Posts Tagged ‘Bots’

PROOF: Rock Paper Scissors is Rigged!

by , Jul 2, 2012 | 7:47 pm

Have you seen this yet? A Roshambo-playing robot claims to be capable of beating any human at Rock Paper Scissors — and supposedly can do so because it cheats!

Pretty awesome, technologically … even though Pokerati’s official stance is still that cheating is bad.

It seems like only yesterday and forever ago that some of the biggest RPS action in the world was going down at the WSOP, spearheaded by guys wearing patches for Full Tilt Poker.

It’s about to Be Illegal to Phone/Text while Driving in Nevada

by , Sep 26, 2011 | 5:39 am

A new California-like law goes into effect next week in Nevada, making it illegal to text-and-drive, as well as use handheld devices for verbal and non-verbal communications. While it’s not clear to me if truckers got a carveout for CB usage nor where non-verbal communication via middle finger might fall … @JessWelman will likely be disappointed to learn the ban applies at stop signs and stop lights, too (“intelligent multitasking” notwithstanding).

The imminent talk-and-text ban on the Las Vegas Strip and across Nevada will not only have a notable impact on 10s of thousands of local lives … but also gives a good microcosm look at how a bill may or may not become a law. Stuff to think about as we watch the next push for federal online poker legislation this fall.

safety plate

Online Poker Logic
When I first heard about a “distracted driving” bill in Nevada, I was immediately concerned about lives lost and unnecessarily put at risk my future as a photographer of mildly amusing and sometimes pokery license plates. Though I have obtained many of these images with a handheld calling device while driving on Nevada highways, fortunately, using online poker logic, I’m sure I can find a lawyer who will tell me I’m totally in the clear.

nevada license plates


Poker Bots: Come With Me if You Want to Live

by , Feb 20, 2011 | 7:32 am

tim chilcote poker bots

Tim Chilcote


Machines have always been the enemy of man, at least in movies and on television, yet somehow we never see our A.I. overlords coming until it’s too late.

Case in point, in Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Doctor Miles Bennett Dyson spends a lifetime developing artificial intelligence as part of the Skynet project, only to discover that his work is more suitable for evil than for good – the price? His life. You remember the scene: Dyson detonates his own lab, and in doing so blows himself up, sacrificing himself to save us from an army of Schwarzeneggers.

With the computer Watson now a winning contestant on Jeopardy!, the man v. machine debate has been rekindled, and it would seem that we’re in danger again, if not for our lives (yet), then for pride. In a recent Slate article, “Jeopardy, Schmeopardy: Why IBM’s next target should be a machine that plays poker“, author Chris Wilson asks whether the next logical progression from Jeopardy!’s Watson is a poker playing robot, and suggests that robots have a lot to teach us about poker, and might even be — gasp! — better.

Bots sound dangerous, and it would be easy to infer that their skill is only going to grow and that their dominance of the poker world is a forgone conclusion.

Poker bots have been hot topic in online poker for years. The fervor usually stems from a fear of the unknown. Gambling robots reached a fever pitch in 2007 when Phil Laak and Ali Eslami played against the Polaris poker bot. At the time I asked myself the obvious question – is Polaris the next terminator, and if not, then what’s the point of this experiment and why should I care? I sat down that summer with computer-poker researcher Darse Billings of the University of Alberta Computer Poker Research Group to have him explain how Polaris actually worked and to see what he thought was the point of his poker robot experiment, just to put my mind at ease.


New Poker Game for XBox Live

by , Feb 1, 2010 | 5:57 am

It really is amazing, when you think about it, that 10s of millions of people worldwide are competing in games (whether they be sports or shoot-em-ups) on XBox Live, and they’re doing it for no money!

But with Sega opening up a real-money poker room (and casino), you gotta wonder if the likes of Microsoft wouldn’t try to get in on the real-money gaming/gambling action if the UIGEA were suddenly to go away. ** (You also gotta wonder how the guy in the picture even saw the flop. Can you imagine how soft these Xbox games must be?!)

I don’t mean to overstate anything here — because poker is just a game, after all, that we know plenty of people enjoy playing for — but the new Hoyle Texas Hold’em for Xbox Live leaves you wondering if they aren’t preparing themselves for a future where they stand to make more than $10 per download.

