Full Tilt Poker, the world’s second largest online poker room, sent an e-mail to an unknown number of recipients last week regarding the measures being taken to improve its security, according to PokerTableRatings and other outlets. The e-mail informed players that the site had completed an investigation that found several users in violations of Full Tilt’s Terms of Service, some of whom were discovered cheating through the use of bots.
Each cheater had their account shut down and all of their funds were confiscated. Additional details of the incidents remain minimal, as Full Tilt didn’t disclose the number of accounts that were shut down or how much was seized, but the site promised that any players affected by the cheaters would be reimbursed for their losses.
“For a number of reasons, we are unable to provide additional information regarding this case, including the players involved and the game type where it occurred,” Full Tilt Poker said in the e-mail. The online poker site’s investigation exposed a software release by Shanky Technologies, who owns and operates a website that sells bots for a variety of different games, including No Limit Hold’em, Omaha, and even blackjack. Shanky Technologies apologized to its customers and said that Full Tilt had “quite suddenly and without warning froze all the accounts… although it tolerated the presence of bots all this time.”
A poker bot, for those unaware, is a form of software that registers for games and multi-tables without the assistance of a user. They’re mostly used in cash games, but have also been found in sit and gos, where the software uses Nash Equilibrium and an ICM calculator to make optimal moves against opponents. Most of the major online poker rooms have made concentrated attempts to prevent the use of such software. In July, PokerStars cracked down on a bot ring based in China that had played at least eight million hands and earned $57,000 at Double or Nothing sit and gos.
Full Tilt has also been in the news involving bot use in the past. In October 2009, two customers who had their accounts frozen because Full Tilt believed they were using bots sued the site. Lary “pokergirl z” Kennedy and Greg Omotoy filed their complaint on October 1st and levied accusations of fraud, libel, slander, false advertising, and racketeering against the online poker room after having more than $80,000 confiscated.
The suit accused Full Tilt pros Chris Ferguson and Andy Bloch of creating bots to populate slow cash game tables on the site and increase the profits of the company. Full Tilt responded to Kennedy’s lawsuit by claiming the suit was baseless and stated that it “has never knowingly allowed ‘bots’ to play on its site.” The case went to the United States District Court for the Central District of California in April, but it was dismissed by Judge Margaret Morrow, who stated that Kennedy had failed to “detail many portions of her case regarding state violations and, in particular, there could be no claim under the RICO Act.”
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