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The Dark Side of Online Poker: Robots Rising

They get smarter by the day. They never tire, never bore, never tilt, and always make the best game theory optimal (GTO) play—so long as they’re programmed properly. Poker bots aren’t a new phenomenon in the online poker world, but as artificial intelligence (AI) and poker-specific software like HUD trackers and solvers become more sophisticated, they become more and more of a menace.

Photo: dunkhunter

There are two types of people who use bots. First, there’s the sore losers. They wish they were good at poker, but they either don’t want to or can’t manage to put in the effort to do the hard work and improve. Instead of constantly losing, they’d rather eek out a meager 5bb/100 hands.

The other, more common type, are people who use them to grind out rakeback deals and other promos. They’re basically just playing the system, and they don’t particularly care about the winnings generated by their bots in game.

How to Spot and Beat Poker Bots

Since bots are pre-programmed to take certain actions, their behavior can be predictable. If you can learn to spot certain behaviors, such as sitting out of the game if it drops below a certain number of people, always using the same bet sizing in certain situations, or never talking in the chat box, you may be up against the bot.

Bots are just as susceptible to variance as you and me, and they’re also incapable of making adjustments when people exploit them. Although technologies like Neural Networks can help them learn and adjust, even the most sophisticated bots play in a predefined manner.

So, if you can spot these flaws, then you have a guaranteed exploit. Figuring out the “cheat code” for how to beat a bot can be massively profitable, since they have no way of knowing that they’re being exploited and are incapable of making adjustments on the fly.

Are we all doomed to become subjects in the inevitable robot uprising? Maybe. But that doesn’t mean humanity doesn’t have some tricks up our sleeve. By doing what we do best—thinking, analyzing, and being creative—we can outplay any poker bot.


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