And looking at the key features of this new release …

Gamers can play as their Microsoft Avatar.
* Single player games against up to 9 AI players.
* Mixed Multiplayer games with any combination of up to 9 AI and/or human players.
* Fully customizable games let the player decide game type, table minimums, mix of AI vs. human players and much more.
* Ability to reserve seats for private custom games.
* Deep statistic tracking covers over 50 key stats categories found to be the most important to professional poker players.

You gotta wonder if any new players stepping onto the online poker landscape might not have a different outlook on things like bots and datamining than current industry leaders.

** The makers of Hoyle Texas Hold’em have slot machine games, and handheld iPhone versions, too.

ALT HED: Hoyle Sounds a Lot like Doyle

Kasparov: Computer Poker > Computer Chess

“A game whose complexities can be detailed on a single piece of paper”?

by , | 2:39 am

Legendary chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov is in the New York Review of Books saying (via the NY Times ideasblog) it’s time for computer programmers who make chess-related AI to learn a thing or two from the people (bots?) playing programmable poker.

Consider it a backhanded compliment:

Perhaps chess is the wrong game for the times. Poker is now everywhere, as amateurs dream of winning millions and being on television for playing a card game whose complexities can be detailed on a single piece of paper. But while chess is a 100 percent information game—both players are aware of all the data all the time—and therefore directly susceptible to computing power, poker has hidden cards and variable stakes, creating critical roles for chance, bluffing, and risk management.

Bots Invading Facebook Poker

by , Jan 18, 2010 | 2:35 pm

This isn’t particularly new — has been out there since August — but it’s the first I noticed … Zynga, the free Texas Hold’em game on Facebook and MySpace and therefore one of the biggest online poker communities out there, apparently has bots growing out the ying-yang. And now, as of about a week ago, after some fixes and revisions, it’s finally working well.

The code for it is publicly available on Google-code:

It’s already had more than 88,000 downloads. If even just 1 percent of those are installed to fruition … well that’s a lot of bots competing for your fake chips and theoretically feeding the imaginary rake.

And here’s a rockin’ video showing exactly how to install it.

Hmm, interesting. More confirmation that bots are a real issue, and will be a major factor in future online poker operations. Also kinda funny to think that bot armies are essentially being trained playing free poker … where they theoretically can eventually work their way up in stakes like a human player who gets better and better.

RE: Bots on Trial

by , Oct 7, 2009 | 1:14 am

We’re not the only ones intrigued by the Kennedy vs. Full Tilt bot case.

Courthouse News Service took note. It’s like a Thrillist for lawyers … a subscription newsletter keeping attorneys abreast of “the most prolific and weighty litigation” in virtually all the courts in the USA (and Canada, Puerto Rico, and Guam).

And the Financial Times (the Wall Street Journal of the UK, you know, where all those European online sites that don’t accept American players reside) sees it as a bit more of a federal case:

Full Tilt accused of flouting US internet gambling rules

RE: Yet Another Full Tilt Lawsuit (Bots on Trial)

Case summary

by , Oct 4, 2009 | 6:24 pm

Here’s the actual Kennedy vs. FTP lawsuit, 19 pages, filed by Cyrus Sanai, a lawyer out of Beverly Hills.

And here’s the 2+2 thread from 2007 when the key plaintiff — Lary Kennedy (aka “pokergirl_z” on Full Tilt) — first spelled out her beefs that led to this lawsuit … mostly stemming from a series of heads-up matches against a Full Tilt player known as “TheComplainer”.

Kennedy is the real plaintiff. Greg Omoroy is just a guy who owned another account she used (which is a whole-nother issue altogether). And though they aren’t formally seeking class-action status, they do seem to be laying the groundwork for such a possibility — an aggressive legal play for sure.

Essentially, the allegations are that Full Tilt — with unfettered ability to label a player a bot, confiscate her money, and smear her name by calling her a bot — constitutes organized crime … being perpetuated by Californians against Californians, in violation of all sorts of California business and gaming laws.

They also say that “Playing Against the Pros” is tantamount to gambling against the “house” … there’s an added boogeyman with allegations that Full Tilt is running its own bots on the site … and a new-to-me company gets discussed, too: Verta Enterprises, out of St. Kitts.

On the surface, that seems less shakedown/extortion-y than other California lawsuits against Full Tilt. But the class-action possibilities suggest this suit is really looking for penalties in the hundreds of millions or more — you know, the kind of money the Feds have been collecting from longtime online gambling purveyors looking to get on the USA clean list.

If it turns out pokergirl_z was not a bot — and she claims to have video proof — it could be quite the expensive security goof.

