This strays from my usual line of thought, but it goes out to my many friends who are avid online poker players. I came across an interesting article (via Digg) titled “You’ll Never Beat The Poker Robots“.
Over the years, I’ve been trying to convince my friends that gambling online will never be profitable, that if that odds aren’t bad enough, they’re worse once you factor in the amount of cheating and collusion that goes on. Yet, the assumption that it’s a fair game is what keeps online gaming profitable for the business.
What is crucial for the boom to continue is that these fish think there’s no cheating. In the beginning of online gaming, the big and obvious worry was collusion – groups of supposed strangers in fact conferring by phone. It’s impossible to win against such a group, because when you get a strong hand, you don’t rake in as much as you should to cover the losses from all your weak hands, since your opponents will work out who among them has the strongest hand and the rest will fold. But the websites stopped this – terrified that their cash cows would falter under this threat, they spent millions creating software to automatically monitor patterns of play and sniff out these collaborators.
Although the article claims that collusion has stopped, there are many players that still advise each other using instant messaging. But the bigger point of the article, of course, is the rising use of online poker bots.
One player who utlizes bots describes his experience:
He says, ‘I’m doing pretty well. I have two computer systems, and each one can run four poker bots, and each of those four can play up to five tables at once. At worst I make on average Â£2.90 an hour at each table. That’s a minimum of Â£116 an hour if I can get all the bots running at once.
And of course, if you don’t have the programming skill to develop your own bot, there are places all of the Internet where you can buy the software.
And the lesson:
Ultimately we’ll get to a stage where if you want to win anything, you’re going to have to use some kind of poker bot just to keep you in the game.’