Posts Tagged poker bot

Poker Tools

As a bot builder the different kinds of Poker Tools has always fascinated me. There are perhaps 10 different poker tools on the market today and 5 of them actual poker statistics software. Poker statistics is one of the most complex parts of poker but you can make a lot out of your and others hand histories if you apply a scientific method to it. Lets take a look at one of the most basic, but very useful, areas to apply some statistics skills. When you play with someone a lot you will instinctivly know if he is a loose or a tight player. You will know that this guy will call you a lot and you will know if he folds if you bet hard on the flop and he didn’t hit. Playing online though this can get tricky because you play so many different players.

By keeping track of your hands and building a database you will actually get a library of your played hands and if you can only filter and sort it in the right way and fast then you have a massive advantage on your opponent. For example, by just calculating how big percent of the hands your opponent calls preflop will tell you wether he is a loose or tight player, it’s not harder than that as statisticly he should call a certain amount of hands over time. Him being loose does not of course that he is a bad player, there are lots of very good players that do play loose. It is still a piece of information you have that he doesn’t (as long as he isn’t using the tool himself). It doesn’t stop there either, if you measure how big percent of his hands he folds after the flop you can see if he is weak or tough post flop. If you know your opponent is weak post flop, placing a bigger bet to get him to fold might be a good idea or if you hit a quad maybe you need to slowplay him.

There are of course a lot of more useful info on your opponents that you can get from a high quality poker tool but it doesn’t even stop there. By looking at your own game in retrospect you can learn things about yourself, maybe you are a tight and passive player and to be honest even though being careful is good that is a combination that will never win you any real money.

There is even more to it than that, what if a tool could tell you which table you should play. You want to find a table with lots of fish and no sharks. Well, todays tools keep track of this too.

If you aren’t using a tool today, you definately should, that is my advice for today.

Inspiration: Poker Tools

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For the love of the game

I’m getting a lot of reactions to this blog, obviously people have strong feelings about poker bots. This is of course understandable but the most common point taken in these reactions is that we should not build bots “for the love of the game”. People are claiming that we are destroying poker. I disagree and coulnd’t disagree more. We are building a poker bot for the love of the game. If you claim that poker bots are destroying the game you obvously don’t play that well. A bot, at least of this quality, will never beat a good human player, it will only beat really bad players. If the bot does something it’s to teach the fundamentals of poker, if you can’t outsmart a machine maybe you’re just not cut out for poker. The bot plays only on statistics, it bluffs like a 6 year old and it can never learn to read you, it’s just a machine. Maybe in the future we might build a smarter AI but so far it’s nothing more than a beefed up calculator.

The challenge of building a bot is something you take on because you love the game of poker, it’s not a small task and it demands that you learn to do things by rules instead of by instinct, this is really hard and it has certainly made me a better poker player. Understanding the basics in poker is something most players actually skip to go directly to the fancy stuff and this is why a bot can still win. If you had just bothered to learn pot odds, outs and some basic statistics you would have beaten the bot every time, but you didn’t did you? How can you claim your love for the game to be bigger than ours when you didn’t even bother to learn the basics.

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Bot for Backgammon

As bots have always been one of my interests I have been taking a few looks at other games where botting should be possible. One game that I took an extra look at is Backgammon. There are a few differences between backgammon and poker that makes a backgammon bot a lot easier to build than a poker bot. If you have followed this blog you will have noticed our struggle with the poker bot and it felt quite relaxing thinking about a backgammon bot.

The main reason backgammon is more suitable for botting is that the game is more or less deterministic. All variables are known except the dice that adds the little randomness there is. The thing with backgammon is that there is a right way of playing it. You can’t be smarter or better, the best you can do is playing the game right and hope that your opponent makes mistakes or that the dice are on your side. There is an optimal move in every given situation. If there hadn’t been dice involved it would have been the same game as tic tac toe, if you play it correctly noone can win.

This makes it perfect for a bot, a bot will never make mistakes. As long as the bot has the correct algorithm or,  as in the scenario I considered have all the situations in the database and knows how to handle them, it will play an optimal game.

After a lot of thinking about this I realized that it is so easy that there has to be one out on the net already. A few minutes of Google Jockeing and I found it. It’s names Snowie and even does cooperation with some gaming companies offering backgammon. Well, it was an interesting day thinking about it at least.

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Increasing interest for poker bots

As you might be aware I have blogged a lot bout our Poker Bot Project. I decided to do a little searching on the net to see if it would actually be possible to sell our poker bot in the end and it looks like there is actually a lot of interest. After taking a look at Google trends and comparing the interest for poker bots compared to poker in general the bots are (of course smaller though) increasing during the summer compared to poker. A lot of articles about poker bots have been written the last few months and one of my favourites (because it is not very argumentative but sticking to facts) is Poker Bots myth or reality.

If you are interested too I’d like to show you the Poker Bot article series:

  • The Poker Bot
  • Gathering data for the poker bot
  • Post-flop
  • Cheating Party Poker
  • Why we wanted a SNG poker bot
  • Poker Bot Strategy
  • More rooms for the bot

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More rooms for the bot

The seventh article about our Poker bot.

