August 12, 2020 Featured Articles, Poker News Petr Černý

Massive poker bot farm detected across multiple online poker sites

A massive poker bot ring operating across 50 different online poker sites has been discovered. There were hundreds of fake player accounts being used to win an estimated $3,500,000.

Massive bot farm detected across multiple online poker sites

The sites being abused by the bot farm range from well-known sites to dozens of unfamiliar smaller regional sites. The biggest numbers hit Tiger Gaming Poker and PPLS Poker.

The incredible discovery reveals how players as far afield as Ukraine and Brazil are using, or being used, to implement a basic bot scam, where software replaces players.

A newly-released data dump that covers 60,000 sessions by the bot accounts, mostly at low to midstakes cash games, could amount to $675,000 in rakeback –  and up to $3million in winnings according to some estimates.

The exact nature of how they operate seems to be clever but fairly straightforward, a possible setup as follows, based on poster ‘pmarrsouth’ on 2plus2…

  • The poker bot owners or renters‘find people who are willing to sell themselves (ie give passport, address verification, bank statements, TIM ID, etc, for a couple of hundred dollars’)
  • The company creates ‘a VM [Virtual Machine] and set the IP location/tech details of it to be near where the person who gave their identity is based.
  • The VM is loaded with everything required, ‘the bot software, the poker software…poker accounts…skrill account (or other payment processors)
  • They ‘deposit, contact the poker site if verification of documents, etc is needed’.
  • The bot ‘company employee then presses play, does screenshots, etc, running the bot/poker software’

The OP who shared the huge files on 2plus2 – some 46GB and including 100,000 screenshots – contacted almost every site named in the files, many of whom are already refunding players, and banning accounts.

partypoker and GGPoker not affected 

The biggest sites in the world, PokerStars, partypoker, and GGPoker – the latter currently running the WSOP 2020 – seem to be missing from this bot ring’s victims, likely because they are investing more time and money in pro-active detection.

However, no site or network has been immune to the rise in artificial intelligence and poker programming. Many bot developers are renting out their software to cheats.

Back in 2015, a huge bot ring was discovered operating on PokerStars. It was believed to have won $1.5million on the mid-stakes PLO tables.

DDoS Attack PokerStars

At the time PokerStars commented publicly: “We can confirm that a number of these accounts have indeed been closed for violations of our Terms of Service… Due to our strict privacy policy, we are unable to disclose user IDs in the context of fraud.”

The most recent bot ring public outings, however, have no such privacy considerations attached. The names of every account on every site are listed.

If you believe you have lost money to the poker bots, you should contact your online poker site about a possible refund.

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