How to Tell if You are Playing Against Poker Bots

Poker bots can analyze data much faster than a human can, meaning they can make better decisions during a game. This could lead to the death of online poker. How can you spot a poker bot?

In this article, we’ll teach you how to look for signs if you think that you are playing against a bot.

What are poker bots?

Poker bots are computer programs that utilize artificial intelligence to play poker with no human supervision. Poker bots are illegal and unethical.

Unlike humans, bots don’t fall for tilting. They don’t misplay a hand and can keep playing for hours end, making them a lot of money in the long-term.

The proliferation of poker bots in poker rooms can spell doom for online poker.

How can you spot a poker bot?

poker bots

1. The player acts on every hand with the same amount of time

Imagine you are playing head-to-head against Mr. Pokeroboto, and the action consistently goes like this:

  • You limp, Mr. Pokeroboto tanks briefly and then raises.
  • You call and take a flop.
  • You check, Mr. Pokeroboto tanks briefly, then checks.
  • You bet on the turn, Mr. Pokeroboto tanks again, and then folds.

This is the most obvious sign that you may be playing against a bot. For every action, the bot takes a few seconds to process. This gives it enough time to analyze the hand and make the best decision based upon its programming.

There is no other explanation for why Mr. Pokeroboto takes the same amount of time to make every decision.

However, not all bots tank for an inordinate amount of time. This is a common ‘tell’ that botters with coding experience have attempted to fix. It is a common mistake for botters to conceal it and are often caught.

2. The player does not respond to the chat moderator

Imagine that you are playing Mr. Pokeroboto at a tournament. There are only 3 players left. The other player and you agree to make a deal.

However, Mr. Pokeroboto won’t respond. The moderator alerts Mr. Pokeroboto but nothing happens, which is very strange. The deal is not made, but then the unresponsive Mr. Pokeroboto reappears and is ready to play.

This is different from a player not answering in the chat. Many sites have a pop-up that appears when a moderator sends an email directly to a player. The player who does not respond to the message is considered a bot.

There are poker bots that can casually chat to avoid suspicion. In more complex situations, however, their communication can be interpreted as suspicious. Sites could also use a captcha to verify that the player is human.

A potential bot situation was uncovered in a TCOOP Event. However, the case was dismissed by PokerStars. The player in question did not disclose what prevented them from answering the moderator at the final table.

3. The player is playing for an unlimited amount of time

Imagine that you see Mr. Pokeroboto at a few tables during your session.

Just as you are about to close your computer after a long and successful session, you see Mr. Pokeroboto still grinding away. So you railbird him for a while.

He’s still playing as well as ever — so consistent, so methodical! He seems to be playing as well as anyone at the beginning of their session. You decide to go to sleep but Mr. Pokeroboto keeps playing.

Let’s say the same thing happens the next morning and the day after that. Where does Mr. Pokeroboto get all his stamina from? The answer: His RAM upgrade! 

Because Mr. Pokeroboto plays so much, it is almost certain that he is a bot.

Most poker bots aren’t great at poker. Click To Tweet

They are winning players, but only barely. The true value of poker bots is the volume of games that they can play. This volume can often go unnoticed.

Security personnel might be able to see someone playing at 20 tables regularly, they might not notice someone who plays at just a few tables at ridiculously long sessions.

Botters can get greedy and do too much. One player who grinds for 12-plus hours a day is bound to raise some eyebrows.

4. The player plays an unlimited number of tables

Imagine you open your favorite poker client, and search for Mr. Pokeroboto as your opponent. He usually plays long sessions at only a few tables.

You are shocked to see Mr. Pokeroboto playing at 25 tables simultaneously!

As we have already mentioned, most poker bots don’t do well at poker. The volume of play is essential to maximize their value. Another way to accumulate volume is to play as many tables as possible.

Contrary to popular belief, botters do more than just set up poker bots and forget about them. Bots require constant maintenance, including software updates and bugs. They also need a human to comb through their histories to find any leaks.

Bots that play in an excessive amount of tables at once are easily exploited by human opponents. You will see patterns that are predictable and rigid if you play a bot long enough. This is especially true when playing heads-up.

What should you do if you suspect a poker bot?

Let’s say you suspect that a player is a poker bot. Do not share your suspicions publicly! Doing this could ruin the reputation of the accused player as well as yours.

If you are wrong and the player is not a bot, the accused could lose all their money and may not be able to recover even after being exonerated later on.

If the poker community does not believe you, and your suspicion is wrong, then your reputation is destroyed.

You’ll be known as the boy who cried “rigged!” even though you had good reasons to do so at first.

Major poker sites have protocols in place to detect bot play. However, some more sophisticated bots can operate undetected. Some poker sites don’t care about bots because their play generates rake.

They will ban bots if they catch them or if they are reported. Some sites are more passive than others when it comes to banning and detecting poker bots.

If you suspect that a player may be a bot, contact a moderator immediately to initiate an investigation. Your identity and that of the accused player are protected until the investigation is complete.

Even if the player turns out to be human after all, you would have done the poker community right by reporting your suspicion and doing your part to protect the integrity of the game.

How to tell when a player is probably NOT a bot

These signs could indicate that a player might be a poker bot but are not reliable.

poker bots

1. The player does not respond to the moderator

It is a well-known fact that bots rarely respond to chats, so this is a common reason to suspect a player. However, a player may not respond because he simply doesn’t like to chat. It is possible that the player didn’t even notice that you said something.

2. The player sits out depending on how many players are present

Bots can be programmed with either a short-handed or long-handed range. A bot programmed with a longer-handed range will leave the table when there are fewer players.

Many human players can also learn long-handed and short-handed ranges. They may choose to sit in or out of the game if they want to. A player who sits out when there are fewer players does not necessarily mean that the player is a bot.

3. The player always places the same bets in the same spots

Some bots will have a preset betting size but it’s something that human players also do. Professionals and recreational players alike often use static bet sizing for strategic reasons, or because they use hotkey shortcuts.

However, some bot developers include a random number generator that bets on a random number within a certain range. A bot might bet between $2.00 to $2.50 instead of always c-betting $2.00 every time. This is true only for more advanced bots.

4. The player always sits next to you at the table

Sitting scripts are software that automatically places a player at tables with certain players with certain stats. This software is often bundled with bots, but it is also used by human players. Although controversial, such software is not necessarily a sign that they a player is a bot.

While these are not indicators that a player might be a bot, they do reflect common poker bot behavior. It is unlikely that a bot will chat like a human, adjust its bet size, or understand short- and long-term adjustments. There are poker bots that are designed to mimic human behavior but they are very rare.


Now that you are aware of poker bot behavior, you’ll be able to spot them the next time you are at the tables. Poker bots are not very good at the game of poker. It’s time you start learning how to beat them.