Bots on PokerStars scooped $1.5 Million in Pot-Limit Omaha

pokerstars botsDespite of having an adroit team of cyber security, fraudulent prevention and i-gaming experts, the world’s biggest online poker site has been under continuous attack by the cyber scammers. In the recent developments, players on PokerStars come across some accounts which are suspected to be bots in the mid-stakes pot-limit Omaha games. The company has confirmed of an investigation being run on filtering out such accounts using artificial intelligence instead of human to win in cash games.

As per the initial reports, the suspected accounts which are from Russia and Kazakhstan have swept off almost $1.5 million at the $0.50/$1 and $1/$2 pot-limit Omaha tables. These figures may go up in unexpected proportions if the accounts have claimed benefits of ongoing reward programs like PokerStars VIP and Stellar Rewards programs.

The information on such bot accounts surfaced on the TwoPlusTwo poker forum where two regulars “Grethe” and “Oink” brought the issue to the notice of the poker community and also demanded an investigation by the company. Apart from a series of bad beats, the two players noticed similar game patterns of the suspected accounts and other suspicious moves which made them share the concerns.

Another TwoPlusTwo member “Schwein” analyzed the difference values of such users through a third-party crawler which tracks the games of players and provides statistics as output. There have been several instances and supporting statistics which indicates that such bots even share their hole cards to each other when playing on the same table.

PokerStars’ officials confirmed “Grethe” in an e-mail that they are running investigation for any unfair means used by any account to win. PokerStars announced to compensate for the losses of such players who met the bot accounts in Omaha games and lost. However, players reported that they got very less refunds compared to the number of hands they played with the suspected accounts.

After the initial rumpus settled, PokerStars sent out an e-mail to the affected players which states that not all suspected accounts were bots and the investigators are digging deeper to find out the culprits.

Here is the official mail by PokerStars:

Thank you for your report. Your email was escalated to me as an expert in bot detection and as a member of the PokerStars Game Integrity Team.
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.
Firstly, we note that the discussions include a list of accounts that are assumed to have been closed due to lack of recent activity. We can confirm that a number of these accounts have indeed been closed for violations of our Terms of Service, but this does not hold true for every account mentioned. Due to our strict privacy policy, we are unable to disclose User IDs in the context of fraud, nor offer comment as to why accounts we might have previously investigated may not have any recent activity.
As for the numerous active accounts mentioned, we do understand the concerns surrounding their playing statistics. Our access to all hand histories on PokerStars allows us to analyze any similarities in playing statistics between these accounts, as well as every other account. However, similar playing statistics alone is not sufficient proof wrongdoing, and we must do our due diligence to ensure that the correct resolution is reached. Our investigation includes, but is not limited to, reviewing their software and playing environments, how they interact with the PokerStars client, as well as analyzing their activity in real-time and conducting Turing tests.
We kindly ask for your patience while we thoroughly investigate this matter. 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. If you have any further information to provide regarding this matter, we will take it into consideration.
PokerStars will advise you of the outcome of the investigation as soon as possible.
PokerStars Game Integrity