Friday, December 28, 2007

A New Free Poker Bot for the New Year. No More Excuses

For my New Year's resolution, I'm going to create a new pokerbot with OpenHoldem.

I will create this bot transparently, here, on this blog...step by step. We'll start from the beginning, so if you are looking for a tutorial or guide to get started botting from ground zero, this may be the place. My goal is to create an ABC, typical tight aggressive, bot that can be easily modified. I won't be including any opponent modeling (at least in the short term) or any complicated dlls, so we won't be outsmarting the nosebleed stakes by any means. We'll delve deeply enough to whet your appetite, though. With a little luck and a lot of work, you might create the next best poker bot.

Anyone willing to put in the time will have a step by step guide to creating their own poker bot based on the free open-source OpenHoldem platform. Maybe I shouldn't call it a free poker bot since you'll be paying for it with sweat and time even if it won't cost a single penny from your bankroll.

We'll talk about security, poker theory, bankroll management, statistical analysis, and anything else that comes up as the bot creation unfolds. I hope you will join in the process. Comments and emails will not only help me to know what topics to cover, but will motivate me to stay on task. This blog will be moving to a permanent home soon, and we'll have forums for more in depth discussion.

Until the big kickoff, if you'd like to come along for the ride (you'll be shocked how fun and addictive poker bots are once you get rolling) you'll need to prepare. Become familiar with OpenHoldem, WinHoldem, and their respective discussion forums. Gather your links to good poker theory. Read and research at least the basics so you have a solid foundation to build upon and a basic working vocabulary of texas holdem and poker bots . I'm happy to answer questions, but the entire bot development will slow to a crawl if I answer "What is prwin??" twenty times a day.

Best of luck for the New Year,

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Antigua Settles with US Over Gambling Prohibition

Thanks to Mark Gritter for pointing out that the WTO reached a decision allowing Antigua to ignore United States copyrights worth up to $21,000,000 per year. That's practically nothing on the international scale.

Bad news, but on the plus side I've had no difficulties at all with Poker Stars E-checks. Quick and easy deposit method for any US or Canadian players looking to scratch their texas hold'em itch.

Details at Yahoo.

Friday, December 21, 2007

More Bots Busted at Full Tilt Poker

A moment of silence for our fallen comrades and the hundreds of thousands of dollars Full Tilt has confiscated. Reportedly, Full Tilt has begun redistributing the siezed funds after concluding that they were using artificial intelligence software or pokerbots at the low limit NL ring games as well as higher heads-up fixed limit tables.

pokergirl z

FT Bot Bust

US WTO Gaming Deal Bypasses Antigua

In their never ending fight to protect us from ourselves, the United States government pens a settlement with the European Union to continue the US prohibition of online poker.

If you've been following at all, you know that Antigua has caused quite a stink in the WTO. They haven't taken kindly to America's gambling prohibition which violates a WTO (World Trade Organization) ruling. Antigua had threatened to suspend United States trademark and copyright rights in their country, which would have allowed anyone in Antigua to legally produce bootlegs DVDs, counterfeit clothing, pirated software, or just about any other product produced by a domestic company. These black market producers would have no fear of prosecution (unless returning to the United States, no doubt).

Antigua hoped to leverage this threat against the United States after the US apologetically refused to abide by the WTO ruling in Antigua's favor. Antigua was the shining beacon of hope for American online poker players, but now the beacon has dimmed...snuffed out by a US/EU settlement deal that sparked an immediate 4% drop in the share price of PartyGaming in the UK.

This EU deal has the European Commission signing a deal in Geneva that agrees to the United States restrictions on international banking and online gambling (Don't forget that the WTO already ruled that this policy was in violation). In concession, the US agrees to give the EU new trade opportunities in research, postal, warehousing, and testing service business sectors. Oh, thank you big government! Thank you for outsourcing more American jobs rather than allowing your citizens to easily fund their micro buy-in sit-n-go habits. If the average citizen can't "click his mouse and lose his house", I guess he doesn't need a job, eh?

Japan and Canada have reportedly also agreed to similar terms. It looks like Antigua's push to fully legalize online poker in the United States has lost its momentum. A major setback, obviously, but there is still hope. (We're looking at you, Barney Frank)

EU and US Strike a Deal in Online Gambling Fight Antigua Left Out in the Cold

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Fold? Call? Whatever You Say, Miss

Smoking hot Ashley Leggat at the Luxor casino donking off for some Nicky Hilton poker tournament. Why don't they ever look this good at my table? I'm sure it's more difficult to count outs, calculate equity, and read your opponent with a girl like this batting her eyes at you.

I think I'd sacrifice a bit of my winrate for that kind of view.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Classic Money Laundering Fraud Scam with an Online Poker Twist

An acquaintance of mine just fell for a variation on his Full Tilt Poker account. The scam is the same, only the payment service changes between wire transfer, paypal, or in this online gambling account. It's quite ingenious, actually.

First of all, the criminal befriends his victim at a low limit table. He becomes a regular, chatting it up and letting slip how he'd be playing at higher limits if only he could deposit into the site. Citing a banking problem, or some other regulation excuse, the culprit offers to wire money directly into your banking account if you'll only transfer some chips to them.

So far, you're thinking this is an obvious scam. Only an idiot would fall for something like this.

Oh, but it gets sneakier.

Smelling the obvious scam, the victim protests, but the culprit convinces him to take the conversation to email. After a few emails are exchanged, the victim is given an offer he can't refuse: Take the $1,000 wire transfer and transfer $900 in chips, but only after the $1,000 wire transfer has cleared and the funds are available at your bank. Wow...this isn't the usual scam, now. I mean, if the guy is willing to wait until the money clears before expecting his player to player cash transfer at the poker site then he's putting all his trust in the victim, right? How could the victim be robbed at this point?

The victim agrees to the plan. The wire transfer hits his bank. A few days later and the funds are available and the victim thinks everything is done.

Now, fast forward a couple of weeks. The victim receives a call from his bank's fraud department. It seems that someone way across the world is angry that they didn't receive the new laptop they bought from the victim for $1,000 on Ebay.

What's going on here??

Here's the scammer's plans laid bare. After setting up this "no-risk" deal with the victim found at the poker table, the culprit immediately went to Ebay and created a new auction with a buy it now price of $1k. The item sells, but the scammer gives the winning bidder the victim's payment information instead of his own. That's right...the wire transfer into the victim's bank or paypal account came from a third party: The unwitting winning ebay bidder.

In the end, the transfer into the victim's bank account does indeed clear and become available. Of course! It is a legitimate transfer from somebody who expects you to wait for it to clear before shipping a $1k item.

In the end, the poker victim loses his $1,000 and is wrapped up in an ugly money laundering and wire fraud investigation by his bank. Not a lot of fun when you are constantly moving money between offshore banks, online gambling sites, and your local bank.

I haven't seen much talk about this exact type of scam happening before, but here is a good resource that explains how these organized crime groups run theft and money laundering scams in the same manner. The site is a little low rent, but he's a very thorough watchdog against online money laundering scams.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Bluff Fires Chris Vaughn after Cheating Controversy

The axe has fallen. BluffMedia (Bluff Magazine) has officially fired Managing Editor Chris Vaughn. After initially supporting him following the Mizzi/Vaughn account sharing fiasco at the Full Tilt $1,000,000 tournament, Bluff must have hoped that the story would dry up and blow away. One week of mounting industry pressure, however, has left the cheater Chris Vaughn on the soup line.

Matthew Parvis, Bluff Magazine Editor-in-chief had this to say on the TwoPlusTwo forums:
...and I don't think any one is more sorry that this whole incident happened then he (Chris Vaughn) is...
Oh really? You think, Mr. Parvis? Depending on the price Sorel Mizzi paid for Vaughn's account at Full Tilt, Mizzi might be feeling a sting much more painful than the peanuts you were paying a niche-industry managing editor.

Bluff's handling of this entire controversy shows the general immaturity of most business aspects surrounding the poker world. Do you think this would have been handled the same if the Wall Street Journal editor was caught red handed illegally trading? Of course not. The only way Matthew Parvis and the other bigwigs at Bluff could have ever supported Chris Vaughn is if they either didn't view their editor's blatant cheating as a moral conflict, or they assumed the news would go away without ruffling many feathers.

