How to Catch a Bot at the Table3 years ago
When it comes to catching online bots and cheats, there may well be a new sheriff in town, the Online Poker Security System (OPSS) from Poker Innovations.
Described by its developers as “the world's most advanced online poker security suite, capable of detecting cheating, collusion, and bots," they claim OPSS “offers poker sites the cutting edge in player protection.”
And the past year has shown that just such an online capability is definitely required, with several high-profile cases of ‘bot rings’ operating on a variety of sites.
The most infamous episode of 2015 saw PokerStars rocked by a PLO bot ring, which took a reputed $1.5 million from regular players at the mid-stakes tables. The problem was exacerbated by the reluctance of sites such as PokerStars to provide decent compensation – or even clear responses – to those affected by such cheating scandals.
Poker Innovations CEO, Chris J. Thompson, recently summed it up thus:
"The recent discovery of large scale bot rings on most major poker sites has caused much public comment with very little meaningful industry response. Historically, some online poker companies regarded bots as revenue earning customers rather than a threat to their future."
This second sentence was a view echoed many times in the wake of the PS bot scandal, with 2+2 poster-turned-investigator Schwein claiming:
PokerStars collected nearly $2.5 million in rake from the probably-banned accounts during the time they were active – a million more, in other words, than the profit earned by the cheaters themselves.”
Gaming fraud, however, is not a static affair and Thompson states:
As the poker industry advances, so do the sophisticated methods of the fraudsters. Cheating and colluding are a global phenomenon on virtually every site
Describing OPSS as “fluid, adjusting to current trends and behavioural patterns,” and “an essential tool in thwarting the costly illicit behaviour that is occurring right now in online poker,” the Poker Innovations team will offer initial consultations and trials to websites who have decided enough is enough and are seeking to root out the problems.
Naturally, the OPSS approach to solving the problem is by necessity neither detailed nor available to the public, but the problems faced in catching such cheating are manifold. Not only are bots operating undetected for long periods of time, but also other methods of scamming players exist.
Whether online sites decide to deal with these problems effectively or not, the view of Poker Innovations deserves consideration:
Online poker is about to tread a new and very different path to the one paved by industry pioneers. Whether that path is lined with gold, goes down a blind alley or sits somewhere in-between remains to be seen.”
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