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Pokerstars Closes 10 Bot Poker accounts
Information that initially emanated from a respected online poker message board has resulted in an intense Pokerstars investigation and a freeze on 10 player accounts at the giant online poker website this week.
The investigation showed that the frozen accounts were operating remote computer programs, or ‘bots’, findings that were confirmed by the independent poker rankings site Poker Table Ratings.com, which has previously identified such disqualifying play.
In an article this week, PTR claimed that the offending accounts had collectively played at least eight million hands, generating nearly $187,000 in rake and making $57,000 in profit.
Posting in the relevant thread on the 2plus2 website, a representative of Pokerstars Game Security gave an update on the situation:
“PokerStars would like to update you on the status of this case, and correct several misconceptions that have been perpetuated throughout this thread.
“First, as of the afternoon of July 17, we have indeed removed ten players from the site for violations of our terms of service. We cannot give additional details about which accounts, or the specific reasons for their removal.
“Second, we would like to clarify that there were two separate investigations here. PokerStars absolutely did not exonerate these players from being bots at any time. We conducted a review of the three users listed in the [original 2plus2 post] for collusion, and it was negative, and this was reported to the OP, who posted an incorrect “PokerStars said ‘All Clear’”.
“A review of the players for being bots was concurrently being conducted, and was in progress until July 17th. The OP was notified of this concurrent bot review being in progress, and did not inform this thread of that fact.
“We would like to address the fact that the play continued throughout the night of July 16th, after a third party poker source posted an independent review [that] identified 7 additional players.
“Pokerstars had also identified 7 additional players very early in our investigation - prior to the third party poker [PTR] site's identification of them. We were conducting a very in depth search to locate other potential accounts, to ensure we had located all of the accounts prior to closing them down concurrently.
“Shutting down only part of a ring in mid-investigation can spook additional, undiscovered accounts into cashing out prior to locating them. As of this afternoon [July 17] that review concluded that the ten accounts were the complete extent of the matter.
“Next, please note that third party poker sites did not locate this ring unassisted. They had a baseline of three identical player profiles from which to start, which is a far more trivial task than saying "here's a collection of 4 million players... now, find me 3 who are identical.... without a baseline from which to search."
“One is a linear search (searching for a particular pattern) and the other is exponentially more difficult based upon the number of players. PokerStars located the rest of the ring faster than did the third party poker site.
“Finally, to address why these players played for a relatively extended period without detection, we can say that upon conclusion of this review that the bots were fairly sophisticated in certain aspects, including their human behaviour modeling and their stealth capabilities.
“Our tools for bot detection are sophisticated, but they are not perfect. No site can guarantee you that they are completely free of bots. What PokerStars can and does pledge is that we use our extensive tools behind the scenes to detect bots as best we can... and they are very effective. We detect and remove most bots well before they even leave the development stage, and well before they could play long enough to come to the attention of players or third party poker databases the way these players did.
“PokerStars takes its commitment to bot detection and removal extremely seriously, and will continue to do so, both behind the scenes with our tools (which are under constant review and improvement), and in response to player-generated suspicions. Most player reports of bot suspicions are false alarms, but we still investigate each one thoroughly, and when they actually do locate a previously undetected bot, appropriate action will always be taken.”
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