That's not the type of insight I expect from a leading industry magazine. How out of touch are these guys?

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Open Holdem Pokerbot Source Code Discussion

There seems to be a LOT of interest in OpenHoldem, the exciting new open source bot platform, and rightly so.

In my previous post I neglected to mention the official OpenHoldem forum hosted by MaxInMontreal of winholdem forum fame. It's already gained the attention of quite a few botters/coders and I predict that forum will be a new hot spot for pokerbot discussion. Hot spot means quality, not quantity.

Many intelligent, successful poker bot operators and coders are talking there right now.

Go have a look. It's only a matter of time before an open board like this either goes private, gets flooded by repeated newb questions, or this group of insiders moves the meat of their discussions to another forum.

This probably isn't the group to ask beginner questions, but read their threads and absorb their vocabulary. It is a great way to figure out what you don't know but should. Learning it is up to you, but believe me...knowing what to learn is the hardest part of building a profitable poker bot.

Go grab a clue and perhaps they'll take you with them when they move their mission critical discussions away from the public.

And to those of you emailing about my lack of internal links: Check out the Jiglu auto-tagging on the top right of every page. Sorry, but I'm too busy(lazy?) to link my own content properly. Those tags should get you to whatever online poker or pokerbot topics you seek.

Official OpenHoldem Forums hosted by

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Sorel Mizzi and Chris Vaughn Admit to Cheating the Full Tilt $1 Million Guaranteed Tournament

No more debating. They've both come clean.

Mizzi bought Vaughn's account when the tournament was down to the final three tables, logged in, then resumed the tournament(ultimately winning), and still denies that he cheats in tournaments via multi-accounting. So let's recap. Sorel Mizzi enters a tournament and plays hands from his own account as well as hands from Chris Vaughn's Full Tilt account. In Mizzi's warped mind, this somehow doesn't add up to multi-accounting.

The complete interview is linked at the bottom courtesy of Poker News, but here are some highlights:

Sorel Mizzi: No, I'm not a – I'm not a cheater; I'm not a multi-accounter. I acted fast without malice and didn't intend to hurt Chris and myself, opponents, or the entire poker community.
Allow me to translate. "No, I'm not playing multi-accounts, I just play more than one" (Huh?!) While I'm sure he had no malice in his heart for himself (lmao) or his Bluff Magazine editor little buddy, Chris Vaughn, to pretend you didn't intend to hurt your opponents is either comical or insulting. I can't decide which.

Sorel Mizzi:But, I want to make it clear that this is something that was an isolated incident and it's, it's not something that I've done in the past.
So he's never cheated in an online tournament before. Ok. Fine. For the sake of argument, let's assume he's telling the truth. But then what is this comment about later in the interview?

Sorel Mizzi:The fact of the matter is that – yes, there's a lot of things going on where players are being ghosted in the middle or late – in the late stages of the tournament by a better player and this is – this is something that can never be regulated. And the fact that there is no one player per hand rule online really gives those people justification for doing this kind of thing. But, I know – I know that it goes on in the high limits and in the low limits and there's absolutely nothing that can be done.
As predicted, here is another "I don't do it, but everyone I know does" poker cheat. The only thing this guy feels he has done wrong is login from a different location. The article is full of interesting quotes that point to the simple fact that there is an Old Boy network among the top online players. They are team playing against you, and they don't think that is wrong. Buying and selling of accounts deep in the big money online holdem tournaments is the norm. If you manage to survive until the final few tables in a high payout online poker tournament, you aren't playing against just the other are playing whomever is the best final table player out of his entire network of contacts.

I wonder if Ray Bornet wasn't right after all. As this becomes more and more common, involving bigger and higher profile people, will the poker sites eventually have to throw up their hands and give up on any sort of online poker cheat prevention at all?

I have a virtual army of pokerbots playing right now as I type this. Many of them are sitting at tables with other members of my bot army, but none of them share cards or any other sort of collusion. I could collude on a massive scale with a day's worth of coding, but I don't.

Can someone please explain to me how I, or any other poker bot operator, should somehow be viewed as a less moral poker player than the high-profile guys that literally turn online hold'em into a team sport?

PokerNews Interviews Chris Vaughn and Sorel Mizzi

PokerStars Blogger Tournament 2007

Having finished in October, The PokerStars Blogger Texas Hold'em Tournament isn't exactly the freshest online poker news, but I received a couple of emails asking me why I didn't enter the event under this blog's banner.

I'd like to think they are kidding, but just in case...

I like my accounts at PokerStars. They make me money. They make Pokerstars money as well, and they don't seem to mind if the poker bot accounts hang around there playing poker and multi-tabling for 4-5 hours a day. I'm not going to shoot off a flare gun for Stars security, however. The anti-bot crowd would love to find my identity and out me on two plus two or some other major forum. I'd get banned and setting up new accounts, proxies, etc is a real pain in the ass. In fact, if you could guarantee I'd win the entire tournament, I'd still pass. $12k isn't worth it. It's not even close.

Anyway, here are the top 9 finishers from the event complete with links to their respective poker blogs if you want to take a look. Let them see their hits come from an online poker bot blog...It'll make them nervous.

Congratulations to LParreira. As I stare at snow on the ground, that Caribbean Adventure package looks like heaven.

LParreira (Portugal) — $12,000 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure package
mathwise (Canada)
lborba (Brazil)
ulan-ude (United States)
Abellyus (France)
NileFever (United Kingdom)
stakaman1962 (Greece)
BoreN =P (Norway)
fourflushers (United States)

Monday, December 3, 2007

Another Full Tilt Poker Scam

Chris "BluffMagCV" Vaughn, Managing Editor of Bluff Magazine: BANNED!
Sorel "Imper1um" Mizzi: Maybe sorta almost banned?

Details are still hazy about Sorel Mizzi, but without question Chris Vaughn (Winner of TWO Full Tilt $1 Million Guaranteed Tournaments in a row) has been disqualified from the tournament, his winnings removed, and his account 100% banned from Full Tilt Poker after running a scam in a million dollar hold'em tournament.

You can catch the link at the bottom to get all the details from the 2+2 forum, but basically 1 guy let another guy play under his account in the final stages of the tournament. It's blatant cheating (ahem...unlike a poker bot system). Poker is not a team sport.

It's funny how the public screams and yells about bots, but every single one of them seems to "know somebody" who chip dumps, or colludes, or switches accounts. So if I search for these two online poker celebrities on 2+2, what odds will you lay that I find a post from both of them condemning the "evil" poker bots out to destroy the game?

2+2 Discusses Mizzi/BluffMagCV Banned at Full Tilt Poker

Open Holdem, Free Online Poker Bot Source Code!

If you have been sitting on the sidelines, afraid of what virus or trojan might be hiding in a commercial pokerbot, now is the time to get in the game. Open Holdem is a new OPEN SOURCE (nearly) commercial quality botting platform.

That's, right. It's open source. You can see the source code and you are free to modify it anyway you like (within GPL restrictions, I believe).

OpenHoldem builds on the foundation of WinHoldem established by Ray Bornet. In fact, it uses Winholdem screenscraper profiles and formulae. It appears as if it were a reverse engineering job on WH, but I guess only the WH developers know if they've actually decompiled WinHoldem or if the mystery coder simply copied the function. I doubt it is a decompile, or we'd be hearing about legal problems already.

