Rumours are abound of artificial intelligence rising up to dominate the human world in just about every industry. It is a veritable era of AI paranoia, and more than ever the general public seems to think that computer software is capable of doing just about anything. Must be a decade or two until Hal-9000, the infamous murdering AI from 2001: A Space Odyssey is invented and rules the world, right?
The truth is that for the most part AI is largely overestimated, and really isn’t as sophisticated as assumed. Though this doesn’t stop some groups from trying to create software that can “solve” certain situations. Hence, there have been attempts to create AI programs, or bots, that can play online Poker, and win. A piece of software that can interface with an online Poker client, and play the game without assistance from a human, is referred to as a bot.
As with most things that operate via AI, Poker bots function in only a very limited fashion. There are certainly some that can turn a profit in the long term, but it really depends on circumstances. If going up against human players, the chances are that the way in which it operates will be identified, and it will be thoroughly beaten and exploited before long.
It should never be forgotten that, no matter how sophisticated, the program is simply running through a set of preprogramed instructions. Which is to say; there is no real intelligence at all, just a clockwork of static actions based on inputs. So yes, although some are capable of winning, they are always under strict limitations, and will generally be beaten by human players once the obvious exploits are spotted.
Poker playing bots are 100% illegal on all online sites. It is clear that no human player will ever want to go up against one, and so major steps are taken to ensure that no software is playing in a human game, or any game. So although they are becoming more advanced with each passing year, the security measures to ensure that they do no play are likewise advancing.
In online games there are monitoring systems in place, constantly checking for identifiable bot behaviour. If suspicion is raised, a system known as CAPTCHA is run, which stands for Completely Automated Public Turing Test to Tell Computers and Humans Apart.
If you suspect you are playing against a program instead of a person, look for these signs:
If you spot any of these signs, notify the site’s customer support centre and alert them to your concerns.