The poker bot issue.
Before we delve any deeper into the bowels of the poker bot problem, let's set a few issues straight: what is a poker bot? A poker bot is a specially engineered piece of software which will play poker instead of the user, according to the specifications he/she will program into it. Programming such a bot can take up as much as 2,500 hours and it is by no means easy to do.
Remember if you figure botting might be a good idea, the software that you buy for about $200 will still take a LOT of work until it will generate money for you.
Let's now take a look at the ongoing war between online poker rooms and (successful) botters. What tools can the would be botter use against the other (human) players and ultimately against the poker room itself, and how can the latter defend against such acts of foul play? Does botting have the potential to destroy the multi million-dollar online poker industry?
How does rakeback infuse positive EV into the hands that you play? By limiting your losses on a hand-by-hand basis. If you sign up to a rakeback deal, you will recover money on hands that you win as well as on those that you lose. You’ll even receive rakeback on tournament fees that you pay.
Players usually have between 5-30 seconds to react to any in-game situation, before being timed out, a span more than sufficient for a high speed processor to do millions of calculations. 1-0 for the botter. There is currently no efficient way for the poker room to control what the player does with the information showing up on his home computer-screen, however, that information needs to be transmitted in order to make play possible. 2-0 for the botter.
What the poker room can do, is inject a llh.dll file into different Windows APIs running on your computer and send back information to the poker room's server regarding their activity. They can also install mouse and keyboard hooks to watch what you're doing on your peripherals. In case they detect any suspicious activity (like a poker bot running in the background) they'll obviously block and delete your account and take away any funds you have in it. While this may seem like an illegal and immoral thing to do, it's being done and chances are there's a llh.dll on your computer too somewhere. That's a point scored by the poker room right there, but the botter will still have a 2-1 lead. Botters can, of course, use anti hook software to block the dll from doing its job, but that may already pass as suspicious activity so there's no real reason for botters to use this solution.
How will our botter circumvent the seemingly unbreakable, and partly immoral wall the room has erected to block his immoral and illegal actions? Simple: he'll run the software on a separate computer, one that has no poker software installed and is thus free of the ominous llh.dll. The second computer will be connected to the first one in a manner that will conceal it completely from the llh.dll supervising the first one, so everything will look like there's a regular human being playing poker there.
3-1 for the botter, and chances are this last blow he landed right under the belt of the poker room, will remain completely unanswered for some time to come.
The only thing poker rooms can do is invest yet more time and energy to go through hand history files, chat behavior supervision and so on. These, however will still leave room for error, and are but a feeble attempt to derail the efforts of a less cautious botter.
Does that make it 3-2 for the botter? I'd say 3-1.5 is closer to the truth. The botter wins by K.O. in the third round.
Does this mean the online poker industry is doomed? It could be. The vast majority of online poker players are habitual losers, driven by dreams of lavish winnings and unworked-for money. As soon as they realize they're playing a game in which they simply can't win, the days of online poker will be numbered. That is, of course, if you consider the multi-million online poker giants down and out for the 10 count.
Which rakeback site offers you the best rake rebate deal? It’s not that hard to tell. Just take a look at the volume and diversity of their rakeback offer and that’ll clue you in on how serious the site really is.
Don’t fall for overly generous rakeback and cashback deals. If a deal looks too good to be true, chances are it is a scam.
The problem is, however, that, as it has been proven through history, whenever there's a lot of money at stake, human ingenuity seems to easily surpass any limits it might have known so far...
It is probably only a question of time until newer and better anti-botting systems will be implemented, but then again, future botters will probably find ways to circumvent that too. If you look at things this way, the ongoing war between botters and poker rooms will probably not see an end in the foreseeable future.
- by Jim Jackson