Without a doubt, though, it is a solid piece of code. This isn't a hack job. Outsourced or home brewed...I don't know, but it sure looks like the work of a professional coder to me. The OpenHoldem developers (no idea who that is, but I've heard whispers of "SingleMalt" from the WH forums) give the following reasons for releasing this project:

  • Questionable long term viability of the WinHoldem platform (and I totally agree). WH requires connectivity to a "license server" to function. If that server is unavailable or discontinued, the software is non-functional.
This is the main reason I jumped from the WinHoldem platform. I didn't like the idea of being dependent on Ray's updates or liscencing. I always had the nagging suspicion that WH would up and disappear someday, and then you'd be totally screwed.
  • WinHoldem forces software upgrades on you whether you want them or not. With OpenHoldem, you choose when you want to upgrade, if at all.
This was never that big of an issue for me, but I can certainly understand the concern. WinHoldem never seemed to have the greatest beta testing and some of the updates forced you to change your formula or profile before you could run the program again. I understand Ray's need for version control since he's supporting all these users, but still...that's no consolation when you are about to leave the house for a weekend and your bots don't work.
  • Peer review. Does WinHoldem really do what it says it does, and does it do it correctly? Without peer review of the source code, we will never know.
  • Are you a tinkerer? Do you want a solid code base from which to develop your own particular botting platform? OpenHoldem provides this.
  • WinHoldem is a closed platform, and the community has been unwilling to contribute to the success of that platform; this is a cultural issue encouraged to a large degree by it's author(Ray Bornet).
I'm not going to ring the death bell for WinHoldem just yet, but this can't be good for them. As of this writing, a WH subscription is still needed in order to properly screenscrape the casino and output a valid profile. The OpenHoldem Pokerbot Platform developers are planning to release their own version of Winscrape (Winholdem's tool for creating a profile that let's the robot "see" cards, chips, and everything else on the table).

When that day comes, WH may be in trouble. Honestly, I'd hate to see Ray Bornet suffer from this. All in all, he's done a lot of good for poker bot operators, as well as having taught me the ropes. I owe him a lot.

So, anyway, grab this source code if you have any aspirations of running a poker bot system. This is valuable source code without a doubt. I know of poker bot players that have spent thousands of dollars for their own custom bots that were no where near this quality. Grab it before Google pulls it.

Here's a link to the OpenHoldem OpenSource Poker Bot home. You'll find the source code, versus bin, and even a free Cake poker 10-man table Winscrape profile. For any other poker site, you'll have to find a profile or build your own with Winscrape, but you'll need a WinHoldem subscription for that.

We'll be watching this closely to see how the WinHoldem vs OpenHoldem war turns out.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Pokerbot World Championship Cruise Results

Well, the much hyped PBWC has come to a conclusion and, as I expected, turnout was dismal. Honestly, I forgot about the event completely. A few academic types and Ray's forum favorites showed up, but just about anybody who's first priority is profit stayed home.

The max buy-in anybody would pony up for a game was $100, which is kind of sad when you are calling the event a World Championship. I understand why Bornet is trying to find a revenue stream outside of grinding code, but he might want to keep looking. I don't think anyone who's seriously running a bot for profit in today's world is going to fight against diminishing returns to become the elite 2 or 3 bots that exist. There's no point.

All of that energy and brainpower should be applied to scaling your bot farm war room and your table selection algorithms.

Are my bots the best? Doubtful, but that's not the name of my game. My bots are automated nearly 100% and they are self adapting in many ways. Fire and forget. Collect profits. Repeat and multiply.

That's no really is $1 buy in.

$1 Fixed Limit Holdem
2007-09-24 01:17:36 GMT
Place Player Mode Prize
1 HTC Man $3
2 Asbak Man $2
3 Winngy Bot $1
4 AsbakAlpha Bot -
5 ChadZ Man -
6 Matrix Bot -

$1 Pot Limit Holdem
2007-09-24 19:10:03 GMT
Place Player Mode Prize
1 Tyche Woman $4
2 Guaran Man $2
3 MatrixB Man $1
4 ChadZ Man -
5 Asbak Man -
6 Winngy Bot -
7 HTC Man -

$1 No Limit Holdem
2007-09-24 20:29:57 GMT
Place Player Mode Prize
1 AsbakAlpha Bot $4
2 Guaran Man $2
3 Winngy Bot $1
4 Asbak Man -
5 ChadZ Man -
6 MatrixB Man -
7 HTC Man -

$10 Fixed Limit Holdem
2007-09-25 01:22:55 GMT
Place Player Mode Prize
1 AsbakAlpha Bot $30
2 ChadZAlpha Bot $20
3 Braveheart Bot $10
4 Matrix Bot -
5 Winngy Bot -
6 Mulciber Bot -

$10 Pot Limit Holdem
2007-09-25 14:39:58 GMT
Place Player Mode Prize
1 Tyche Woman $30
2 Asbak Man $20
3 Winngy Bot -
4 HTC Man -
5 Guaran Man -

$10 No Limit Holdem
2007-09-25 17:34:14 GMT
Place Player Mode Prize
1 Guaran Man $40
2 HTC Man $30
3 ChadZ Man $20
4 MatrixB Man -
5 AsbakAlpha Bot -
6 ChadZAlpha Bot -
7 Winngy Bot -
8 Asbak Man -
9 Braveheart Bot -

$100 Fixed Limit Holdem
2007-09-25 20:19:23 GMT
Place Player Mode Prize
1 HTC Man $300
2 Matrix Bot $100
3 Winngy Bot -
4 Asbak Man -

$100 Pot Limit Holdem
2007-09-26 01:20:48 GMT
Place Player Mode Prize
1 HTC Man $200
2 Tyche Woman -

$100 No Limit Holdem
2007-09-26 02:32:13 GMT
Place Player Mode Prize
1 HTC Man $300
2 Guaran Man $200
3 MatrixB Man -
4 WHooray Man -
5 Winngy Bot -

World Champion Fixed Limit Holdem
2007-SEP-28 FRI
Place Player Mode
1 HTC Man
2 AsbakAlpha Bot

World Champion Pot Limit Holdem
2007-SEP-28 FRI
Place Player Mode
1 Tyche Woman
2 HTC Man

World Champion No Limit Holdem
2007-SEP-28 FRI
Place Player Mode
1 Guaran Man
2 HTC Man
3 AsbakAlpha Bot

Monday, November 26, 2007

The Cost of a "Free" Poker Bot

For those with short attention spans, just read this one sentence: Free pokerbots aren't worth your time and will more than likely COST YOU MONEY in the long run.

Stop downloading them. Even if you happen to find a copy that is not laden with mall-ware (or worse), most of these free poker software bots will require you to sign up with a new account at whatever small list of online poker sites compatible with this particular bot. This makes them your referrer and entitles them to a significant portion of your rake for the entire life of your account. If, instead, you sign up with a reliable rakeback provider (no affiliate spam here, I suggest 2+2 forums to research reliable rake back affiliates) you would get thousands of dollars returned in rakeback. If you run any sort of profitable pokerbot, a years rakeback is far more than the cost of a reputable bot platform such as winholdem or Pokerbot pro, and those are compatible with far more online casinos.

Heck, run a break even bot and your rakeback should be thousands of dollars per year. That's the beauty of running a bot war room.

Ok, let's assume you didn't heed my advice and you've installed a free poker robot that is not a complete scam and does actually at least do something. Sadly, you are going to find that you have nothing more than a mediocre pot odds calculator. Possibly you'll have a few rudimentary sliders for adjusting the tightness of play.

I hate to break the bad news to you, but that won't cut it in today's online poker climate. The games are too tough for that unless you are playing at a totally worthless limit. Don't fool yourself with a run of good luck in the beginning before the other players have any sense of your play. Even low limit poker games are full of opponents that are acutely aware of your playing tendencies. Software such as Poker Tracker is practically a requirement...the days of new players remaining clueless fish for months or years is gone. There is simply too much good advice on the net. A purely mathematical approach to poker is unlikely to be successful over the long term unless you exercise very precise table selection methods.

That's a hint, btw. A sophisticated table hopper that closely monitors table conditions may be worth as much time investment as your bot. Diminishing returns, and all.

So in the end, you have a mediocre pot odds program, probably a compromised computer, a rakeback-free account that's loosely associated with other bots, and nothing that will help you learn more about the art and science of pokerbot programming.

Just walk away. That "Free" software is going to cost you plenty.

ICM (Independent Chip Model) Primer for NL Poker Bots

If you are building a No-Limit Hold'em poker bot, knowledge of ICM is absolutely mandatory. put up a nice little primer that should whet your appetite. If you are new to the topic, read this introduction, then head to the 2+2 forums and start searching. You'll think of chip equity in a whole new way.

ICM is a purely mathematical system, making it a perfect tool for your No Limit tournament poker bot. Don't risk busting your bankroll...your opponents know about Independent Chip Model and so should you.

