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Poker Bots - How They Work

Poker Bots – How Poker Bots Work

Like it or not, poker bots are a reality in the online poker world. Here's how they work.

Poker bots – the ghosts in the machine

Poker bots are both an extreme annoyance and a grim reality of online poker. What are they? They are pieces of software that people employ to play in their place. They use artificial intelligence to make the best calls possible and maximise poker earnings.

Some people say they're just a big cheat. Others say that they're a by-product of the reality of online poker and that we should embrace them.

But how do they work? What makes them tick? Let's take a look under the hood of a poker bot.

How do poker bots work?

In the early days, people who used poker analysis software to help them make decisions had to work very hard. The software was capable of crunching the numbers and suggesting actions, but you had to punch that data into the software, and then personally enact its responses, typing them into the online poker client.

But things have got a bit more sophisticated, and online poker bots can now interact directly with poker websites. People who use them fire them up, give them a poker account to use and sit back as the bot begins to play.

A poker bot collects data all the time on the opponents it is facing. It remembers every move they made, and can start to draw up statistical probabilities of their actions based on how they've been playing in the past. It's memory is flawless because it's a machine.

It's unlikely that a human player would ever be that meticulous, and not just because we're partial to a few drinks while playing.

Next, the bot has no emotions the way people do. All of its actions are based purely on mathematical analysis of what's going on in front of it. It has no fear of losing because it doesn't understand the concept of money to begin with. This makes it impervious to the kind of intimidation tactics that work against humans.

For example, a person might consider folding if they had only a middling pair and their opponent shoves all of their massive stack in. But a bot would be thinking about the fact that 57.382% of previous hands against this particular opponent have turned out to be bluffs, and that therefore this middling pair has a better than average chance of being solid.

Bots in collusion – how does it work?

The biggest problem with bots is not that they make better poker decisions. This is in fact debatable, as most poker bots rely on a set of rules and formulae set by their programmer, and must be constantly tweaked to achieve truly profitable results. Most poker bots can, in fact, be defeated by a sufficiently experienced player.

However, what if there's more than one bot at the table? What if they're cheating? A new breed of bots uses an external server to share hand data. When three or more bots are sitting at a table sharing their hole cards, then no matter how experienced the human players are, they're going to lose.