Bots Caught, Banned in the Middle of ACR’s The Venom Tournament

  • The bots were found by Vojtech Cervinka, who posted about them on X
  • The accounts had chips representing $230,000 worth of buy-ins
  • In January, a Two Plus Two poster provided evidence of hundreds of bots on ACR
  • Bots don’t have their decisions influenced by fatigue and tilt
Poker bot
ACR banned bots mid-tourney during its flagship The Venom event. [Image:]

Bots picked off lots of opponents

Bots have long been a scourge in the online poker world. One of the nightmare scenarios for poker rooms is to have one make the final table – or even win – a major tournament. That was just the situation that was potentially developing in Americas Cardroom’s (ACR) flagship tournament, The Venom, this past week. Fortunately, four major bot accounts that had accumulated millions upon millions of chips were spotted and banned during the event.

The accounts were detected by poker player and coach Vojtech Cervinka, the person who runs the X account “MTT Database Review.” Cervinka posted information about the bots on social media and then ACR saw it and took action. The four accounts, which were blinded off, were: Withia (23 starting stacks at the time of disqualification), Verucasalt5 (10 starting stacks), MReGoR (32 starting stacks), and acquiton (27 starting stacks). Their chip stacks at the time of their bans represented about $230,000 worth of buy-ins.

On Thursday, Cervinka posted records of over 50 accounts that he detected and appear to have been banned. Most, he said, had not played in a multi-table tournament on the Winning Poker Network – of which ACR belongs – since April 30. The accounts, which included the ones banned during The Venom, profited around $240,000 before rakeback.

Nothing new for ACR

Americas Cardroom, which caters to players in the United States despite not being licensed or regulated in the country, has been known to have bot problems. At the beginning of the year, a poster on Two Plus Two named “TylerRM” shared his findings on hundreds of bot accounts, saying that the bot farm from which they spawn “creates 100+ new accounts per month” and that the automated programs evolve their playstyle frequently.

$100,000 reward to anybody who could create a bot that could run undetected

ACR-sponsored pros Chris Moneymaker and Ebony Kenney made public statements denying the existence of bots on the network, though most assume ACR told them what to say. They announced a $100,000 reward to anybody who could create a bot that could run undetected on the network for 5,000 hands.

The very next day, Matt McElligott posted on X that he had a bot running on ACR and was happy to provide evidence for the reward. Later that day, a clearly spooked ACR issued a “clarification” of the challenge, saying that the bot had to be able to “pull money out of our poker economy” in addition to running for 5,000 hands. A day later, ACR cancelled the challenge, saying it was a “mistake” to encourage people to create bots to play against real players on the network.

Unfeeling, uncaring

When the subject of online poker bots comes up, some people question why they are a problem. After all, they say, the bots are often predictable and many aren’t even very good. Well, as is evidenced by the fact that multiple bots made the money in The Venom and one was even in second place at one point, many are actually quite good. But even the ones that are mediocre pose a couple main problems.

The first is that because they are computer programs, they never get tired. This is key in big tournament, in particular, as those competitions can often go for hours and hours – some of the biggest span multiple days. It takes a lot out of a poker player to make a deep run, but time and energy aren’t factors for bots. They can keep going as long as the user’s computer is on. And of course, the more tired someone gets, the more mistakes they might make. That doesn’t happen to a bot.

don’t get nervous when the money bubble approaches

Similarly, bots have no emotions. They don’t go on tilt, they don’t try to get revenge on a player that bluffed them off of a big pot, they don’t get irritated by their kids bugging them in the middle of an important hand. Bots also don’t get nervous when the money bubble approaches or when they have pocket Aces. Emotions and nerves, like fatigue, lead to mistakes. Bots just play the same way over and over and over.

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