The New Gambler: Poker Bots

But they still can't beat the best humans
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Mar 14, 2011 2:57 PM CDT
A man plays poker on his computer connected to an internet gaming site from his home in Manassas, VA in October 2006.   (Getty Images/ AFP PHOTO/Karen BLEIER)

(Newser) – Online poker’s not just for humans anymore: Robots have entered the game, and they’re winning tens of thousands, the New York Times reports. Such bots have existed for a while—but only recently have they gotten good at the game, thanks to advances in artificial intelligence. Top game sites like PokerStars and Full Tilt are fighting back against the bots, cutting some accounts and in some cases returning vast quantities of money to real players.

Bots are easy to buy online. One seller notes that some 400 of his customers are barred from Full Tilt, which is thus losing $70,000 in monthly revenue, he says. “They really must have wanted us gone,” though other sites aren't cracking down. But despite advances, “more than 90%” of the bots are bad, and “are losing money,” says a consultant. A professor observes that they “can rival good players, but not the best—yet.”

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