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How to beat a poker bot?

The online poker community currently faces a new threat due to the growing number of bots. These bots are programmed to play poker flawlessly based on computer-processed calculations and an analysis of their opponents’ moves. Naturally, many poker players are now hesitant to play on the online poker rooms that a software playing on behalf of a human can beat them easily and win away their cash. In order to safeguard the players and avoid losing their active users, the poker platforms are taking various measures to prevent the bots from hampering their business too. However, considering that these platforms are still a good way to win money through poker, a large section of the players are looking for ways to beat the bots rather than just quit playing.

How can you recognise a bot?

In an online poker room, recognizing a bot is actually easy if one knows what to look for. One of the problems in recognising bots is that most players get defeated by them before even realising that they are facing a bot. However, a bot can actually be identified from its behaviour and beaten.

  • Similarly-timed decisions: As the bots are just computer software, they tend to make their decisions at a fixed timing. This is simply because bots only need a short amount of time for processing and it doesn’t vary much. By observing the timings, it is possible to recognise a bot. The same method can also be used to identify the ring bots because if a group of players at a table need exactly the same amount of time to make their decisions, it is quite likely that they are actually bots.
  • Unresponsiveness in chats: Usually, human players respond in the chat when spoken to. However, the bots aren’t programmed to converse. They can neither understand what’s being said to them nor respond. Hence, an easy way to detect a bot is to type something directed at the suspected account in chat and check if it responds.
  • Identical sizes of bets: The bots are typically programmed to act in a certain way. Unlike humans, bots don’t actively vary in their behaviour a lot. A bot would typically make bets of similar amounts on every turn. This can act as a valuable hint in detecting the bots too. Other than the bets, the lines used by the bots are too similar and repeated to be simply coincidence.
  • Constant aggression: Quite often, the bots play in a very aggressive manner. This is because while humans may be afraid of losing money, bots do not even understand the concept of money. They are just programmed with specific rules and strategies to follow. As bots generally have a high success rate, the programmers tend to design them to place large bets. The aggressiveness and effectiveness of the bots’ playstyle are also one of the factors that enable them to win the games quickly.

Bots are weak

Despite how effective bots are and all the advantages they have over human players, most bots are weak. Very few bots have been able to build a good track record of winning the mid-limit or high-limit games. As mentioned earlier, a player can beat a bot once he knows it is a bot. This means that bots are actually beatable with the right strategy. As long as a bot isn’t detected as one, it can seem to be strong. Moreover, most of the reliable online poker rooms deploy security systems to detect and ban bots. In many cases, this gives the real players an advantage if a bot gets banned and is replaced by a weaker player.

Is beating a bot possible?

Beating a bot isn’t that hard for the experienced players. The reason why most bots are weak is that in order to develop a really powerful bot, the developer would have to be an expert at poker as well as coding. As such programmers are quite limited in number, the probability of facing an unbeatable bot is very low. Most of the bots have certain holes in their playing strategies. The human players can look out for these holes and exploit them to defeat the bots.

One of the common holes in the strategies used by the bots is that they cannot detect the changes in bet sizing soon enough. Hence, if the player facing the bot keeps on changing the size, the bot would have no clue and would end up making mistakes. However, this technique does not work on all bots as each bot is programmed differently.

Are bots inherently bad?

Whether bots are to be considered as something bad depends on the rules of the poker site where they are being used. While some poker sites do allow the use of bots, others do not. In many cases, the poker sites which do not allow bots deploy countermeasures which ensure that the bots wouldn’t win. They make use of the flaw common among almost every bot, i.e., they function in a predictable way. The poker sites have come up with various codes and calculations to benefit the human players. If a player reads and understands these calculations before the game, he can easily exploit the defects created by the site to prevent the bots from winning.

However, there are poker sites which allow people to use bots as long as they do not cheat by colluding. Collusion is a technique through which a set of bots share their cards with each other and work together to defeat their opponent.