker.com, may be using bots to fill its tables. Now, before panic sets in, PokerScout readily admits that it has no concrete evidence of this, but it feels that after observing the traffic and play at the tables, there is a chance that some players on the site may be less than real.

The first point the folks at PokerScout make is one that should make perfect sense to anyone who has played online poker for a few days. Typically, every poker room sees its player traffic ebb and flow throughout the day. Traffic is highest when its core customer base is home, generally in the evenings after work and before bed. Traffic is lowest when these same players are asleep. At DoingPoker, however, the traffic is constant, no matter what time it is.

Additionally, there is always at least one active table for all five poker variations: hold’em, Omaha, Omaha high/low, stud, and stud high/low. At a site like PokerStars, this would not be unusual, but when the site has fewer than 100 simultaneous cash players, this is extraordinary. At small sites, almost every active game is hold’em. At the smallest sites, of which DoingPoker is most definitely one, having even one non-hold’em game going is odd.

PokerScout goes on to note that the players who are seated even look strange. Upon observing a single table, the site noticed that of the eight seats, two were always open. Additionally, and perhaps more damning, the six players seated were always the same. The same after two hours, the same after twelve hours, the same after a couple days. Yet they’d switch seats. Some of the players also had similar names, such as “sasha-us” and “sasha-00,” and “SUMO-00,” as well as “jangsanv” and “jangsang.”

As a final piece of evidence, PokerScout observed that the play at the tables often defied any rational explanation. Either the players were blind and stupid, or they were bots program to just play recklessly and/or randomly. They would also post blinds, get up from the table, sit back down, and post blinds again. There was no apparent method to their madness, except to possibly give a human a chance to take the empty seat for the minute they were gone. In no-limit games, the only bets were min-bets and min-raises, and oftentimes, players would go back and forth, min-raising each other to death, when all of a sudden someone would fold to one more bet.

PokerScout contacted DoingPoker, which responded that it does not use robots to fill in seats. The company said that it is still in testing mode, and does employ people to test the software at play and real money tables. Some of these people, the site said, are not very good at poker.

PokerScout does note that there was no evidence of collusion amongst the suspected bots, but at the same time, it does not know if they would play different against human players.

Source: PokerSourceOnline

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