ICM Introduction at

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Full Tilt Security Rampages On

You just gotta love FTP for constantly harassing their human players, tying up their security team. Here comes the woeful tale of a 2+2 forum poster who's $50,000 bankroll is tied up in Full Tilt's investigation limbo. Emails not returned...timetables missed. It's comical how easily these poker sites will toy with tens of thousands of dollars.

A particularly good post from the thread:
Dear FullTilt,

After an extensive investigation into the activity on your site, I have determined that you are clueless pricks hell-bent on stealing money from your customers.

Please note that the length of the investigation was due to the numerous characteristics that need to be assessed when making this type of determination.

As previously mentioned, in order to protect the integrity of this investigation and those in the future, I will not be releasing the evidence in this case. I can tell you that during the course of the investigation I reviewed and assessed detailed hand histories and playing patterns to come to my final decision.

My Full Tilt Poker account will remain permanently inactive and the remaining funds will be used for you to buy a clue and get off your high horse.

You are no longer welcome to receive any rake from me at Full Tilt Poker.


Independent researcher

Full Details at the 2+2 Forums

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Nothing is Certain but Pokerstars and Taxes: Guide to Gambling Taxes in the U.S.

Unfortunately, yes you must (according to the IRS) pay taxes on all "worldly income" and this includes gambling winnings as income. We won't try to talk about any state laws at this time...they are simply to varied. A tax professional in your state would be your best bet at these questions. Along the same lines, don't take any of this post as tax advice, but only a collection of the "rules" as I know them.

It is a big misconception that rakeback isn't considered income by the IRS. Unfortunately, since you've included the rake paid out as a loss, any return of that money must be considered income. This includes bonuses, or any other comps you have received. Be careful on this one. Lots of us have rakeback payments coming right into our checking accounts for large amounts of money. Declare this as's worth being able to sleep at night.

Another big mistake is assuming you can report only the net difference of your wins and losses. Ie, that you can win $100k, lose $97k and report to the IRS that you had a gambling income of $3k for the year. This will get you an IRS red flag in a hurry. You must report ALL winnings as income as well as all losses. I won't get into it here, but suffice to say that the tax implications are significant. When you begin to make more money as a poker pro, the need (and means) to consult with a tax professional versed in gambling income will be apparent. Depending on your state, your gambling income, and other factors; you may find it beneficial to declare yourself as a professional gambler. This requires a lot more paperwork and itemized deductions, but again...when you reach that level, you'll know it.

To declare as a pro, you must:
  • Be able to show profit and that you support yourself with this income
  • Operate as a business (Itemized expenses, paperwork, etc)
  • Show profit for 3 of the last 5 years.

All in all, as much as it hurts, do not trivialize the IRS and their cravings for your money. Use their rules against them for any advantage you can find, but don't step outside the lines.

WSOP Voted One of America's Top Competitions

All the Winholdem bots, Ultimate Bet Scandals, and Absolute hacking incidents can't put a damper on poker's continuing move to the mainstream as this news release shows.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

World Poker Tour Host, Vince Van Patten Interview

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Winholdem Pokerbot Review

WinHoldEm is an online Texas hold 'em bot, created by Ray Bornet which can be used in online poker play. Poker is a game which has endured the generations and these days Winholdem is becoming popular among players.

WinHoldEm software is the most popular of these intelligent poker bots.

You avoid detection by running your poker software on a machine where WinHoldem is not installed. Most sites run software that scans for it and you will be banned from the site for using it just as if you were using Winholdem to play hold em for you on an unprotected OS. Software such as WinHoldEm can collaborate through back-channels, as well. This allows for automated collusion. Multiple copies of the software can assist each other while playing, or for pre and post play analysis.

So if they are profitable why do you want these bots off the site? If during that time or anytime after the poker room detects your bot your account can be closed and bankroll may be confiscated. If you're found out, you'll get yourself banned from the site and your winnings will be taken away. Only humans are permitted to play. It's a secret between you and the poker site, that they unofficially seem to allow pokerbots on many online rooms. The site makes money, and the poker ecosystem flourishes. Bots rule online poker sites, check out this page. you will be amazed.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Choosing an Online Poker Calculator

A good poker calculator is a good investment and a good tool if you are not a mathematical wiz. This family of poker software is both for beginners and semi-pros since nearly everyone is using a calculator of some type in todays highly volatile online poker games. Most poker calculators are a software program that's run during play that provides valuable information like odds, probabilities, outs, etc. A poker calculator is a tool used to calculate odds, identify outs, and track player statistics. Your poker advisor software is not just going to agree with book strategy, but pure mathmatics. All players strive for a way to eliminate tilt and emotional decisions..

And the best way to achieve this is with an advanced odds calculator.

However, as a guideline, your poker calculator is going to have the exact odds, and correct mathematical indication served up for you, David Sklansky style...but without any knowledge of your opponent's particular style of play. An online poker calculator is typically a handy poker software program that gives you an idea of the odds of various hands, but it won't make you a millionaire..

Earning Ultimate Bet Points

Ultimate Bet is one of the largest poker rooms on the internet.with traffic that is among the top 3-4 in both ring games and tournaments. I believe it is a great place to learn these games at low stakes levels. Ultimate Bet is also a USA friendly poker room, by the way, operating on the Excapsa network. I've found that the gameplay at Ultimate Bet is pretty tight. UB software is faster and somewhat different from the others but is does not compensate on being user-friendly. Ultimate Bet is the home of Annie Duke, Phil Hellmuth and many other top poker players.

You used to get points if you were dealt a hand. Now only players who contribute to the pot get points. It's similar to an airline frequent flyer program for gamblers. If a tournament pays only five places, only the top five players get points, for example.

You MUST be at least 18 years old to receive a free bankroll at Ultimate Bet, Full Tilt and Absolute Poker. At Ultimate Bet, there are plenty of opportunities to build a nice bankroll (the amount of money you have set aside to play poker with). It is generally advised to be very conservative with your bankroll as a beginner.

Ultimate Bet is still playing strong for all US online poker so it is one of my favorite poker rooms. They are absolutely the most popular poker room with the rarer seven card poker professionals.

Collusion Continues in Online Poker Rooms

One of the disadvantages of online poker is that it's more difficult to read your opponents. It is among the most popular gamse in the world, and it pays to be a pro in it. So is it true that online poker is rigged? We need to remember that it is different than live poker in a cardroom. Hacking online poker sites is largely a myth, but there is another threat to the poker industry.

Though collusion is a problem in real cardrooms, it is a much more serious problem for online poker. It is the most widely known method of online poker cheating. If you see collusion in a cash game, you have a few options to defend yourself. However, reputable poker sites have cheating detection abilities that do not exist in brick and mortar casinos. Although I think that in general there is not an overtly amount of collusion in online poker games, I know it does exist. Collusion destroys the integrity of any poker game.

In a British report it was stated that thirteen million adults have played online poker in one form or another. Many more of them have colluded than who have been caught and busted by Pokerstars. Tax collectors will start requiring poker tournaments to report the winners' take.

Just remember that online poker is so easy when launching new client software. Online poker is NOT perfectly safe, but it is still fairly safe.

Full Tilt is "On Tilt" Over Complaint

Competition at Full Tilt is above and beyond your average poker room and is one of the biggest names in the online poker industry. Full Tilt is a relatively new online poker room having just launched in July 2004. A fairly popular site, Full Tilt is increasing in popularity due to its advertising campaigns and large bonuses.

After an investigation prompted by a player complaint at FullTiltPoker. I received the following email from support within 1 hour of registering: "Thank you for contacting Full Tilt Poker Customer Support".

An allegedly real-life customer complaint letter sent to the NTL complaints dept. A PR flack had previously made comments about the complaint. The only complaint I have so far is that Gordon gives one hand example (page 32) from a 2/5 NL table he claims he played on Full Tilt. I've never had to do this, since I've never received a single complaint from a player. Is there no cure for my complaint, no technology fix.

Full Tilt is getting better in this department, but they still lag behind the 800 pound gorilla, Pokerstars.

Poker Bot Software Bankrupt

The use of poker bots is considered a form of cheating in online poker rooms and is prohibited at all online poker sites. Besides being prohibited, using Poker bots is not illegal. A recent Wired article on poker bots is an interesting read on this matter. Where the truth lies remains to be seen, as poker bots is a rather young and unexplored domain.

