Online Poker Bots

by Poker Team

Coming soon to a table near you?

Poker Bots - Online PokerThe debate on poker bots has gone on for years, essentially starting soon after the advent of online poker. The premise is simple, you program a “bot” to automate the tasks that a human would do while playing poker. Of course, this is easier said than done and while many have claimed to created powerful bots over the years, no one bot or bot manufacturer has surfaced with empirical evidence that’s truly successful. The fire had gasoline tossed on it in July when Polaris, a newer style bot that won 195K from 6 well known poker players. This took place at the the Second Man-Machine Poker Championship, held in Las Vegas at the 2008 Gaming Life Expo.

Is the end near for online poker because of bots?

Recently, Polaris creator Dr. Darse Billing has came on record and stated that the concept of an online poker bot crushing human competitors is a stretch:

Polaris probably sports one of the most advanced Artificial Intelligence systems yet developed for applications of this sort, but Dr. Billings wrote that it does not present a serious problem for human players despite its impressive performance against professional players and Stoxpoker coaches alike in recent times.

Blogger Andrew Smith opined that because online poker is anonymous, this could impact the future for online poker rooms as the integrity-challenged could put poker bots, as humans, into various online games. This assertion appeared to overlook the millions of dollars invested in sophisticated poker bot identification software by major online poker companies like Poker Stars and Full Tilt.

Billings did not hold back in his response to the opinion, calling it a “ridiculous conclusion.”

Polaris was the product of scientific research, and had never been used to compete online in contravention of the rules of most Internet poker sites, and the use of bots was not a catastrophe for online poker, he observed. The program only plays heads-up Limit Hold’em, which is not a popular variant. Modern programs are not strong at No-Limit or multi-player games.

“Secondly, it is not difficult to identify a known program. If you use the Fritz chess program to play chess on an online server, it will be obvious to everyone. The same applies for poker. Since using programs is against the poker site’s terms of use, if you do it you will have your account closed permanently.

“I started the research into poker A.I. in 1992, and we have had a very large team of excellent researchers working on the problem for many years. We have made a lot of progress over the past 16 years, but I can assure you, the sky is not falling,” he concluded.