Click below for further breakdown of the suit:


Yet Another Full Tilt Lawsuit: Not Bots, Plaintiffs Say

by , Oct 1, 2009 | 10:47 pm

Two players in California have sued presumable principals of Full Tilt Poker in LA Superior Court. Lary Kennedy (aka Poker Girl) and Greg Omotoy (a Vegas-reared LA nightclub manager) claim that Full Tilt confiscated $80,000 from their accounts, believing they were bots.

We haven’t seen the legal docs yet, but named in the lawsuit: Chris Ferguson, Mike Matusow, Howard Lederer, and Phil Ivey (a November Niner).


Poker Legends Sued for Robot Fraud

For all the obvious attempted shakedowns and plausibly legit payment beefs, this one (not sure how much they are seeking in damages) could be downright fascinating — on its surface at least — because it cuts to some key issues that are super-relevant to the past, present, and future of online poker … where the decisions any court renders (assuming there’s at least a smidgen of factual basis for the claim) affect not just the plaintiffs and defendants, but 10s of thousands if not millions of players.


Paul Legget Speaks (at Length) about Tokwiro, AP, UB, Kahnawake, Joe Norton

And Annie Duke Says: “I don’t think there’s anywhere safer to play.”

by , Nov 13, 2008 | 6:49 am

It’s not quite 60 Minutes … in fact, it’s closer to 73 minutes. Absolute Poker/Ultimate Bet honcho Paul Leggett speaks with the CBC’s (Canadian Broadcast Company) Susan Reisler for an extremely detailed and stoic Q&A. I can tell you I’m very suspicious. This looks like an infomercial to me. (The apparent title of the show is simply “Poker” — I wasn’t aware of that investigative journalism news program.) Though she gets into all the controversial issues — and even the inbred nature of AP/UB/Tokwiro/Norton/Kahnawake — there’s no follow-up to anything that might sound peculiar (like the inbred nature of AP/UB/Tokwiro/Norton/Kahnawake) … she just allows him to state the facts and timelines, as if he were giving a legal deposition under questioning from his own attorney.

CONFIRMED: This is indeed a production by Tokwiro Enterprises, aka AP/UB. Anyone wanna wager on how many attorneys were standing off-camera to keep all commentary in legal line?

Sorry if I sound cynical. Really, it’s an admirable effort from Paul Leggett, the guy Annie Duke stands so strongly behind. Via the mock news program format, he addresses just about any question any of us have had about the whole Black Sox of Poker sitch. Kudos to you, Mr. Leggett, seriously, and thanks for finally coming forward with so much candid info. Personally, I’m starting to see your point of view on all this … and there were only a few questions where your answers made me wonder why Ms. Reisler didn’t follow up with: “But don’t you think that sounds fucked up?”

Click here for the entire 9-part library
… bonus points if you can find the point where Leggett says “We were the victim here.”

Also check out the vid below, where Annie Duke speaks her mind on why she’s so loyal and has so much faith in AP/UB security … right down to algorithms and dealing with bots … and be sure to watch 4 minutes and 10 seconds in, where Reisler does her 60 Minutes style wrap-up: Everything is safe and secure, and Russell Hamilton is the Ultimate Bad Guy — he’s not part of Tokwiro and is in really big trouble if they can ever get their hands on him.

[Cue neoclassical new-age healing music.]

NOTE: KafkaCR? That’s the new YouTube video uploader’s name … OK, the CR is for Costa Rica … but Kafka? The Jewish-Bohemian novelist who, according to Wikipedia, wrote about “troubled individuals in a nightmarishly impersonal and bureaucratic world”?

Oh, wait … I get it … Metamorphisis! Very clever project name, whether intentional or not.

Programmer reveals his secrets …

Rise of the (Real) Poker Bots

Artificial opponents emerge from Dallas underground, collude online

by , Jun 10, 2008 | 3:14 pm

A declared working poker bot operation in Dallas, TX, and on PokerStars.

A fascinating (if not challenging) story that you can only presume would be of great interest to anyone in the online poker-room security biz, or anyone who wants to philosophize on the meaning of “good for poker”:

How I Built a Working Online Poker Bot, Part 3: The Million Dollar Pet Project

The programmer in question draws inspiration from Big Blue, the IBM supercomputer that challenged chess champ Gary Kasparov. And thus, at any given time online, here’s what you’re potentially up against:

click to enlarge

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

The Anarchist’s Pokerbook

How to Build a Poker Bot

by , May 10, 2008 | 1:18 am

James in Dallas sends along a link to some talk going on among not-so-pokery programmer types about how to build a poker bot. (I sent a reply to the Craigslist ad — using a different email address even — but for some reason those poker-bot hawkers haven’t yet replied.)