There's been a lot of talk this days about poker cheat programs, poker bots, and that kind of stuff. This instantly alerts most poker rooms cheat detectors. The only software that allows you to cheat at all is PokerRNG. Is it immoral to cheat. Its still a game of money and when money is involved people, even famous people, will cheat.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Wired Magazine: Online Poker Players Bet on Prohibition Repeal

Nothing more for me to say, and nothing further after the jump.
This is an excellent article from Wired Magazine showing the current state of online poker due to the UIGEA, and the damage it has caused to the typical grinder at the poker table.

The tables really have dried up...both for myself, a mid-stakes pokerbot, as well as my friends that play everything from $5,000NL to heads up Omaha. As income levels drop, collusion becomes more apparent at even the small stakes tables.

I do not collude, never have, and never will. I feel that is cheating, unlike a poker bot that has no information outside the bounds of a rule abiding human. However, you are about to see an influx of collusion that will make everyone forget about the "danger" of poker bots.

Trust me...I've talked to them. Automated collusion-bots are on the rise. - Refusing to Fold, Online Poker Players Bet on Prohibition Repeal

Sunday, May 20, 2007

So This Blog is Banned from Digg...

Woke up this morning to do my normal Sunday Digg browsing and got a shock: This blog is banned from Digg?

No idea what happened, but all articles from this site are now auto-buried by Digg. Now, they don't call this a ban because they want to maintain the idea that they are a site created by the users. Banning a site might create a backlash of publicity (not from my trickling of readers, but there are some large sites that have received the same treatment).

I've contacted Digg for clarification but from what I've read, they are unlikely to even reply.

I did find some interesting links of others that have had the same problem. Interesting reading if you, like me, believed Digg to be a user generated site. On the bright side, I'll be ditching the annoying clutter of the Digg button. - Defacto Dig Ban - Digg Corrupted: Editor's Playground - Digg Hypocrisy

Those three are enough to give you the gist of the story. Heck, I could post dozens of links to people who've been banned. Some, obviously spammers, but many small time bloggers like myself that don't understand what has gone wrong. Google "Digg ban" if you like to see dozens of examples.

Here's a tutorial for how to use Digg's own system to ban a site you don't like, even. Unbelievable. - How to be a Dirty Digger

Hopefully the Digg folks will get back to me so I can find out what caused this. Wouldn't shock me if an anti-pokerbot contingent spammed Digg with complaints.

Friday, May 18, 2007

DOJ Siezes More of Our Money: Citadel Commerce

More bad news.
Personally, I've never used Citadel Commerce, but they've fallen victim to another DOJ cash grab. You may know them better as myCitadel Wallet.

Citadel Commerce, a Canadian based company, gave a press release in late April that they had money "held up" by one of their U.S. based processors. Now, they confirm that the DOJ has seized over $9,000,000.

This is a company that stopped dealing with any U.S. customers at the same time that the Neteller legal problems began and yet they are still a target. They did more to comply with the DOJ's wishes than the e-wallets that continue to operate to this day, and yet...they did not escape the US Government's wrath. I hope nobody has any money sitting in ANY e-wallet. At this point, we have to assume that any of them can shutdown without any warning what so ever.

You did read your new Epassporte Terms of Service, right? Did you catch the changes where you now agree that Epassporte can confiscate your entire account if you fund it from an "illegal" source? Sounds to me that Epassporte doesn't want to deal with the headache of returning seized money to players. Easier for them to keep it all, eh?

Thank you, Big Brother. I feel safer already.

2007 WSOP Event Director Resigns

Still think the WSOP isn't a declining brand?

Robert Daily, former World Series of Poker Tournament and Events Director has agreed to become a member of the DG Holdings board, leading the company's online gaming platform division.

Mr. Daily leaves Harrah's after 11 years in various capacities. During his tenure, he served as the 2005 WSOP Event Manager and 2006 WSOP Tournament Director. Bob received the prestigious 2007 Chairman's Award for his efforts.

An interesting tidbit that could be easily skimmed over comes from the following quote from Mr. Daily, "After my resignation, DGH approached me to join their group as a board member to provide leadership to their online gaming platform – especially poker – and I couldn't pass up the opportunity. I have made many great friends within the poker industry and I look forward to working with them in the future from a different perspective."

"After my resignation..." Hmm. Does something stink inside the WSOP? Why would the event director resign a mere two weeks before the event?

Read the official DG Holdings Press Release.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Full Tilt PokerBot Scandal Post-Mortem (Part I)

Now that the roar is dying down (Full Tilt Pokerbots(?) at Two Plus Two Forums), I thought I'd wrap it all up with what I, as a bot operator, have found interesting in this monstrous debate.

#1. "...As for 1forthethumb and mariojr, I've not only played with both of them but have talked to both of them..."

Most players still believe that a few replies in the chat window "prove" your bot is a human. You should already know how easy it is to inject a few semi-random chat messages now and then. Don't get carried away, however. Lack of response is less suspicious than a nonsensical or repetitive response.

#2. "...I mostly ignored bot issues because I agreed with the popular sentiment at the time that it was just too complicated to program a bot to play well at an kind of meaningful stakes...."

The players WANT to be deceived. They have self-inflated egos that have convinced their Id that they're some sort of super-human poker calculator...pulling information from the ether, evidently. All we have to do is lay low and allow them to believe this. Just as a fish can't believe he isn't a winner, these winning players can't believe their winning isn't the result of their own extraordinary talents.
Are these players making decisions outside the realm of what most bots do? Of course, but there is no guarantee they are making the correct decision. For many low stake players, they are talking themselves into exploitable bad plays much more often than they think...they seem to believe that the amount of thought put into a decision is a direct indicator of the QUALITY of the final decision. With the human mind, this is not the case.

#3. If you get mentioned on a forum. SHUT UP.

Don't be BrandonJoseph from the main thread, trying to spin the conversation to avert suspicion. It doesn't work and it will never work. Just keep your mouth closed. You will only give them more information by which to convict you. The forum lynch mob can't clear your name...but they can sure convict you and force the site into action. Let it die!

#4. "...30,000 hands, same site, three different players logging on at the same time, logging off at the same time, and not playing at the same table for any one of those hands?..."

If you do something so obvious, you deserve to get caught. It may take awhile for the players to catch on, but the sites are well aware. Don't rely on the site operators lax attitude. It can change on a whim and I will tell you from experience that some sites will catch you and then not take action until you've either reloaded the account for a bonus offer, or you've attempted a cash out.

#5. Players don't understand the economy of large numbers.

It's clear from this thread that many, if not most, players don't understand the scale of how a bot farm works. These players are driven to move up stakes as quickly as they comfortably can, and they assume your bot is doing the same. They simply do not understand that you can make a six figure salary mining micro stakes where each table is earning $.25/hour.
Could I move up limits with my bots? More than likely, but should I spend 100 man hours coding and testing this move, or should I spend 100 hours dropping 10 more computers (80+ tables) into my war room? The choice is easy at even the smallest of limits until you run out of IP's or funding accounts.

I will break here before this post gets out of hand. So far we've only scratched the surface of this thread. More analysis to follow.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

More Pokerbots Found at Fulltilt? *whistles innocently*

Alan Bostick, an interesting blogger currently writing at As I Please gives us a bit more information on the Full Tilt bot scandal(s).

2+2's favorite tinfoil hat wearer, MrGatorade, is on the witch hunt. He doesn't give criteria, just rattles off a bunch of names of heads-up poker bots at Full Tilt.

Full details at As I Please.

WSOP Changes Payout Structure

In what I believe to be the dumbest P.R/Advertising move in the entire poker industry, the people behind the World Series of Poker change to a flatter payout system.

It makes no sense to me. How much did 74th place get last year? Anybody know? Anybody care? I don't understand how the WSOP folks could be unaware of what every spam-blog poster on digg already knows: Big numbers sell! People don't sit at home and dream of 147th place in the WSOP Main Event, they dream of first place. They spend weeks or months dreaming of how they are going to spend the first place prize money. They talk around the water cooler about the lotto-sized final table stakes.

