Texas Hold ‘Em Poker – Can You Beat a Bot?

When I first started to learn the game of chess, I bought a cheap chess playing computer from Radio Shack. I was pretty good at the novice level, but when I moved the setting up a notch or two, I soon realized just how poorly I really played. I never won a game. That was 30 years ago. Computers have come a long way since then.

I mention this because it ties in with an article I recently read about a poker playing Bot. (A poker bot is computer program written to play online poker.) Before I get into that, let me tell you about an experience I had several years ago. A gentleman stopped by my computer store one morning and asked me if I could get him the fastest computer on the market. Then he told me that when an even faster one comes along, he’d buy that one too.

I asked him what he was going to use it for (So I’d know how to set it up.) and he was very hesitant in answering me. Finally, he invited me to his house, saying it would be easier for him to show me than to explain what he was doing.

When I got there, I found two computers setting side by side. One was state-of-the-art, the other was just an average system. After much him-hawing, he finally told me that he was making a ton of money playing Backgammon on the Internet. I thought he was kidding, but he wasn’t.

Here’s what he was doing. He was entering high-stakes online Backgammon tournaments that paid big bucks to the winner. He had an edge. He had purchased a world class Backgammon program and was running it on the “fast” computer while he played the tournament on the slower computer. He would duplicate the ‘live’ game, move by move on the “fast” system, and it would analyze the board positions and tell him what move to make next. Because time was at a premium, he needed the fastest computer he could get to do the analysis. I was amazed.

In the last few years, Texas Hold’em, not Backgammon has become the game of choice. It’s estimated that as many as 2 million Texas Hold’em players ante up online each month. The PPA (Poker Players Alliance) has over 1,000,000 registered members in the United States. I’d guess that most of these players figure their odds of winning online are about the same as they would be if they were playing in a physical casino. That may not be the case.

One problem when doing anything on the Internet is that you can never be sure of who or “what” you might be doing it with. That’s true with chat lines, messaging services, and now, even fellow poker players. There are poker bots you can purchase on-line that are specifically programed to play ‘limit’ Texas Hold’em. They analyze the game in real time. They know the ‘percentage of winning’ as the hand unfolds. They don’t get tired and make mistakes, they play using the most powerful poker strategies available including pot-odds, and they need ‘no’ human intervention at all. Some of them can even play up to eight tables at the same time.

Bots are outlawed in almost every online casino. But because they are so hard to detect, my guess is…many of them are playing right now and the other players at the table have no clue as to what they’re up against! Remembering my experience with the chess computer…I doubt I’d stand a chance against a poker bot. Not in the long run. Of course, they don’t win all the time. There’s still a lot of luck involved in any card game. But if I were a betting man, I’m afraid I’d have to bet on the bot.

Free Online Poker Guide to 3 Key Short Stack Satellite Play Winning Methods

In this free online poker article I want to give you a share a game example which I came across on a Bubbling satellite table. I played a couple of these last week, and I have encountered it a couple times before too.

The game was an $11 double shootout satellite for a $215 tournament. Top 2 makes the ticket and I was in 3rd. There were 2 bigger stacks and one shorter stack, and I was the shorter stack.

I had about 1500; my 2 adversaries had about 7000. Blinds were 75-150, so not much room to play for me. But my opponents were both playing super tight. This is one of the tells you have to immediately pick up on when you get close to the tickets.

This means that they are players who are most likely barely have $200 as a current bankroll, and do not want to mess anything up (since its so much for them). That’s of course what you have to take advantage of.

Getting back to the situation, my 2 opponents were super tight. They could’ve easily taken me out, but instead I stole my way up to about 3000 in about 10 minutes.

At this point when you get re-raised, be sure to fold, and let them have it. With the way the are playing, there will be many more opportunities.

The kept on avoiding me until they both caught a big hand (AA vs KQ where AA flopped a set and KQ the straight.) So they went on and knocked each other out. And I made the ticket.

Now I want to try to give you some 3 tips on how to maximize your chances when you’re attacking shorts or are a short.

1 – Always try to be aggressive. The bigger your stack, the better. Always raise the shorties Big Blind. Since they are short they can’t afford to play.

So they have the chance push or fold. They will most often fold though, since you are so aggressive and are hoping you will go battle with the bigger stacks.

2 – DO NOT battle with the bigger stacks, unless you have premium hands!

You want the money from the shorter stacks, not the bigger who can either knock you out or cripple you!

Even if you have KK and there’s an ace on the flop, FOLD! You want to kill shorties, it doesn’t matter if you ship some chips to a larger stack.

3 – When you raise the shorties, and you get reraised (all-in), don’t hesitate to call!

These shorties often fill up with frustration and will often push with any ace or medium king.

Don’t be afraid to call with 10-8, where you are often only 60-40 behind. When the short stack has less then 30% of your stack, I would call with just about anything (given the blinds represent a reasonable portion of your stack)

I hope that this article makes it a little clearer to you that being aggressive is the best way in cashing in satellites on both the cash sites as well as free online poker. Remember the minute you start tightening up and let the shorter stacks roam freely, you’re bringing problems that could be easily avoided!