PokerStars PLO Bot Ring Under Investigation

4 years ago
Alleged cheating may extend to Full Tilt and 888
04:51
11 Jun

Online poker received another black eye of sorts when it was confirmed by PokerStars that suspicious activity at Pot Limit Omaha cash games is under investigation.

At question is the possible use of bots at mid-stakes PLO. A thread at 2 + 2 entitled "Massive bot ring on PokerStars and how to spot them" has become very active as of late with a number of posters providing information related to the suspicious activity.

According to poster 'beigetatami,' a rep from the PokerStars Game Integrity Team responded to his email to customer support informing them about the alleged cheating. Here is an excerpt of what the PokerStars bot detection expert said in his reply:

"We are indeed aware of the online discussions alleging a group of accounts to be operating poker bots. Please rest assured that we do not tolerate such activity on PokerStars. We have an extensive arsenal of detection tools in order to ensure that each player is a human being and playing without the use of prohibited programs."

Accounts Closed

The rep goes on to say that a number of accounts in question have already been closed, and that the investigation is ongoing. The PokerStars fraud investigator also pointed out that it's best to inform the site of any evidence of wrongdoing without laying blame on certain suspected players on online poker forums before a full investigation has been completed.

"We also recommend that the identities of suspects be reported to us directly, not only to avoid slandering potentially innocent players, but also to avoid tipping off potential offenders," wrote the Game Integrity expert.

2 + 2 posters who noticed the suspicious behavior believe that as many as three dozen players may be part of the bot ring, with the amount of money snared in the scheme perhaps as high as $1.5 million. Those same posters are of the opinion that players at 888poker and Full Tilt may have also been targeted by the scammers.

Collusion, Bots or Both

In another 2 + 2 thread related to the bot ring thread but posted elsewhere to focus more on the fact that PokerStars had already banned several players, it was suggested that the sharing of hole cards, a bot ring, or both, was operating at PokerStars.

“They all play very similarly, they all do the same type of things," wrote poster 'Oink,' in identifying a list of colluding suspects that all belong to Eastern European countries.

“They have the same tendencies," Oink added, noticing that the players in question "are all more showdown bound than typical regs and they have the exact same tendencies on the river," among other commonalities.

It is incidents such as these that give online poker a bad name and likely keep a good number of players who might like to play from depositing and doing so. Let's hope that this suspected bot ring and and/or their efforts at collusion are fully uncovered and eliminated, with refunds provided to those who may have fallen victim to the scam.


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Charles is a Chicago native and long time poker player who dusted off his journalism degree and began writing about poker following the events of Black Friday in 2011. He has written for a number of leading poker websites, offering his insights and expertise on subjects ranging from online poker leg...Read more

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