Software that plays online poker without human intervention or supervision is known as a "poker bot." A poker bot monitors all of your opponents' actions while the poker site is open, runs in the background, and makes decisions based on its rules, instructions, and programming in addition to the additional data it has accumulated over time.
Since they were initially developed, poker bots have seen a significant evolution.
Preflop range-programmed bots
They were initially only programmed with preflop ranges for each position and some very rudimentary postflop play (check if they don't create a pair or better, bet if they do, etc.). Even though these poker bots weren't particularly complex, neither was human play, therefore even basic bots like these might be profitable.
As poker players improved, more and more players were able to defeat these basic poker bots, forcing them to change if they were to survive.
PokerStars bots began to implement more sophisticated tactics that players were utilizing in their own games (including 3bet/4bet bluffing, checking back strong hands to slow play monsters, and being more evenly matched in general).
Even today, low-stakes cash games with novice players are certainly a golden spot for such sophisticated bots. Why? Any further sophistication (AI, machine learning) would demand significantly more computing power and a completely different setup for small increases in win rates.
These rule-based, lightweight, and comparatively basic yet potent bots can be spun right away because they are still quite light in weight.
Poker bots of the solver era
Finally, as poker entered the "solver-era," programmers were able to connect solver outputs to poker bots. In order to locate the right play, the bot can either search through previously solved solutions or, if the computer is powerful enough, execute a solver in real-time.
Poker bots have a significant edge over humans in that they can flawlessly "remember" millions of pre-programmed scenarios, so once you've put one up, you can leave it running and it will continue to play the same way for hours on end. Humans, however, will begin to tire after a few hours and will need to take regular rests if they wish to play their best.
How poker rooms handle bots
Any player who is discovered to be utilizing one on their account will have their account closed and their bankroll seized. These severe penalties exist to deter individuals from attempting to employ bots and to make it more difficult to put them up after they have been discovered.
Usually a room has a specialized security team in place to find and remove these poker bots from the player pool. They claim to have a team of 60 professionals, ex-poker players, and data scientists who utilize custom software to find and ban players who violate terms of service, according to information on their website.
Some rooms like stars have a 24/7 automatic system that identifies accounts for further investigation by their team. They assert that this automated system caught 95% of all terms of service violations right away.
Players are encouraged to flag accounts that they suspect are infringing the rules, in addition to their own team looking into it. Each and every report is looked at by Pokerstars employing a peer-review mechanism, in which several agents look over the data independently and offer recommendations based on their findings.
Are there poker bots on pokerstars?
Bots are more likely to appear in some games than others. The fewer likely bots are to be participating, the harder the game is to solve. There are hardly any bots in the player pool because games like PLO cash games are extremely difficult to solve. You are more likely to encounter a bot in games like Sit & Gos, though, because they are more simpler in terms of technique.
Poker bot red flags
If you think a certain account is a bot rather than a real gamer, here are some signs to watch out for:
Has no conversations with any players
This will rely on you as a player as well as the game you're playing. As players on zoom tables don't stay at the table for very long, conversing with them can be particularly challenging.
They might also be playing a lot of tables, which would make it difficult for them to concentrate on or respond to table conversation, or they might not comprehend the language you are using to communicate with them. So, while a player's lack of conversation at the table doesn't always mean they are a bot, if they do answer, you can almost surely rule them out.
In tournaments, for example, a player's lack of conversation is a more obvious sign that their account is cheating. In a tournament, you can ask for a moderator to join the table to help broker a deal when there are only a few players left.
In these cases, the proposed agreement must be approved or rejected by all sides before the game may move on. When this deal-making is taking place, it is suspicious if a player ignores any inquiries from the moderator or other participants.
This one takes a little finesse to identify because it's usual for players to use stable stack sizes, particularly before the flip and during it. The majority of players concur that to conceal the precise strength of your hand, you must raise to a set number of big blinds before the flop and maintain that size for each subsequent raise.
Similarly, depending on the board, most players will employ a specific sizing on the flop, with many choosing to utilize a tiny 1/3 c-bet size. The turn and river are typically where human betting patterns undergo the biggest shifts. People like to wager on these streets based on how strong their hands are, sizing up slightly more when they have a strong hand and are trying to get value.
Bots don't have these flaws and will always wager the same amount on every turn and river, regardless of the strength of their hand. Additionally, they won't alter their strategy during a session. As time goes on, humans will start to become tired and make less-than-ideal decisions, whereas poker bots can make decisions at the same level whether it's hour 1 or hour 15.
Active for more than a day
Some gamers enjoy grinding. As long as other life events permit, some players will play poker for the majority of their waking hours. The players who are always online are the next group. They are always seated at the table working, no matter what time you get on to begin a session. It looks like they never sleep!
That the account is being utilized for botting is clear from this. Poker bots don't require sleep and can operate continuously without any negative effects on their performance. On the other hand, people cannot play nonstop due to their physical needs for sleep. Even if someone forced himself to play nonstop for a week, the quality of their performance would significantly suffer as their brain progressively turned to mush.
Not all of these accounts are bots, though, as some players simply worry about the rakeback they may earn and have little regard for the quality of their play. These players are content to play aimlessly for countless hours apiece.
Strategy for pokerstars bots
If you suspect a player of being a poker bot, the first thing you should do is report them to the site where you're playing. Bots are often bad for the poker ecosystem since they steal thousands of dollars from unwary players. However, every now and then, you'll come across a bot that has been improperly programmed, a bot that you can abuse and profit from.
If you wish to exploit a suspected poker bot, you must pay close attention to its tendencies. How frequently does it fold to a 3bet? How frequently does it fold to a cbet? How frequently does it cbet, and how does it react when it is raised after cbetting? If a bot is improperly programmed, it will react to these stimuli in very simple, predictable ways.
I've suspected I was playing against a poorly programmed bot and discovered that if they miss, they just fold the flop. Even if I bet the huge blind, if they didn't have a pair or a nice draw, they'd fold. Once I found it out, I'd try to get into as many heads-up pots as possible with that account and just bet the flip, expecting them to fold the bulk of the time.
The secret to beating a bot is to discover an area of the game that has been poorly developed and put yourself in that circumstance as often as possible. However, this takes a lot of trial and error, and considering that the bot could be highly coded - or just a genuine player - it's best to just report them and let the site deal with them.
While stories concerning poker bots make for fantastic clickbait, they're not as common as people assume - but if you suspect an account, be careful to report it to the site security team.
How good are poker bots?
They are pretty good, but not all of them. No one will share or show a good poker bot source code, at least now we can say that NL hold'em HU bot exists and no one can beat a computer.
Libratus is the culmination of years of Artificial Intelligence and PhD research, paired with a massive supercomputer that costs $30,000 per day to rent! Libratus faced four top-tier HUNL players in January 2017: Jason Les, Dong Kim, Daniel McAulay, and Jimmy Chou.
Libratus pushed the boundaries of poker strategy. Using a combination of strategies, bet amounts, overbets, and balanced frequencies that no human or "solver" could ever hope to achieve.
Are poker bots profitable?
Poker bots can be profitable if they are programmed and used correctly. They have the ability to play a large number of hands at a fast pace without getting tired or making emotional decisions.
Are there any free/open source poker bots?
Yes, there are free poker bots available on the internet. However, it's important to note that using a poker bot is considered cheating and is against the terms of service of most online poker rooms. Additionally, using a bot can also lead to your account being banned, and you may lose any funds you have on the site.
Some bots that you can play against:
It's important to remember that poker is a game of skill, and using a bot takes away from the challenge and excitement of the game. If you want to improve your poker skills, it's best to practice and study the game rather than relying on a bot.