How to play against the Deepstack poker bot?

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Online poker is great fun, and it can be profitable too, but today you will often find that there is at least one bot at your table when you join a game. Instead of moaning about something that we can’t change, the best approach in dealing with this is learning how to spot these automated players and know how to beat them.

One of the most popular of these bots is the Deepstack poker bot, which has been tested against professional poker players. However, as with all these AI-driven player bots, you can beat them with the right strategy. To find the best way to avoid defeat in a poker game means understanding the situation and using the right strategy, and when playing hands of poker against Deepstack, this is no different, here is how to do it.

What is DeepStack?

One of the more effective poker-playing bots, Deepstack has been able to beat professional poker players, which makes it a sort of legend in the game. Developed by a professor of Computer Science, Michael Bowling, it has been used for research to better understand AI and test its capabilities.

For the team at the University of Alberta, Deepstack is a project to explore AI and its capabilities and represents the pinnacle of machine learning and artificial intelligence applications within the gaming industry.

How does DeepStack work?

Deepstack uses a vast database of poker hands combined with a neural network to analyse how human opponents play a hand and develop strategies to exploit weaknesses. It is built on complex machine learning algorithms and has proven to be an exceptional example of how AI can learn and adapt.

After each hand, it analyses its own performance, checking each decision to see what the outcomes were and if that can be improved. This all sounds impressive, and it is, but with so many new poker situations possible, no amount of data can prepare it for everything. This is why you can be successful in beating the bot.

General Strategy in Poker Against AI

The key to beating an AI bot is being unpredictable. Bots have a database of poker games they use to understand what the likely outcome is from any position; this is how they assess what you are likely to do. Using unusual bets, bluffs and more, you can confuse systems and gain an advantage.

But Deepstack is more sophisticated, that is why it has managed to beat pro human players. So, what can we do here?

Specific Strategies for Playing Against DeepStack

Like all current AI poker systems, Deepstack doesn’t handle bluffs very well. However, unlike others, it refines its approach after each hand, constantly analysing how much money a player is winning along with the moves made to adjust how it applies different strategies. To do this on any platform, it creates a record of everything you do in a game, including the result. 

So, while a bluff can fool it, you won’t be able to repeat the same move over and over again, it does learn. The key then, is to constantly vary what you do, not providing a regular pattern of play that the bot can identify, understand and counter. This is essentially feeding Deepstack imperfect information for its analysis, letting you control the scenario.

How to Beat a Bot in a Poker Game?

Bots are not perfect, most are designed to extract money from poor players, so the key when playing against AI is to spot loopholes in how they play and exploit them. For instance, most bots will simply replicate your moves, and this is something you can use to your advantage.Adjust bet sizes, bluff a 3-bet strategy into a 4-bet strategy, these simple things can trip up a basic poker bot and allow you to beat it in hands of poker.

Are Poker Bots Illegal?

Bots are not technically illegal, as in it is against the law to use them. However, they are against the rules of all the major poker platforms that people use. Not only that, but they are banned from all tournament play too, so using bots can see your account banned from the company you are using for online gaming.

The Best Software for Poker Bots

Deepstack is easily the most advanced poker bot out there today, but there are alternatives that can do a good job too. Bots dedicated to specific poker sites often have specific features to overcome detection and other security measures unique to the site, so offer a better solution for anyone wanting to use the bot in the real world, where Deepstack is easily identified.

The key to success in real games rather than research is to be able to continue to use the bot, and options such as GGPokerbot deliver a better experience for the user. 


Can DeepStack’s decision-making process be predicted or exploited?

To an extent. However, what makes Deepstack so effective as a poker opponent is that it reassesses strategies and analyses performance after each hand played, so is always evolving to win. The developer and AI together have given Deepstack the potential to win every single hand, it has extensive technical knowledge of the game along with an ability to adapt to any competition it faces.

How should I alter my bluffing strategy when playing against DeepStack?

The key win against a poker player like Deepstack is to vary what you are doing from hand to hand. Whether that is laying a bet or the bluff strategy, being unpredictable is the best strategy for dealing with Deepstack.

Is it possible to improve my overall poker skills by playing against DeepStack?

In short, yes! Deepstack has shown the ability to beat pro players, it has great value as an opponent to learn the game with. Over a number of hands, you need to react to it in the same way you would a human player. Over time you will improve your reading of the game and be able to adjust strategy as you go if you want to win.

Importantly, whether you are playing heads-up no-limit Texas hold’em poker or any other game, it teaches you to avoid being predictable Deepstack can match most player’s intuition in spotting patterns, so to beat it you have to develop strategies that also overcome human opponents.


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