Fear and Loathing in the Virtual Poker Room
Many of us play poker online every day. Some of us lose money to the evil two-headed beast that is the bad player, one side paying you off, the other side hitting their prayer gut-shot after going all-in with their 64o. Some win money on a consistent basis, closely following the rules of bankroll management while four-tabling for hours on end. Again others play once in a while because it is fun. The competition is fun, the card game is fun, playing against other humans from around the globe is fun. There are always people in the world who are out to ruin everyone's fun, and it is no different online.
Conspiracy theorists could likely ramble for hours about the corruption of Internet poker rooms, and all the cheating that is allowed to happen, and the large number of bots that play online. Most of us realize that this is not the case, and in fact feel safer playing the game online than live in some instances. However, once in a while something will rear an ugly face from the tortuous depths of human indecency.
Recently a site was brought to my attention. This site claims to offer the reader a poker robot named Poker-Bot Pro; a software program that will play the game for you completely hands-free while you sit idly in your recliner watching ESPN and drinking Bud. The program is touted as a way to take emotion out of the game so that you can make hundreds and even thousands of dollars without doing anything. The site is a long read, with a lot of propagandist material that one would expect from the Home Shopping Network, a pop-up window, or spam. I asked the owner and operator of the site a few questions, and he was kind enough to give one or two answers.
PokerNews: This bot actually plays for you, rather than just suggesting correct plays?
David Glazen: Yes. There is one part that suggests correct plays and another to act on the plays by simulating mouse clicks
PN: What game(s) and limit structure is the bot particularly designed to play?
DG: The bot can only play limit games - it cannot currently play no limit.
PN: Am I correct in saying that your bot has two parts: an AI Engine and mouse-click simulator?
DG: Yes you are completely correct - the trick is how to connect one with the other.
PN: Could you explain, at least in brief, what it takes to make the program work once downloaded?
DG:Briefly you will have to modify a script that is included with the download. Install several pieces of software and then run the software and the modified script.
PN: You mentioned the help of friends from a university, what university was that?
DG:The university of Toronto
PN: Could you explain the artificial intelligence to an extent? What are some of the statistics and other facts the program processes?
PN: Is it possible to use only the AI feature to suggest the best play while the user actually carries out the actions?
PN: Has any site or some sort of 'poker official' contacted you with shutdown requests, or have there been other similarly negative responses in relation to your offering?
DG: None whatsoever.
PN: How long have you been using your software online?
DG: Around a year.
PN: Could you give us a ballpark figure of how much you have made using the software?
Before you withdraw all of your money from your favorite poker site, please finish this article. I want to point some things out to you. I think there are a few cards missing from the deck.
First of all, let me point out that after being extremely wordy on his website, he scarcely uses complete sentences when answering my questions. That tends to put doubt in my mind as to the authenticity of his claims. A quiet website with a few visitors a day will keep him under the radar while creating a profit for him. Notice also, the questions he does not answer. He is evidently unwilling to talk about any of the statistics taken into consideration in his programming. That question was, admittedly, a bit loaded. I knew that if he answered it, he would need to be very accurate for the poker world to take him seriously. The math in limit poker is understood by many, and if he left a hole it would be easy to find. The fact that he did not answer it could either show that he is protecting his 'intellectual property', or, to the cynical, there is no actual answer to the question.
Probably the biggest factor that makes me question his credibility are the numerous instances in which "David Glazen" has made the claim that he is going to remove the site from public view forever. When I originally came across the site, it was to be removed as of March 5th. It was then pushed back to the 11th, then the 16th, etc. The current schedule advises its disappearance will be March 24th. I suppose we will see. He claims that the program must be sold to only a few people to "remain effective."
What am I trying to say to you? I think this is highly questionable at best, much like I question the existence of bots at all in online poker rooms. This could be a hoax on top of a hoax, where the very existence of bots must be called into question in the first place. Until David, and indeed the industry as a whole can prove to me that bots do exist, I am going to keep on playing my normal game, and let the chips fall where they may. I don't think any of us need to worry about anything. Keep on playing the game we all love, and enjoy every second of it.
And while you're there, good luck and good odds!
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