A self-confessed poker bot operator, known as a “botter,” made a surprise appearance on the 2+2 forums last weekend to announce his retirement from “botting.”
The poster, known as “themadbotter,” proceeded to offer detailed answers to forum members’ questions, while studiously ignoring abuse from others, to offer a fascinating and candid glimpse into the mindset of a high-tech poker cheat.
It was perhaps, at times, too candid, because the themadbotter may have accidentally revealed his identity and got himself into trouble, but more on that later.
“I have decided to retire from botting and focus my energy on something more meaningful,” announced themadbotter, who added that he had timed the post to coincide with the withdrawal of the last of his funds from America’s Card Room (ACR).
Themadbotter explained that his renunciation of poker botting was not due to some moral epiphany, but because getting the bot to play well was a “time-consuming endeavor.”
Themadbotter’s bot was not merely a “plug and play” solution, capable of winning only at the lowest limits, but one that he had coded himself and that needed constant re-tweaking and perfecting. He claimed his bot had made $30,000 at ACR over the course of six months, which he had gradually withdrawn.
“For me, it took me about a week to write a profile that played well enough to beat 10NL and about a month of reworking that profile to beat 50NL at a solid clip,” he said.
“Over the course of the next few months, I steadily improved the bot’s performance based on manual review of hand histories and results,” he continued on 2 + 2. “Making it play exceptionally well is still extremely time-consuming and it requires a lot of trial runs and hand history reviews.”
The player went on to say that a well-contructed bot was hard to detect. By setting parameters such as sitting out and making it take play breaks, among other “human-like” attributes he programmed it to do, it appeared to most other players as entirely real.
But one canny poster, identified as NovaCaine, had other ideas.
“OP’s [opening poster] not as smart as he thinks,” typed NovaCaine gleefully. “Only a couple of regs went mia [missing in action] recently and i got a good hunch who he is. Gonna try to contact a couple other players to confirm my numbers.”
Within hours, ACR had launched an investigation, and themadbotter suddenly sounded seriously spooked: “I’m sorry to disappoint you all, I was just bored and wanted to troll,” he wrote. “This is why I could not post any proof. I hope that admin can delete this thread so as to not cause undue panic in the players or to unnecessarily slander WPN’s [Winning Poker Network] reputation.
“ACR should ask to have this thread deleted since there is no reason why my unfortunate misstep, with no proof or evidence to support any of the allegations in this thread, should unnecessarily cause them financial harm or bring negative publicity,” he said in the forum.
And with that, he was gone, sweating a lifetime ban from the Winning Poker Network, and leaving us with a brief but fascinating snapshot of the life of that most shady of creatures, the poker botter.