One of the big things when you want to avoid detection is not playing to long. Even if the bot can play 65 hours with interupts it’s not a good idea. This is a rookie mistake when it comes to botting and the poker rooms Do keep track of this. The problem for most poker bots is that since they don’t make much money they need to grind a lot. Solving this is not rocket science though.

Tactics for solving the “long grind”-problem.

Let the bot connect and disconnect on it’s own. If the bot logs on, sits down at a few tables for 4 hours before it disconnects automaticly it doesn’t look weird. It’s a problem that you can’t keep the account alive more than that becasue it will lessen your profit but it’s a must.

Let several bots play at the same room. The bot can run several accounts simultaneous without problem, the problem here is to have several accounts. You need more than 1 identity for this but it’s fairly easy. It’s important to keep track of what proxies you use for it too. Don’t want to use spammy ones so the best is to set up your own.

The smartest way is to expand in more poker networks. Let the bot play at several networks, with one proxy and 2 identities you can play 14 accounts as once if the bot can handle 7 networks. We had more identities than that and more servers to use but we still wanted to expand it.

Which poker networks do we select?

We decided we wanted to hit Ongame Network and Microgaming because they were already familiar to me. Ongame have among others, Betsson, Pokerroom and Pokerloco. Microgaming have among others Unibet, Doyles Room and Betway, all of the mentioned rooms where I have played or actively play.

The problem here is that Ongame Network banned Rakeback but there are sites there that can offer pretty decent bonuses anyway so we thought it a good choice.

Upgrade of the bot this time:

The bot now connects to 3 poker rooms with 1 or 2 accounts on each, it will play for 2-6 hours (you can set this number or let it be random). It makes 1 or 2 five minute breaks (they are a bit random long but aprox 5 min) each session and then it disconnects to rest til the next day.

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Poker bot strategy

The sixth article about our Poker bot.

When we had decided we wanted to expand the bot to be able to play cash games as well it felt like we had to build a complete poker tracker as well. After a while we decided that this was not necessary, most players don’t use a tracker and if the bot can play just a little better than average it’s enough for now. We realized that this kind of functionality wasn’t only a whole software in it self, it was also already out there, there is nothing that says that the bot can’t use existing poker tracker software just as a real player.

The poker bot strategy – step one

We had already set it up to rank starting hands properly, what we did now was slow it down a bit. It’s not realistic to go about a cash game as aggressively as a short handed SNG. We set it up to play a lot more tight and we built a new position calculation function allowing it for a bit more aggressive play in position. With this setup it would play only the top 11 hands and limp in on all small pairs.

Post flop strategy

We tuned the bot down a bit after the flop too, it had been way to willing to spend money in the first version. A much more modestly playing bot is needed for cash games and our bot was pulling some insane stunts with his stack of chips.

The problem now was that if there was player at the table bulldozing the bot would have a hard time (now that the bot was not the bulldozer). A normal player can always make a stand with a good hand and double up against opponents like that but the bot had a hard time. The first thing we had to do was make the bot realize when he’s being bulldozed. This is not the easiest as it meant we actually had to keep track of the opponents after all, not in a complete poker tracker way but a little. Eric managed to come up with a neat little script that just checked for amount of big blinds lost to the same person. Easy but functional.

Now that our little poker bot knows that he is being bulldozed, how should he handle it. We came up with a few options to start with:

  • He can leave the table
  • If he gets AA he can slowplay the bulldozer and trick a lot of money of him (this could be extended to other high pairs as well but as the bot is not very good at reading people, I mean that he can’t, it was a bit dangerous)
  • Leave it to the limp-trip strategy to deal with the bulldozer, the bot had already an implemented strategy of limping with small pairs for hitting trips. This might be enough to handle the situation.

In the end we chose to use the two last methods as having a loose player like that on the table can give you a lot of money.

The next article:

More Rooms for the Bot

One of the big things when you want to avoid detection is not playing to long. Even if the bot can play 65 hours with interupts it’s not a good idea. This is a rookie mistake when it comes to botting and the poker rooms Do keep track of this.

Continue Reading…

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Why we wanted a SNG poker bot

The fifth article about Poker bots.

I think it’s time to give you the reasons for wanting to build a poker bot that playes sit and go tournaments. The thing is that we weren’t sure we could make a good enough player out of our bot. We are had a feeling that we didn’t know enough of the theory in poker strategy. Being a good poker player doesn’t automaticly mean that you are good at the theory (this goes both ways of course). When it comes to small tournaments though there is a stupid as strategy that we could easily reproduce in a bot. Go all in almost all the time, it’s not at all as stupid as it sounds, there is a pretty decent chance of winning if it is a shorthanded sng. We thought that we could start with a bot like that and if it was even to poor at that we could always let it play freerolls. Think about it a bot that plays exetremely agressive in all the freerolls on the net… His chances are a bit better than a bad player and he what he does is that he forces the play towards the lottery side. It’s extremely hard to play good against a player like that.

At this point however it changed, we got support of a really talented poker player/programmer that had previously built a well known poker software. A poker odds calculator if you wish. Here we decided to change the bot in to being a Cash game poker pot.

The next article is a bout how we started setting up the strategy of the bots play.

Poker bot strategy

We had already set it up to rank starting hands properly, what we did now was slow it down a bit. It’s not realistic to go about a cash game as aggressively as a short handed SNG.

Continue Reading…

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