French online poker site Winamax has concluded an investigation into alleged bot play by banning two accounts, seizing the funds of one of them. In an interesting decision, the poker room’s management made the results of their investigation public.

The controversy started about two months ago, when players on ClubPoker, a French-language poker message board, presented evidence that two accounts (possibly four) that multi-tabled the €100 and €250 Expresso games were bots. Data showed consistent patterns of play over extended hours, with profits reaching into the millions of Euros. Two accounts under the microscope were named “Twopandas” and “VictoriaMo,” though VictoriaMo was changed to “mr.GR33N13” at some point. The two accounts also never played against each other, an indication that they may have been working together.

Winamax Tests the Alleged Botters

After completing its two month investigation, Winamax posted on ClubPoker it conclusions. Management actually invited both players to the Winamax offices to demonstrate that they were real players. Twopandas refused, but VictoriaMo did travel to Winamax and sat down for lengthy sessions, six-tabling the €100 and €250 Expresso games just as he did online.

Winamax said that the results of the playtest “tend to legitimize” VictoriaMo as a real player:

The VictoriaMo / mr.GR33N13 GTO score is average for its usual sessions and remains significantly better than other regulars in the format.
We did not see any deviation from its game statistics standards.
We noted some differences in reaction times compared to the usual numbers.

Because Twopandas did not comply with the in-person play request, his account was closed and his funds were seized by Winamax. Winamax is going to figure out as best it can who Twopandas victimized and issue refunds.

VictoriaMo did not have his funds seized, but because there was enough suspicion surrounding the account and its possible association with Twopandas, VictoriaMo was banned from Winamax.

Winamax added that it is going to get tougher on suspected botters and cheaters, essentially not giving them the benefit of the doubt. Translated roughly from French on the ClubPoker board:

Our policy has hitherto been based on the presumption of innocence for lack of evidence, and the conclusions of this thorough investigation have motivated us to question this approach by hardening the treatment of similar cases that may arise thereafter. We now reserve the right to apply a precautionary exclusion in order to restore a climate of trust that we consider indispensable.

Really, it is extremely likely that the two accounts in question worked together, as data showed that one would login right after the other logged out, in addition to all the other evidence that they had similar bot profiles. VictoriaMo was able to perform well enough, though, to instill reasonable doubt in Winamax officials as to his bot use. The slower reaction times could be an indicator that he had to think more than his bot, even though he had the playing style and patterns down pat. His botting couldn’t be definitively proven, though, so Winamax had to at least let him have his money.

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