In recent years, online conversations about bots, RTA and cheating haven't relented. Alex981 has been fighting bots for several years now, his forum thread (in Russian, however the Google translate extension can translate it for you) has over 600,000 views. Another bot detection specialist in our community is TyleRM- rooms occasionally listen to him.
Everyone has heard the recent story of Ali Imsirovic and Jake Schindler, who were banned not only from playing online, but also by many live series and venues, which has made waves in the community recently. This was largely due to publicity and peer pressure.
However, cases of such repercussions are a rarity and an exception to the norm. More often, the efforts of professionals to identify bots in poker rooms are simply ignored. According to many regulars, the worst situation of all is on the WPN network.
Exizar, a GipsyTeam member created a post on our forum (Russian) at the end of 2020, in which he described in detail how bots are killing a high stakes game there.
BootieInUFace touched on this topic in an interview with GipsyTeam:
– On the WPN network, the game at 10/20+ limits was almost completely destroyed thanks to only one bot (based on the data that I have, I'm 99% sure that Uran was involved in the use of this bot, and he himself indirectly confirmed these accusations).
There [on ACR] for more than a year has been no action from the room, despite all the evidence provided. My assumption is the incompetence of the security service and some legal restrictions, due to which they cannot ban without direct evidence. The verification systems in many rooms are designed in such a way that it is quite easy to pass them.
A topic appeared on the 2+2 forum at the end of July, in which an anonymous PLO regular spoke about his experience dealing with bots and trying to get through to the security service. As a result, he came to the conclusion that the room is deliberately inactive, since the presence of bots is beneficial to them in some way.
– I am writing this post from a new account for security reasons.
WPN bots go under the radar, and why your reports aren't getting any response.
I suspect that many have sent reports to WPN security regarding bots, and received something like this in response:
“Thank you for taking the time to contact support and for sharing this information, we really appreciate it. But we want to remind you that we use advanced technology to detect bots and other violations, and monitor the integrity of the game very closely. Unfortunately, we cannot disclose information about our clients and disclose the details of investigations.” And more in the same spirit.
What happens next? In 99 cases out of 100 – nothing. A similar thing happened to me, but the security service went even further and banned me for a “real” reason.
I'll start from the very beginning.
I signed up for WPN in mid-2019, played for a bit, and after a short break, returned to play in early 2020. I forgot to mention that my main PLO stakes are 400-2k. After playing for several months, I noticed a whole group of players who played a very similar style. Almost all of them were from Russia, Belarus and Ukraine. I googled their nicknames, but found nothing, although their win rate was already very high then. Tried to start chatting – to no avail. All this can be indirect evidence that these are bots. I created a file where I entered all the nicknames and sent the first letter with my suspicions to the security service. I received a generic reply, but continued to play, because I naively believed that they would be banned soon, or at least blocked for verification. Several months passed, and you have already guessed that nothing happened.
My first letter:
A few more months passed, I added new suspicious nicknames to the list and sent a second letter. I wanted to make it easier for the support to find "inhuman" signs in their game.
I suspect that people who work in support are not very good at poker, especially PLO. Therefore, I decided to send another letter with a detailed analysis of the game of bots, their characteristic features, statistics, and obvious deviations from the standard game model of regulars. I spent a lot of time, colorfully designed everything and sent it to the Security Council.
14 (!) months passed between the first and third letters. I was ready to call the Security Council and prove in real time that they were bots. But all my efforts were in vain.
A few more months have passed, but the situation at the tables has not changed one iota. On the contrary, there were more and more bots. Now in my database there is a list of 41 nicknames that play PLO400-1k limits. Above, they either do not play at all, or they act more subtly, and I do not find them. Perhaps some nicknames are already inactive, I have not followed them for the last couple of months.
WPN's indifference to bot dominance, the absence of even temporary bans, and other circumstantial evidence, such as chat closures, according to the author, indicate that the network is deliberately ignoring the problem. His own ban also fit into this theory:
– Remember, at the beginning of the post, I wrote that I myself was banned, allegedly for “serious reasons”?
In June of this year, I received an email that my account was suspended for a month for using seating scripts. I immediately replied that I did not use any scripts on their network and described in detail how I start the session, how I choose tables, and so on. I received an answer that the decision was final, I was also asked to send a set of documents and confess which script I used.
I play on four different networks and I do use a script on iPoker, but only because it's not banned there. I wrote honestly about it, but my arguments were ignored.
After 30 days, I sent all the documents that they required. I received an answer that I have 72 hours to withdraw the money, after which my account will be permanently blocked.
It seems to me that in a fair court, any lawyer would easily win my case, since I did not violate any of the rules of the network. However, in this case, the WPN took on the role of judge, jury, and executioner. Any discussion with them is obviously useless.
It's clear to me that the WPN bot farm is using strong players, great analysts, and great programmers. Their game is constantly being improved, leaks are eliminated within a week. To counter them, you have to constantly change your strategy. I was shocked when I saw how many bots were at the top in terms of profit at medium stakes.
I will not go into the details of my game, I will limit myself to a screenshot, which confirms that I have good results against bots. It is clear that I interfere with them. I am sure that this was the main reason for my ban, and the script that I used on another network is just an excuse.
The last column shows how much they lost to me personally.
Over a year ago, I contacted Randy "Nanonoko" Lew, who works with the WPN security team. As far as I know, he has an advisory role there. I have read a lot of good things about him and I have no doubt that he is a skilled player with a lot of experience and a great understanding of the intricacies of poker.
On February 26, 2021, I sent him a list of bots and their "non-human" signs. He promised that he would study everything himself, and also pass the information on to the “specialists”. However, as before, no real action followed.
I sent him an updated list in November and added a couple of the dumbest plays from bots (they were heavily bugged at the time) for clarity. Unfortunately, no response was received at all.
If anyone still doubts my words, take a look at these two hands. I have many more such examples, but this should suffice.
I refuse to believe that a person with:
A. vast experience and great understanding of the game and;
B. access to all the necessary information (hand history, all data on suspicious accounts, and so on)
…couldn't see anything suspicious in the huge list of bots whose actions in some hands are inexplicable.
Based on all these arguments, I see only two possible explanations:
1. The security service and Nanonoko know about the existence of a huge team of bots, but they can’t do anything because WPN is stopping them.
2. The security service and Nanonoko are aware of the existence of a huge team of bots, but do nothing, as they receive part of the profits.
I am confident that the bot farm and WPN are in mutually beneficial cooperation. Bots drive traffic to the tables and share their profit with them. And the network gives them the opportunity to play, and guarantees the safety of funds.
Thank you for your attention, be vigilant and do not let yourself be deceived.
At our request, the regular PLO bolivar1997 commented on the situation :
– This is one of the main rooms. I also have a database of about 40 nicknames, the game of which is no different at all. All these are bots that play limits from PLO100 to PLO1k. Didn't look below. The main difference between bots is that in hands against two opponents or more, they always bet 60% of the pot or more.
Everything the author writes is accurate, I completely agree with him. By the way, iPoker also seems to have a network of bots that play with the same stats. As for the inactivity of the room, I got the feeling that they deliberately help the bots with their actions. Since the lack of select, chat and the ability to download mining clearly benefits only them.
I think at 100-400 stakes bots take a lot of money from regular players. It's a common situation when PLO200 has a dozen tables in the lobby during the day, and each has one or two bots.