888poker has recently announced the details of its recent efforts to minimize bots and other fraudulent play on the website. In this briefing, the poker operator reports that it has managed to shut down 85 accounts, which were found using AI software known as bots. This software was used as a way to cheat during the game. 888poker confiscated money from these accounts and used it to compensate over 4,000 different players who became the victims of the bots. The poker room reports that it has managed to pay back around $100,000 in total. And this number was only recovered from the month of October. In order to discourage fraudulent activity in the future, 888poker announced that it will monitor bot activity on a monthly basis from this point.
It is great to see that more and more poker rooms are starting to disclose their statistics regarding fraudulent activity. Such actions show that the operator cares about its clients and builds a feeling of safety and transparency among the players. Amit Berkovic, head of 888poker agrees with this statement and is aware of players’ concerns over cheaters and botting. Here is what he said:
“We are proud of our continued progress in tackling bots that use software to create an unfair advantage over real-life players. We know that online poker players see bots as a concern when choosing their online poker platform, and we are proud to be leading the way in cracking down to ensure that 888poker provides an enjoyable, safe, and level playing field for all. We will continue to use a combination of AI, our industry know-how, and other monitoring software to crack down on bots, and ensure that 888poker is the safe and fair platform of choice for all poker lovers.”
Poker Rooms Fight for Players’ Safety
When it comes to choosing a new poker room, confidence in security is probably one of the most important factors that a potential client looks for. Good security is guaranteed to attract many players in the long run. 888poker’s policy to ban botting accounts, compensate affected players and disclose their measures publicly is one of the examples of a growing tendency in the online poker market to be more open about bots and the measures taken against them. However, 888poker is one of the oldest operators out there and this is the first time they have disclosed such information publicly.
Such openness with the community can also be a sign of improvements made in tracing the fraudulent activity. 888poker even states that it has developed sophisticated and innovative methods of detecting bots in the last few years. On the other hand, transparency can be one of the ways of fighting bots. It builds a better image of the poker room and lets dishonest players know that they will be caught. However, 888poker is not the first poker room to announce how much money was compensated to the victims of bots.
Partypoker was actually one of the first poker rooms to adopt this strategy and publish details of illegal activity. This poker operator did so all the way back in 2019. Partypoker has announced that throughout two years, it was able to confiscate and compensate around $1,500,000. We can say that this policy worked, as partypoker clearly deters bot users.
But, some poker rooms are not so keen on sharing such information with their players. For example, PokerStars and GGPoker are less open with their clients. PokerStars did announce that 2,800 fraudulent accounts were banned in Q4 2019 and $1,870,000 were compensated to the affected players. There is no denying that this is an impressive amount of money, however, this happed almost two years ago, and much has changed since that.
GGPoker is also not as involved as smaller poker rooms in announcing their measures in fighting against bots to the public. GGPoker did announce that it has managed to ban 40 accounts for the use of “real-time assistance” (RTA) software in 2019. Such software can include bots, but it can also include HUDs and other statistical programs that provide help in real-time. GGPoker confiscated the funds of only 13 players but these accounts provided the poker room with $1,175 million for compensation. There is obviously a fine balance in this aspect of poker. On one hand, openness is much appreciated among the players. On the other, poker rooms need to maintain their secrecy over their anti-fraud measures to a certain extent, for obvious reasons. It is unclear whether 888poker is actually trying to take the problem more seriously or just being more open about its tactics. However, we can say for certain that the fight against bots remains their top priority.
What is a Poker Bot and How Do They Work?
Poker bots are usually just a piece of software that is used by players that want to take an unfair advantage over others. Usually, such software is used by those that are unable to beat the game fairly. Bots are computers that try to use mathematics combined with player knowledge in order to beat real human players. In general, such programs can be running in the background as a standalone program, which is separate from the poker client. Their main purpose is to track the hands that have been played and gather the information that the human brain may not pick out.
Such programs are similar to HUDs. However, HUDs just present data to the player. You still need to be a good poker player in order to understand them and use them to your advantage. Bots basically play for you. Running bot software is very easy if the site does not have an anti-fraud system. All you need to do is download the program and launch it. They usually come with clear instructions.