Full Tilt online poker has been taken to court following accusations concerning poker bots.
Poker bots are computer programmes that play poker. In terms of playing ability, online they can perform just about as well as an average player. This is because the online game is quite different from the face to face version.
It is well known that live poker is as much, or even more, about playing people than playing cards; psychology reigns supreme. In the online version, this being much more impersonal, it is perfect card play, calculation of pot odds, and general poker statistics that will mostly win the day; poker tells are far less important than in the live game.
As a result, by connecting a poker bot to an online poker table and pretending that it is a human playing, it is often possible to win a considerable amount of money over the long term. Poker site owners are well aware of this threat, and have developed many defences against it. For instance they are able to detect playing patterns that are consistent with poker bots and if their suspicions are aroused they can even interrogate the player’s computer to find whether or not a bot is being employed.
Full Tilt believed they had discovered two players who were using bots in this manner. As a result, and in compliance with the legal agreement made between Full Tilt and the players, they closed the players’ accounts and confiscated their account balances which amounted to $80,000. These players are now suing Full Tilt in an attempt to get their money back. They are also claiming that Full Tilt itself uses poker bots to fill empty seats at poker tables, a claim that Full Tilt vigorously denies.
A date for the hearing, which will take place in California, USA has not yet been set.