Anyhow, the code monkeys have been chirping about details for nearly two years, and now, perhaps like scientists working on the Manhattan Project, some are showing their work:

Poker bots, underground online poker boiler rooms, and collusion are a reality. That doesn’t mean online poker’s not worth playing, just that it pays to be educated about what’s possible. Furthermore, there should be public discussion regarding what to do about it because one thing’s certain: computers and programming languages aren’t exactly going to be getting less powerful. The rise of the poker bots is a virtual certainty. I’d like to see the major online poker venues open up their famously vague “bot detection” and “anti-collusion” strategies to public scrutiny, as cryptography and security providers learned to do years ago. The best security algorithms and techniques all have the weight of public review behind them and I don’t see how online poker’s any different.

Poker 4 Sale

And Some Services Wanted

by , May 9, 2008 | 2:19 am

I like to troll Craigslist every so often for some hot, anonymous NSA poker action. Not looking for games — there’s no shortage of ’em here in LV — just wanting to take the pulse of what people are pushing related to poker. Look at the ads all together and you get some interesting tells on the state of the poker world and its semi-anonymous inhabitants:

There are a lot of chips , tables, fancy custom tables and chips and tables for sale, of course, and for $15 a made-for-TV WPT video game. WSOP: Tournament of Champions for the Playstation goes for $8

For $150k you can have documentary footage of the rise and fall of Jamie Gold.

A WSOP baby’s blanket.

More chips, from the Aladdin, and from the Atlantic City Playboy Club. “Omaha Table” from Sante Fe Station.

Perhaps frighteningly, there are even poker bots for sale. At least one suspicious reader is questioning whether or not this is legal.


Perspectives Weekly

by , Apr 12, 2008 | 6:58 am

In this week’s episode:

There’s No Cheating in Online Poker!
Now that we have your attention…
We thought that we should let ya know that some companies are boldly selling poker bot software for under $200, claiming big returns on your investment! Good luck with that! =0)

Our Tribute to the FBI…
We just LOVE the FBI…
I mean, why wouldn’t we love the FBI? They give us so much free comedy material that we would otherwise have to write for ourselves! God bless those brave men and women fighting the tyranny of online gambling!

Washington State to be a Battleground… Again…
The War Rages on…
First, it was J Todd battling the State Gambling Commission over his websites in 2006. Then our friend Nick Jenkins was actually arrested and charged with online gambling in 2007. Now, in early 2008, Attorney and poker player Lee Rousso is challenging the State’s online gambling ban in court!

Online Poker = Cheating, Robbery, War, and Death (?)

by , Mar 12, 2008 | 12:40 pm

Bots, colluders, super-user accounts … all things online poker players need to be wary of … and now, according to a presumably well-respected tech site, we also need to be afraid of Trojans. The claim is that poker players have been ripped off for millions of Euros:

“Online poker players are a massive target for hackers. People play it with real money obviously, so they’re a big target. We were just investigating a case where a professional online poker player was attacked by someone he would play against regularly online. And we’re talking about professional players, and big money. Hundreds of thousands of euros on the table at a time,” he said.

“All of a sudden he started losing. He would regularly lose even when he had a great hand – pocket aces for example. If he had an unbeatable hand, the other players would simply fold. And when he tried to bluff, he would lose. He lost a lot of money this way, we’re talking hundreds of thousands of euros.

“This went on for weeks. And when we looked into it we realised that one of the other players at the table had sent him a tool. A calculater to help optimise the poker playing or whatever. And we found that the application included a Trojan.

“Which means that when he was playing online poker against these people who were in another country, the guy could press a button and he would receive a screenshot of the target’s screen. So he sees the hold cards. If you’re playing poker and the other players know your cards, it’s pretty hard to win.

“It’s a clever attack because the hacker could have just stolen the account and moved the money away. But he would have been caught. But this way the target was losing his money to someone else and he didn’t realise it was a con. I don’t think many online poker players realise that those kind of attacks are being done.”

I’m not sure if this article is a good warning or just anti-online poker propaganda. It brings to light a case where online poker was apparently used to launder money to fund insurgents fighting against Americans in Iraq. Yikes.