Is it illegal to use a poker bot?

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Poker has been a game that attracted people from every walk of life, with written records of games from the early 1800s. But it has been the onset of online poker and easy access to structured, easy to use gaming platforms that have seen an explosion in popularity.

Today, you can play poker from more or less anywhere on your phone, whether against another human player or against computer opponents. With vast choices of game types, tournaments and more, there is a table for any type of poker you want to play.

It has become very lucrative too. While professional players winning millions at a single tournament make headlines, people all over the world are making a good living from poker without all the publicity. With the ability to make a few thousand dollars a month part-time for those who understand the game, it is no surprise that ways to make that even easier or bypass that learning process, have emerged.

The rise of the poker bot

The tool that emerged to deliver that win rate is the poker bot. This is a program created to play the game for you. Early options were relatively simple, offering suggestions of how to play each hand. Today, poker pots use AI to analyze other players, adjust strategies in real-time and can play online poker on your behalf entirely automatically, with some able to play multiple tables at once.

The attraction is clear, no need to spend years learning to play poker, instead, let the bot do it for you. A good bot with a sensible staking system can make three to five thousand dollars a month with little player input. But while that is good for those who have access to the bots, as you can imagine, the platforms themselves are not so keen. Their businesses rely on people enjoying the gaming experience to keep coming back, but if bots are beating them every game, retaining players becomes more difficult.

As a result, an online poker site will ban the use of bots in their terms of service and often use some kind of detection system to catch those who use a poker bot.

But does that make using a poker bot illegal?

Is it illegal to use a poker bot?

While the platforms themselves don’t like bots for the reasons outlined already, and several more, there is a big difference between not being allowed on a specific site and being illegal to use. In this case, using bots is more often than not against the rule you sign up to when opening a casino account, but it is not against the law in any country.

You’ll often see casinos make regular updates to their software to combat the use of bots on poker sites, and install systems to detect use during games and tournaments. However, bot programmers will often deliver updates just as quickly to avoid the new security measures. This is an ongoing battle, with the online gambling company trying to eliminate bot use, and the bot companies finding ways to keep their software working so players can win cash without difficulty.

Bots may be detected and banned if their developers don’t keep up with platform efforts to uncover them, but for the majority of popular robots out there, they operate the way a player would want them to and rarely have issues. Casinos will see bot users as sneaky little cheats, simply because they need to give the impression of fair gaming to attract new players, and a site known for bot use can struggle with that. But if you want to use a bot, usually you’re going to be able to find one that works.

What can bots do for your success in poker?

While we call all software options that can assist with making money playing poker online, there are a range of options from different companies. Simple versions will track hands and cards played and make suggestions for plays based on probabilities of what other players have. These simple bots use an on-screen interface and are usually a low-cost option. Think of these as an assistant to help you as you play, rather than something that can play for you.

However, today we have much more sophisticated programs that leverage AI to learn and adapt as they go. They are ‘trained’ using millions of real, played hands of poker to learn responses to almost any situation that may occur, offering optimal strategy that adapts to opponents, whether human players or computers.

An advanced AI bot can be used in two ways. They can be used to guide your own gaming, just follow the instructions given, or for the most advanced options, they can automate the entire game and play for you. Playing for you means automated profits, you don’t have to do anything, just join a table, set the game in motion and the bot does everything. It can place a bet, play the hand, choose strategies and more without any input, even if you aren’t even at the computer.

The idea of a poker bot playing for you can seem like a loss of control, however, because you always maintain control of staking, you are always involved. The program just does the repetitive task of monitoring other players and cards so that it can make a winning decision, streamlining your gaming experience and allowing you to share your time across multiple games easily.

However, while that is a great way to create an easy, if modest, income, by playing the game following the system’s instructions, you also have an incredible learning tool too. The bot will show you how to play each hand, helping you to learn strategies as you play, while also avoiding that beginner phase where you make a lot of mistakes, and lose.

Why are bots so effective?

The thing about bots, especially the latest AI-driven software that learns and adapts as it goes, is that they are programmed and designed to do this one task really well. They don’t forget what cards have been played, they’re capable of almost instant changes in strategy and behaviour, and constantly reassessing their decision-making process, unlike a human player.

This makes them especially good over an extended period at a table playing through multiple hands. They learn how their opponent plays the game and adjust to adopt the best approach to beat them. That is why a bot can earn money, they adapt, learn and never lose focus. There is also no limit to how long they can play internet poker and they never get tired.

Summary

It is legal to use a poker bot, but you will be breaking the terms and conditions set out by the casino in most cases. This means that you could get trouble if the system identifies you as using one. Your account could suddenly disappear, and you would be unable to move finds out to your bank account if that happened. The casino may even accuse you of fraud, although that would not stand up in law.

It does mean that you should move to different platforms frequently if using this option, and make sure you choose bots dedicated to that platform for the best chance of staying undetected.

FAQ

What are poker robots or bots?

These are software packages that analyze your online poker games and either offer advice on how best to play each hand, or play them for you.

How does the robot army work?

They use machine learning and AI algorithms to assess each hand, opponent strategies and so on, leveraging a neural network and huge database of previously played games to develop strategies with the best probabilities of winning.

Are there specific laws or regulations that address the use of poker bots in online poker?

No. It is against the terms of service of all the major casinos and online poker games to use bots, but there is nothing illegal about using them.

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