Alleged poker bot ring busted on Swedish poker site
Most of the world outside of Sweden is probably unfamiliar with the online poker site Svenska Spiel, a state-owned and operated online poker room that caters to residents of the Scandinavian country, but the site is now in the throes of one of the biggest cheating scandals in online poker history, with allegations that a poker bot ring has been operating on the site, racking up over $1.8 million in winnings over the past year.
According to PokerFuse.com’s Jocelyn Wood, Svenska Spiel has handed the matter over to Swedish authorities as well as the Swedish Gaming Board and some 14 accounts have been locked on the site. The site has agreed to compensate affected players when the investigation concludes.
As troubling as the $1.8 million price-tag the cheaters allegedly pilfered from Svenska Spiel players is, the investigation’s finding that the bots were profiting playing No limit Holdem games at stakes from $50 to $500 buy-ins. Previously the highest stakes bots had been found to beat was $100 No Limit Holdem, and this was the exception and not the norm. The idea that poker bots were able to beat $2/$5 No Limit Holdem games is very troubling for poker players.
Poker bots are nothing new at online poker sites, having been around since the earliest days of the game. At first they were merely fodder for conspiracy theorist who felt that not only were players using them but the sites would use them to keep games going. Good poker players were more than happy to play against poker bots considering the early versions were terrible, but as time passed online poker bots became far more sophisticated and went from fish to sharks in low limit poker games, especially in Sit & Go tournaments and low limit heads-up cash games.
Back in March of 2011 I wrote an article based on Gabriel Dance’s NY Times Science section article Poker Bots Invade Online Gambling, Dance stated in his article that poker bots have been rumored to be beating $100 NLHE games, a point many people argued. But with the new Svenska Spiel revelations it seems quite likely that this was the case, and now it appears that there may be bots out there capable of besting players in the $500 NLHE games.
Like most technology, poker bots have been progressing at a very rapid pace and it now appears that poker players can no longer shrug their shoulders and dismiss them as “just another beatable opponent”, if poker bots were losing at $25 NLHE in 2009; beating $100 NLHE in 2011; and beating $500 NLHE in 2013; where will they be in 2015?
It seems the only answer to combat the use of poker bots is through prohibition; hopefully with online poker legislation and regulation the sites and the lawmakers make good on their promises to crack-down on cheating and bots.
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