Bots - Threat or Gold Mine?
guy is playing like a machine", amazed poker commentators
often burst out when a player demolishes all opposition
at the table. In live games it's just a figure of
speech, but when you're playing online it could be
reality. You might be facing a poker bot - a vicious
opponent that will capitalize on your every mistake,
but never make any for you to take advantage of. A
card counting, calculating monster that feeds on poker
chips and only leaves crumbs for its human
rivals to share.
fear of poker bots is spreading rapidly in the Internet
poker community. But how realistic are these threats
- should we resign, buy poker
sets, and start playing home games, or is
it safe to keep gambling in cyberspace? The answers
to these questions depend on who you ask. Poker room
representatives claim to be on top of the issue. The
games are "meticulously monitored", and players are
blocked, and their accounts closed, if any kind of
unusual activity is detected. So, if you ask the poker
rooms they will tell you that the Internet is an absolutely
secure poker environment.
of poker bots have another story to tell. A number
of programs that allegedly will give you an edge in
the online poker games are available on the Internet.
Of course they have all been "carefully tested" and
"have shown great profits". According to one programmer,
his poker bot increased its original bankroll by 35%
in a test over five days in which the bot played 7,000
hands. In this programmer's opinion the poker rooms
should stop working against poker bots, and instead
embrace them as a part of online poker. His own program's
success is largely dependent on the skill of the user,
and he thinks that the poker bots should just be another
factor in the game.
poker rooms do not share this view. The say they have
control over the bots, and even if one or two should
happen to be playing in their games, they aren't very
good. The human players won't have any problems what
so ever beating these machines; such is the belief
of the poker establishment.
that's the most important question of all. How good
are the poker bots? The people trying to make money
of them of course say they're excellent and foolproof,
and the poker rooms say they're pretty lousy. But
what do more impartial experts have to say? A common
view is that the complexity of poker makes it difficult
to create successful poker bots. Compared to chess,
a game that's all about calculation, poker contains
a lot of information that is unavailable to the player.
A new "Deep Blue", (the
chess computer that defeated the world champion Garri
is able to handle a full poker table, make bluffs,
set traps, and so on, is years away at best, according
to the authorities on the subject.
threat of machines cleaning out the online poker tables
isn't a real serious one at the moment. However, the
programmers won't give up easily, and new versions
of poker bots will keep popping up. This might actually
be a gold mine for solid poker players. They will
have every chance to make money off these more or
less failing attempts to beat the games. Bad poker
players have to be more careful. On the other hand,
bad players will probably lose whether their opponents
are humans or machines.
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Questions and Answers
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