No less an authority than the New York Times recently published an article discussing the prevalence of poker bots in online gambling, and the online gaming media has responded with much debate and discussion on the topic.

The article, the first in a series, “examines the recent advances in artificial intelligence and robotics and their potential impact on society,” writes Gabriel Dance, the series’ author.

Dance follows the story a professional poker player, Bryan Taylor, who inspired an investigation that eventually determined that some of the opponents poker players face on — the world’s biggest Internet poker site, in terms of traffic — were actually computers. Or bots, as they’ve been called for years.

The future
As the article points out, poker bots aren’t new. But what makes them noteworthy is that they’ve gotten more sophisticated, and better at fooling both poker room operators and the players themselves. And that they’re now getting greater mainstream media attention, probably the result of greater media focus on online gambling in general.

That was apparent not only with the PokerStars revelation, but months later, when Full Tilt Poker — the world’s second largest online poker sites in terms of traffic — announced a bot crackdown shortly after the PokerStars situation.

“PokerStars is continuing to invest substantial resources to combat bots,” Michael Josem, a PokerStars security manager at the site, told the Times. “When a player is identified as a bot, PokerStars removes them from our games as soon as possible,” and confiscate their winnings, even providing compensation to players “when appropriate.”

Lesson for affiliates
What’s this mean for poker affiliates? Poker bots seem to be a fact of life, unfortunate though that seems to those of us in the online poker industry.

But the security measures taken by these large poker sites — as well as other recent security measures by CEREUS poker rooms and Absolute Poker — should provide a good angle for those affiliates attempting to convince players of Internet poker’s safety.

As with any business, no industry is completely safe from security breaches — especially when the Internet’s involved. But in the past few years, the industry has certainly made much greater efforts to improve security, and that should prove reassuring to online poker players and the affiliates that market to them.

The New York Times article goes into much further detail regarding poker bot technology and what poker players — and affiliates — should be on the lookout for regarding poker bots. Check it out here.

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