Online poker room partypoker recently provided another monthly update on its efforts to fight bots. In August 2019, the poker room shut down another 48 known bot accounts. That brings the total since December 2018 to 649.
Few bots, much dough
The 48 bot accounts is a fairly small number, the second smallest since partypoker began providing updates (the first update was for December through March, so we don’t know exact counts for a few months). The lowest figure was 42, counted in May 2019. Three quarters of the eliminated bots were from the global “dot com” site, while the other quarter was from the “dot eu” site.
What is really interesting about this is that the amount of money confiscated from the bot accounts was very high relative to other months. $148,668 was taken from the 36 dot com accounts, while €29,495 was seized from the dot eu accounts.
The dollar amount from the dot com portion is higher than any individual month to date, even those months with many more bot accounts closed. July, for instance, had nearly twice as many bots closed – 89 – but only a bit more than half as much money from those accounts ($76,267).
The first thought in seeing that number is that – whoa – those bot accounts took a ton more money per account than in other months. That is not necessarily true, though. It is entirely possible that those accounts really took their opponents for a ride. It is also very possible that the bot owners in other months had simply been able to reduce their account balances via well-timed cash outs before getting caught.
We don’t know how much money these accounts took from players. It could have been millions. Perhaps they were able to withdraw truckloads of cash before getting shut down. I would guess that’s unlikely, as red flags would have been raised, but we just don’t know.
Bots don’t have human failings
Bots are interesting in that they are not cheating in a way that many people think of cheating. They can’t see players’ cards, they don’t know what cards are coming, and in most cases, I think it’s unlikely they are colluding with each other (though that’s possible). They also fill tables and make money for the online poker rooms.
The problem with bots is that they have a significant competitive advantage against human players. We humans can make incorrect math calculations. We can make poor decision. We go on tilt. We get tired. Bots don’t do that.
Bots can play as long as their user keeps them logged on. They never get tired and don’t have emotions that affect the decisions they make. They can make complex calculations instantly and have no problem working multiple tables. There are certainly times that humans can make better adjustments or reads than bots, but the ability of a bot to just keep going and going and going without a problem will generally make a well-programmed bot better than the average player.
partypoker has pledge to issue these bot reports every month, so keep an eye out for another in October.