Recently, the renown newspaper, The New York Times, published several articles describing how the online Poker industry has been infiltrated by Poker Bots. Poker Bots are automated computer programs, designed by humans, which play at online poker sites, and compete against human players.
There are many issues and debates raging about poker bots. First, bots are only as effective as the people who design and program them. Computer programs can calculate millions of instructions per second - faster and more accurately than humans, but these bot algorithms are only as accurate as those that program them. Improperly calculated algorithms can lead to poor playing, similar to human behavior. Moreoever, the human element of poker and the ability to humanly understand, process, and decide whether an opponent is bluffing, is not easy to engineer with computer programs. Thus, these soophisticated computer programs can easily result in incorrect decision-making.
Next, the New York Times' articles have attempted to smere the online poker community by suggesting that poker bots make it fraudulent to play online. Nothing could be further from the truth. The addition of bots to an online room, adds to the poker liquidity, and helps strengthen the credibility and accuracy of the games played online.
The most important omission from the Times' articles is that bots exist in our own U.S.-based stock markets. It is uncommon knowledge, yet totally true, that 70 % of daily stock market traffic and activity now stems from HFT's (High Frequency Trading), which are high-powered super-computers that are programmed by human companies. These suped-up computers are co-located near the stock exchanges themselves, to minimize internet traffic latency, and to provide an "edge" to those who own these systems. Hence, the biggest legal casino in the world (yes, the stock market) is now run and manipulated by computer programs, created by humans using sophisticated algorithms.
Thus, to condemn the use of Poker Bots and their influence on online poker play is a bit hypocritical, in that we have to seriously bring attention to the HFT impact on our financial markets, which controls the economy world-wide, and is considerably more profound than the tiny poker market. We live in a sophisticated society that is largely controlled by the Internet and computers, and we cannot condemn an entire industry's automation (poker bots), without seriously investigating and bringing attention to an industry which is governed by the same types of technology, and controls the world's wealth. On the surface, it appears that the poker industry has taken its cue from the "highly regulated" stock markets.