For whatever reasons, the WSOP has decided that the final table payouts will be smaller this year. Each player that reaches the top will get a smaller percentage of the purse than before, with the difference being splashed around down in the "barely cashed" levels.

For example, if you were 873rd place last year, you took home $14,605. This year (assuming the same number of entries) that would be a $22,266 win. Typically I like flat payout tourneys to minimize variance a bit, but NOT when the entire value of the tournament is derived from its shear size and enormous first place prize! Last year, Jamie Gold took home $12,000,000. The winner this year would receive just over $10,000,000.

With most players expecting a smaller field this year to begin with, why is the WSOP further damaging the buzz of their brand? It makes no sense. All they've done is weaken the single most important aspect of their brand for reaching those not completely immersed in the world of poker: That big, headline-grabbing first prize.

“We discussed this concept with our poker operations team and with members of the WSOP Players Advisory Council and the consensus was that spreading the wealth is the right thing to do,” said Greenbaum, Regional V.P. for Harrah's. “The new schedules are designed to increase the rewards to players who finish in the money but don’t reach the final table.”

Congratulation, Mr. Greenbaum. You just got angle-shot by a bunch of pros looking to reduce their variance at the expense of your marketing.

I can't find the table of exact payout structure at the WSOP's main site. They reference it but don't even link to themselves. Quality.
If you want to wade through their site for details: World Series of Poker

Firepay Assets Siezed by U.S. DOJ

Shares of Optimal Group Inc. (parent company of the Firepay e-wallet service) fell sharply Monday after the Montreal-based company had nearly $20,000,000 frozen by the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Southern District of New York.

$4.2 million has been siezed directly from the Firepay reserve accounts, with another $15 million siezed from Optimal Group's money market accounts.

While this won't be as disastrous as the Neteller account siezures, this is bound to catch some online poker players off guard. Neteller, E-gold, and now Firepay...Epassporte and the other e-wallets currently in operation can't be far behind.

Full details at

Thursday, May 10, 2007

And the Free WinHoldem Winscrape Site Is...

*Drum Roll Please*


Why? I'm not sure.

127 unique visitors came to this site since the time I posted my offer to do a free WinHoldem screen scrape by either direct reference from the WinHoldem forums, or by searching for a phrase containing the term WinHoldem. Not a single person emailed me to suggest a site for scraping.

Is WinHoldem losing ground to the newer, more user friendly poker bot platforms?

Full Tilt Rep Responds to Poker Bot Accusations

Full Tilt Poker representative "FTPSean" responds to the angry mob at Two Plus Two. As you've come to expect from Full Tilt poker, there isn't much substance.

I'll spare you FTPSean's corporate-customer-service-speak and jump right to his bullet points.

  • During the investigation we found the evidence to be inconclusive in supporting either determination (human or bot).
  • After careful consideration, the evidence did not warrant the seizure of funds and permanent account closure.
  • We stand by our decision. Having said that, re-opening an account after an investigation such as this one does not mean we have made an irreversible decision. We will continue to reevaluate this situation.

Not too exciting, but Full Tilt is in damage control mode...I'm surprised they replied at all.

FTPSean's full post can be found at the Two Plus Two Forums .

Full details in my earlier coverage here: Full Tilt Poker Bots

Full Tilt Poker Bots (?) at Two Plus Two Forums

A massive thread at Two Plus Two regarding poker bots at Full Tilt Poker has exploded. You can read the 1,500+ replies, or see my summation below.

An observant human player (SukitTrebek) noticed some statistical similarities in the play of 1forthethumb, full_tilting, mariojr, and 0_Drunkenboxer. When I say similarities, I mean SIMILARITIES. Their stats on all streets are nearly identical over 100k hand samples each. This is a link to SukitTrebek's collected stats...decide for yourself.

SukitTrebek reports his findings to Full Tilt. The suspected bot players disappear, and Trebek assumes they are banned. 1 month later, the entire crew of accounts re-appears at the same time and returns to grinding more hands of $200NL than anyone else for 1.5bb/100.

Suspicious? Oh yes. You really shouldn't continue reading until you take a look at the stats

When the bots return, Trebek breaks his silence and the NL Bots on Full Tilt thread is born. Read Trebek's original post if for no other reason than to know what a player will go through to catch you. Full_tilter and a buddy chime in to profess their innocence, backed by Nation, a Two Plus Two forum moderator that claims to know them in person and "knows" they do not run bots.

What do I think? I can tell you right now that something fishy is going on with their stats. These guys have posted stats over 100k samples that are more similiar than any I've been able to find on ANY of my bots, and I'm admitting they are un-tilting, automatons. I've run bots for 1M hands with untouched logic code without 100k runs this similiar. If these guys are bots (or a sweatshop...there's no difference) then they are following a script, but one that is horribly static and has almost no regard for the texture of the board or styles of the opponents around them.

The only way I can see a bot with such similiar statistics is if they are using only the number of actions in the hand and their hand strength to make decisions. They obviously don't use the bet amount as a decision making tool as hand histories have been posted showing them folding to minimum bets and raises in a way that no sane player would.

In other words, folks, this is a horrible bot/script/sweatshop. There are so many factors of the game that they are obviously ignoring and they are still turning a considerable profit at $200NL, a game and limit that most ignorant human players thought was untouchable by bots. full_tilter and his crew have done it successfully and as you've seen from their stats, they are making some downright horrible plays. They are continuation betting 97% of the time at $200NL for example.

Update: A Full Tilt representative has responded. Read my article Full Tilt Rep Responds to Poker Bot Allegations.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Poker Stars Cashout by Check Increased to $10,000

In this post UIGEA world, any news of relaxed banking is good news! According to reports in the Two Plus Two Forums, Poker Stars has doubled their maximum cashout by check.

As quoted on the Two Plus Two forums:

"Hello xxx,

Thank you for emailing us.

The minimum you can request on any one cheque is $25 and the
maximum is $10,000. If you wish to cashout more than this, you will
need to use an alternate cashout method. Please contact for more information about what options are
available to you for cashouts of larger amounts.

If you have anymore questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to
contact us.


PokerStars Support Team "

Of course be aware that a $10k deposit is likely to require a little more paperwork at the bank. Pay your taxes and you have nothing to worry about. I've been on the bad end of the IRS and it isn't pretty.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Poker Cheats: The History, Part 2

"The continuation of the article found in the archives here. A quick look at the history of poker cheating when getting caught meant more than getting banned."

Poker, The Cheating Game? - Part II
by: Kenneth Bateman

The introduction of the 52-card deck meant that the poker tables could now accommodate more players and there were more cards left over to draw, with each player having the chance to improve their hands. As the game of poker became more complex with the introduction of straights and flushes, so to did the complexities of cheating, as crooked gamblers had to adjust to the changing games and perfect new strategies and methods to fleece the suckers.

Collusion, whereby two or more poker cheaters would secretly partner in a game, using a series of signals to let each other know what cards they were holding, became popular with gamblers looking for a distinct advantage at the tables. The notorious marked deck was a commonly used ruse to give gamblers a secret advantage in the games. Decks of cards were “marked” in various ways, such as using undetectable markings on the card backsides, or nicking the edges of certain key cards in a way noticeable only to the cheater.

Some cheaters spent long hours perfecting the “art” of deftly manipulating cards to their advantage by second dealing or so-called bottom dealing, meaning that these experts could, for instance, hold back the top card in the deck, using the thumb of the hand holding the deck and unobtrusively deal every second card or bottom card to the other players and dealing the top card – the card that would improve the cheaters hand – to himself. Certainly, these maneuvers were meant for private games, and only possible to use when the gambler is dealing. and not possible in well regulated casinos where cards are dealt from “shoes” and multiple decks are commonly used.

But let’s give the crooked gambler his due. The ability to manipulate cards to one’s advantage under the direct gaze of other players requires not only a high degree of skill, but nerves of steel as well. Some cheaters take an easier path and devise ways of stealing chips from their fellow players. One method is to closely observe the players on either side and watch for an inattentive player. Then, with the use of a sticky substance hidden in his palm, the chip thief will casually lay his hand on a stray chip near the other players main stack, or palm a chip while pushing a pot toward that round’s winner. Slipping these chips into his own pile is easy, since the cheater’s chips are purposefully not neatly stacked.

