In light of a Twitch stream that showcased an obvious bot, the Winning Poker Network (WPN) and its premiere site, America’s Cardroom (ACR), have instituted a new reimbursement policy for those who have been cheated by bots. Also notable is the fact that this is a rare instance in which WPN and ACR have publicly addressed bots.
The Twitch stream was that of Eric Collier, who was playing in a $16.50 multi-table tournament on ACR with a $10,000 guaranteed prize pool. He made it to heads-up against a player named FoxRox behind in chips, but still in good shape.
Collier didn’t notice that FoxRox was a bot at first, but as play went on, he and his viewers in chat became more and more suspicious. In a case of what looks like a malfunctioning bot, FoxRox gave Collier a walk in the big blind every single time. That is, whenever FoxRox was in the small blind, it folded. Normally in heads-up play, players raise most of their small blinds. FoxRox quite literally folded every time. When it was Collier’s turn in the small blind, FoxRox folded to a raise almost every time. There were a few instances in which FoxRox re-raised huge, which Collier figured was because the bot had a massive hand.
Additionally, FoxRox’s time to act was easily predictable.
Eventually Collier won the tournament, just grinding down FoxRox as the bot folded hand after hand after hand. If he wasn’t sure for most of heads-up play, Collier really became confident that FoxRox was a bot when FoxRox kept folding even in situations where any human being would make a desperation shove.
On Friday, ACR tweeted, “We are proud to announce the first and only transparent and verifiable reimbursement policy. Taking a stand against bots, we have disabled user FoxRox and refunded 4,001 players for a total of $175,728.80,” along with a link to the new policy:
*WPN’s Reimbursement Policy:
We reimburse money won from players by accounts proven to be breaking WPN’s fair play policies. We use the following method for reimbursement.
a) Tournaments – Ladder Up: We remove the offending player from the payout spot and move each lower payout spot up one position and pay each player the difference between his old spot and new spot.
b) Cash games – We subtract losses to the offending player from wins taken from the offending player in a given session.
We reimburse to a cap of $25,000 per offending player.
The reimbursed funds are distributed to affected players beginning with the most recent occurrence to the oldest.
Naturally, WPN and ACR have received kudos for instituting any sort of concrete policy and appearing to get tougher with bots. The problem many people have, though, is that, aside from the FoxRox instance, it is limiting the reimbursements to $25,000 per caught bot account. Clearly, WPN and ACR are trying to avoid being on the hook for hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars for bot accounts that may have been active for years. Hopefully it won’t be much of an issue going forward and bots will be nabbed before too much damage is done.