Back in the early days of online poker and especially during the poker boom of the mid-aughts, the biggest concern online poker players – and maybe more so prospective online poker players – had was whether or not the games were on the up-and-up.
“Online Poker is Rigged” threads on message boards were simultaneously popular and mocked. Today, concerns revolve less around possible impropriety by the sites and more around cheating by players. One cheating method is the use of bots, programs that a user will run with the poker software to automate poker actions.
There has always been some question as to whether or not poker rooms care about bot use, but recently, PartyPoker confirmed on its blog that it has shut down nearly 300 bot accounts.
Bot use isn’t exactly cheating in the strictest definition of the term; botters aren’t necessarily colluding with other players or seeing opponents’ cards. It is, at the very least, unfair play. By using automated programs, bot users have a significant advantage in a couple of ways.
First, emotions never get in the way. Every decision is made exactly according to plan. And second, fatigue never enters the equation. Of course, the program must actually be good at playing poker, but we’ll ride with that assumption.