These various methods of cheating, among countless others, such as card counting, the use of electronic devices and a myriad other ways to cheat at cards are very difficult to accomplish in a modern casino, where the staff is well trained and observant. However, there have been occasions when crooked gamblers and casino dealers worked together, with the dealer aiding his partner in various ways, one of which was to cleverly lift the corner of each card as it is dealt, allowing the cheater to see what was being dealt to each player. Assuredly, the chances of being cheated in a well-run casino are small, but when you are gambling alertness pays off, regardless.

About The Author

Kenneth Bateman writes numerous articles on the subject of poker and its players. To read more player profiles, visit

Poker Cheats: The History, Part 1

"I happened upon this post while browsing the web. It's an interesting primer on the history of poker cheats when the game was practically brand new. No, not 2001 at Paradise Poker...New Orleans riverboat in 1840. Without further ado, Mr. Bateman's article..."

Poker, The Cheating Game? - Part I
by: Kenneth Bateman

Poker’s advance from the casino’s of New Orleans to the paddle wheelers plying the Mississippi River in the early years of the 19th century. created new opportunities for the professional gambler. These steamboats were lavishly appointed floating palaces catering to the well-heeled, replete with wine, women and song for the taking, and, oh yes, gambling. Many of the passengers on these cruises were Southern plantation owners flush with money – thanks to the arrival of the railroads linking the cotton fields to the mighty river. These were men looking for a good time and willing to spend – or lose – their money in pursuit of pleasure.

At that time poker was a far different, and much simpler game then as played today. Only a twenty card deck (tens to aces), was used, and only four players at a table could participate, since the entire deck was dealt out, five cards to each player. Bets were placed and raised after the cards were dealt. The cards were then shown, and the best hand took the pot. This was an ideal game for card sharks since there was no draw and hands could easily be manipulated by various methods so that the card shark always left the game with the most winnings.

Among these various methods of cheating were sleight-of-hand tricks and even specially made mechanical devices often used by crooked gamblers, and most professional gamblers in those days were crooked. For example, Will and Finck developed a card-holding device called a sleeve card-holdout. This contraption – strapped to the inside forearm of a gamblers sleeve, which was tailored in a wide cut to accommodate the device, had a metallic clip attached to a leather band that could clasp a needed card that a gambler could transfer unnoticed into his palm with a deft movement of the wrist.

Since these were not penny-ante games it was not uncommon for crooked gamblers to recruit one or more of the ship’s officers as accomplices, with a portion of the “loot” going to the officer or officers for their aid. These officers would often steer so-called “marks” or suckers, who were usually pleasantly drunk over to the gambler and would further aid the card shark by prearranged signals that revealed what cards had been dealt to the “mark”.

In fact, cheating at these games had become so notorious that by the 1840’s a number of books were published as more or less “exposes” of the dangers of playing poker with professionals. About this time an American writer, Jonathan H. Green, wrote a particularly well received book on this subject called “The Exposures of the Arts and Miseries of Gambling”. In this book, Green referred to gambling as a “cheating game”. The game became more complex and more difficult for the card shark once the fifty-two card deck came into being, and new variations of poker were introduced.

Read Part Two

About The Author

Kenneth Bateman writes numerous articles on the subject of poker and its players. To read more player profiles, visit

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Neteller Layoffs and Continued DOJ Investigation

I don't think it will come as a surprise to anyone that Neteller continues their downward spiral. Gambling911's inside sources notify of further layoffs plus some interesting DOJ tidbits.

If you were playing poker a year ago, chances are you were moving your money around via Neteller, and if you were an online pokerbot, then the speed and convenience of Neteller's transfer system was great for adding a chunk of "free" bankroll every month from bonuswhoring. All this ended when the U.S. Department of Justice stormed Neteller HQ and froze all the funds. Many of you are probably still dealing with money trapped in Neteller-limbo, I'm sure.

Things aren't improving for the company, unfortunately. I never expected them to return to the online gambling e-wallet market, but I didn't think they'd completely fall apart.

Gambling911 reports that not only are layoffs still occuring within Neteller's management, but the DOJ investigators are STILL investigating the physical HQ building. I won't be expecting my limbo money anytime soon.


Tuff_Fish Will Make Your Day

Tuff_fish is a well known internet celebrity (think: the star wars kid). I'm not in the habit of posting videos, but after a Tuesday downswing, this video was needed. The funniest 2 minutes you may have today.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Free Winscrape for your WinHoldem Bot

I've been a bit bored lately.
No cashout problems.
No "random" security checks.
No bot problems.
I've gotten some hits from the WinHoldem forum, so I've decided to start tinkering around with WinHoldem again.

The biggest problem plaguing the new WinHoldem user at this moment seems to be the recent loss of official online poker room screen scraping. Unless something has changed since the last time I had to mess with Winscrape, I figure I can knock out a profile in a day or so. I just need you to Vote for the site you want scraped, and please be specific. I will need to know all the details you want in your profile (# of chairs, window size, 4-color cards, etc etc). I will compile all the suggestions and scrape the most popular one.

To be honest, if the winning online poker site is a juicy little spot my custom bot is beating up, I probably won't scrape that so that a hundred 12% vpip bots flood in. Sorry. I doubt this will be an issue as the more popular sites will be requested more often anyway.

Email me to vote.

Winning site and format will be announced on May 7th with the profile coming the following weekend.

Yes, I'm aware that Ray Bornet, WinHoldem's creator, is giving away $100 worth of subscription credit for working master profiles. My anonymity is worth more than $100, but I will find a way to get this to Winholdem support and hopefully posted to the master profile list. I'm not sure how exact I have to be to get my winscrape profile into the official list, but if Ray isn't too demanding, I'll do what is needed.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Yahoo Enters Online Poker Market

Online poker might change dramatically in the coming months. The first online mega-giant has entered the fray.

Both Party Poker and Poker Stars representatives have been quoted in the past as saying that the real fight begins when one of the big online brands enter the market. it comes.

Yahoo's site is currently not open to U.S. or Canadian players, as the UIGEA continues to cast doubt. Others however, are welcome to sign up at Yahoo Poker (I purposefully did not link for fear of being accused of affiliate links) and begin playing immediately on the Boss network.

Markus Holm, Executive Vice President and Head of Business Development of Boss Media said, "We are delighted to be working with Yahoo! UK and St Minver. This partnership takes Boss Media to a new dimension and is a very strategic milestone for the company. It confirms that online gaming and entertainment are becoming increasingly integrated and that a major portion of future growth in our industry will come from large online entertainment brands."
"This partnership strengthens our position as the leading online poker software provider for the European market. Product innovation and an in-depth understanding of the European gaming landscape are keys to our success."

Is this the spark that lights the fuse for the next poker boom? Could be, but in and of itself, probably not. A more interesting thought, is that perhaps Yahoo knows something about online gambling regulation that we do not and is positioning themselves for an upcoming change.

The UIEGA looks weaker every day. Great news for us all, player or bot...American or not. Six months on from the introduction of the UIGEA in the United States and on the day that Congressman Barney Frank announced his bill to regulate online gaming, this news marks another seismic event in the relatively short history of the online gaming industry.

Ultimate Bet Poker Tightens Up

The most noted pokerbot playground just changed the rules. Ultimate Bet Poker has recently changed both their rakeback MGR calculation and now today, their pts calculation methods. A LOT of winholdem and OPI poker bots just drifted into -EV.

In the past, UB's rakeback MGR was calculated in the method commonly called "dealt". For example, if the pot is $60 ($3 rake is taken) and there were 10 people dealt cards, then each person generated $0.30 in rake for that hand. Using this method of calculation you are generating rake every time you are dealt cards. Recently, they switched their rakeback to the "contributed" method. By this method, If 10 people are dealt cards and only 3 people actually put money into the pot (blinds count), then a $60 pot would give them each $1 of MGR. Those that did not put money into the pot get no MGR. For the tight, ABC playing grinder or pokerbot, this change penalizes their tight preflop play substantially. Possibly reducing their rakeback by 50%.
Today, they officially changed their webpage to reflect what had been popping up sporadically at tables over the weekend: Their Ultimate points would now only be given for hands when the player had contributed. UB effectively increased the time to clear a bonus by 4 or 5 times. The points to cash promotion is nearly impossible to reach. Only players that were previously getting somewhere in the neighborhood of 3,000 points per week will now reach the LOWEST level of 750 points.

That is a brutal, brutal bad beat for anyone botting the UB micros for the Points to Cash program. Note, I don't feel like I'm "outing" anyone here. UB has been notorious about ignoring bots for as long as I've been in the game. It's no secret. Open up a table of $.02/$.04 limit at Ultimate Bet. 1/3 of the players at that table will be playing more than 12 hours a day. 12 hours a day of multi-tabling the penny tables! I'd say that's just stupidity if it weren't for UB's complete apathy. It will be interesting to see exactly what Ultimate bet hopes to do with this. Player numbers are dropping, and I'm sure it will only get worse, as I constantly read of people that still haven't noticed their rakeback payments have dropped. Players leave, fewer tables...UB's in the downward spiral, and it seems like it is going to take some fancy maneuvering to pull out at this point.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

UIGEA to be Repealed? Barney Frank Introduces Bill

Great news for U.S. Online Poker players and gamblers!
Bad news for the Euro's who've gotten used to the absence of the U.S. sharks!

Rep. Barney Frank, House Financial Services Committee Chairman, announces today that he will introduce legislation on April 26 to repeal the UIGEA. Hopefully this is a bill with a real chance of success. I'll be scouring the net for more information, but wanted to get this up as quickly as possible for those reading on their lunch break. This should make the last half of the work day much more tolerable for some of you.

Reason Your Pokerbot Will Be Banned #1: Session Length

There are many ways to flush the hard work of coding a bot down the toilet. Most seem obvious, but greed clouds judgement. The most important rule is to play reasonable session lengths!

Chances are that you will have an account or two banned as you go through your career as a botter. Don't panic. Before you begin, just assume it is going to happen and plan accordingly.

The most common reason for being banned (and your bankroll siezed more than likely) is the simple act of playing an unreasonable amount of hands per day/week/month or playing sessions of inordinate length.

Need an example? Datamine a day of Ultimate Bet micros. The bots there are so obvious it is comical. You'll find quite a few players there that multi-table all day, everyday, to suck up the UB "Points for Cash" free money. They aren't the smartest bots in the world, most either being a very predictable nutpeddler or a typical TAG that takes his hands too far. The point, however, is that they sit there all day, every day, in a way that any human regular at the tables will detect.

Most of your problems will stem from human players reporting you.

Again, using UB as our example, it is obvious that even a rudimentary security check by the site would reveal these bots to the site operator. UB has a record of not finding bots until they cashout, so I think these players will be in for a rude awakening at some point. Regardless of the site's vigilance in detecting a bot on their own, they WILL react when the customer complaints come rolling in...and if you play 80 hours a week, 6-tabling $10NL, the complaints WILL come.

Whether you are playing for testing, or playing for profit, you MUST resist the temptation to play more than is reasonable for a player. Also, take note that "reasonable" differs between levels. A reasonable $1/$2 semi-pro might run 5 or 6 tables for 8 hours in a day. A reasonable $.01/$.02 player will most certainly not.

Slow down. Use your head. This is a long ride.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Online Poker for U.S. Players Post UIEGA

Contrary to popular belief, there are several reputable online poker rooms accepting U.S. players. A small list of the most notable, recognizable, and trustworthy of U.S.-facing online poker rooms:

  • PokerStars - The largest online poker room in the world with a reputation for the best customer-friendly service in the business. No rakeback is available, but their frequent player point store can equal all but the most generous of rakeback offers for high volume players. The only thing keeping this site from #1 in all categories is the lack of rakeback. It truly is the bar by which all other sites are measured.

  • Full Tilt Poker - 3rd in overall total size, Full Tilt Poker is the largest U.S.-friendly site that offers rakeback to its players. Home of the most sponsored pros in the world and some of the biggest games spread online, Full Tilt is a railbird's paradise.

  • Ultimate Bet - Great software with a high number of hands per hour. They were recently bought out by the owners of Absolute poker and seem to have taken a turn for the worse as far as their customer service and player incentive bonus offers are concerned. The games are tighter than most sites and the micro-limits are swollen with obvious poker bot players. While this may sound like a bad thing, it is a great opportunity for testing yourself or your bot against stiff competition with very little risk. A $.02/$.04 table with 25% of players see the flop is not uncommon.

  • World Poker Exchange - 100% rakeback is the draw for WPEX. Traffic is light, the software isn't the best, and they restrict the value of Poker Tracker opponent analysis by removing villain names from your hand histories (this limitation can be overcome with 3rd party software, however). All that being said, playing rakefree poker is a strong incentive to at least give this poker room a look.


In fact, I don't want you to sign up for any of these sites from the links above.

To do so would only cost you money (and not make me a red cent). If you are first time customer to any of these sites then research a reputable rakeback/incentive affiliate that will give you something for your signup. Pokerstars affiliates often offer Poker Assistance Software, Books, or even small cash rewards. Ultimate Bet and Full Tilt are conventional rakeback sites that pay their affiliates (and ultimately the players) fixed percentages of rakeback. WPEX pays back 100% of rake automatically to your account without need for an affiliate go-between.

These sites all have several options for deposit and withdraw for American players. Withdraws from PokerStars to Epassporte (an online e-wallet similiar to Neteller of old) are reportedly taking less than 2 days for most players. Bank Wire, Western Union, e-wallets, site-supported debit cards, or the old fashioned paper check in the mail...Don't believe the rumors coming from your local poker sewing-circle. Online poker is alive and well in the United States and YES, you can withdraw.

Video Tutorial: How To Build a High Quality Poker Table

Building your own casino style poker table might be the difference between a home game that dries up and one that flourishes. I know that when my friends and I are considering a friendly competition, one of our biggest concerns is the comfort level during play. The more comfortable you are, the better you will play and the happier the fish will be. Nothing adds a sense of class to your home game like a nicely constructed poker table and a nice set of chips. Fewer tumbled drinks and stacks, and more elbow room help to keep the hands moving as well.

You don't play with Grandma's worn-out paper bridge cards, so don't play on her old beaten down card table either.

I found this great tutorial while doing some preliminary research for building my own table. Seeing the table construction on video puts me much more at ease than the text tutorials I had considered following.

If you are like me, you don't have jigsaws, drills, and saw-horses sitting around the garage, but these items can be rented at your local Home Depot if need be. Personally, I'm getting the regulars at my home game to toss in for all the costs, including purchasing the equipment. I'm building 1 table right now for our regular game, and another that will not be finished until our poker season comes to an end and a winner is crowned. That winner will receive a table I build with personalized logo on the center felt.

It works in so many ways. Everyone gets to enjoy playing on a nice table now, nobody misses the small amount they are chipping in to cover costs, and we've established a prize to look forward to that keeps everyone coming back to make sure they get their points for the week.

If you host a home game that can't seem to attract a large or regular crowd, give these video tutorials a try. You might be surprised at what a professional quality poker table can do to keep your buddies coming back for more.

All videos hosted (for free!) by
All required materials available at Poker N Stuff

  1. Cutting the Base and Playing Surface
  2. Cutting the Rail
  3. Cutting the Racetrack
  4. Padding and Covering the Rail
  5. Assembling the Rail and Racetrack
  6. Lining the Playing Surface and Assembling the Base
  7. Felting and Final Assembly
  8. Optional Cup Holders and Final Product

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Update: Winholdem Release Notes released a new version of their popular poker bot software with a few improvements geared more toward ease of use than giving your bot a new edge at the poker table.

  • f$formulas.whf is Obsolete. A new formula file naming convention means your bot will always look for the formula file of the same name.
  • Confirmation Popups Removed. License and chair confirmation dialogue boxes can be removed via the options menu.
  • 4-color cards. WH Tableview will now display 4-color cards for easy recognition.

All in all a nice little improvement. Seems that WH support is moving ahead with client upgrades now that he's no longer supporting the never ending process of staying up to date on the poker room screen scrapes.

Official Release Notes at