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Old 04-24-2010, 05:22 PM   #1
centurion
 
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ethics behind poker bot...

Sorry if this is the wrong forum for this... mods feel free to move it if it is

I am writing this under a gimmick account obv. I am a regular on one of the poker forums normally.

My friend (who is a computer science major) and I are thinking about writing a poker bot this summer... Mostly just for fun and to see if it is possible, but also with the prospect of making a little $$ on the side.

I am starting to wonder the ethics behind doing this... I mean I know poker is quite the grey area when we bring morality into the picture, but I imagine it is significantly different when a program is doing all the work...

Some justifications I have are:

- I would crush the low stakes games if I were to play myself
- The program would be very easy to adjust to, and as such the better players will be able to outplay it.
- The program will thus only be able to crush the bad players
- These bad players would be losing money either-way and would be none-the-wiser to the program


... I would like to hear peoples opinions before I start on this project.

NOTE: I am not saying that I am doing this for sure... I just want to hear peoples input
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Old 04-24-2010, 05:30 PM   #2
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Re: ethics behind poker bot...

Well lets hope you can beat the other bots out their and don't get crushed by the stronger ones, just try and find a table where you are not up against 9 other bots.
And yes it is cheating so you are taking a number of risks if you get caught.
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Old 04-24-2010, 05:38 PM   #3
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Re: ethics behind poker bot...

Lock and ban?

It's plain and simple fraud. Money doesn't pop into existence, every dollar you get is a dollar that someone else did not get. Wether it's a reasonable casual player, a serious winning player or the company, you used a dishonest way to shift the money from their possession into yours.

The only softening condition that I could concieve is if many people were obviously botting (might easily be true for some cases for all I know) and in practice they were getting away with it. Still not justification.

Many people might get angry even about the above paragraph, so I'll try to put things in perspective. What if a poker site banned the use of tracking software, but there was a popular freeware program moving around which worked on that website, and in practice everyone was using it? Wouldn't be such a fraud anymore, would it? In fact, if botting was obviously popular in practice, I would say it could even be justification.

Last edited by Vantek; 04-24-2010 at 05:54 PM.
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Old 04-24-2010, 05:43 PM   #4
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Re: ethics behind poker bot...

I don't know, it's a bit grey to me.

Would it be cheating if he himself wrote down an algorithm, opened up an online game, and played exactly to that algorithm?
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Old 04-24-2010, 05:45 PM   #5
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Re: ethics behind poker bot...

No.

As far as I can tell it wouldn't be cheating even if he used someone else's algorithm, as long as he was personally pressing the buttons.

Last edited by Vantek; 04-24-2010 at 05:57 PM.
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Old 04-24-2010, 05:47 PM   #6
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Re: ethics behind poker bot...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vantek View Post
Lock and ban?
I was expecting to get this response... Please don't lock this thread. I am genuinely interested in hearing about the ethics behind this... its obviously a touchy subject, but if I asked a question about "I'm about to rob a store, whats the ethical implications of this" the thread wouldn't get locked, right?

I'm not trying to get justification... in all honesty i'm looking for people to be angry and flame me. I want to feel the opposition before I make the decision if I'm willing to do it or not.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vantek View Post
It's plain and simple fraud. Money doesn't pop into existence, every dollar you get is a dollar that someone else did not get. Wether it's a reasonable casual player, a serious winning player or the company, you used a dishonest way to shift the money from their possession into yours.
Sure, but the same could be said by playing the game in person, no? .. I mean you go through the effort to learn how to play the game properly and you subsequently take money from the people who don't know as well.

If I know how to play well and know how to create a program to do it for me how is this any different?

The only difference is that i would not be physically pushing the buttons and making the decisions... but I did make the decision on how the program should play
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Old 04-24-2010, 05:58 PM   #7
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Re: ethics behind poker bot...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vantek View Post
Lock and ban?

It's plain and simple fraud. Money doesn't pop into existence, every dollar you get is a dollar that someone else did not get. Wether it's a reasonable casual player, a serious winning player or the company, you used a dishonest way to shift the money from their possession into yours.

The only softening condition that I could concieve is if many people were obviously botting (might easily be true for some cases for all I know) and nothing was done to stop them. Still not justification.

Why is there always someone who wants to lock and ban threads/people?

If you don't like it don't read it, why spoil it for everyone else.
Not everyone shares your view, which is a matter of opinion,and probably a factually wrong one.
Can you prove it is fraud?
If so do it.
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Old 04-24-2010, 06:02 PM   #8
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Re: ethics behind poker bot...

Oh come on, I wasn't saying that I personally want the thread to be locked. It's just that 2+2 is a poker forum and it most probably can't allow a straight admission of willingness to commit fraudulent activity in poker to go by, for business reason. OP wasn't very smart to say that he himself considers using a bot.

Quote:
The only difference is that i would not be physically pushing the buttons and making the decisions... but I did make the decision on how the program should play
Obviously that is the defining difference. That is the reason why you want to make a bot rather than play yourself to begin with.

Quote:
Sure, but the same could be said by playing the game in person, no? .. I mean you go through the effort to learn how to play the game properly and you subsequently take money from the people who don't know as well.
How can you even make such an analogy? Neither the bad players, the good players nor the company contest your right to the money you made in straight up play. None of them would put up with a bot.

I'll agree though, that the only reason why we can outcast botting is actually pretty much its limited frequency and a pretty clear distinction between botting and playing yourself. The first people to make bots were frauds, but once considerable number are out, it becomes mere inelegance. I don't even know if that might be the case in some sites or stakes. And if there were popular programs that were capable of guiding a clueless player through the motions of playing low stakes for a profitable result in real time, it would become gray as well.

Quote:
Can you prove it is fraud?
If so do it.
By legal definition? Come on, any poker site lists it as a part of the agreement. By legal definition though, some people using things like tableninja or whatever might be frauds as well. I am using common sense.

Last edited by Vantek; 04-24-2010 at 06:21 PM.
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Old 04-24-2010, 06:12 PM   #9
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Re: ethics behind poker bot...

this is as ethical as fraud is.
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Old 04-24-2010, 06:17 PM   #10
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Re: ethics behind poker bot...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vantek View Post
OP wasn't very smart to say that he himself considers using a bot.
Considers is the key word here... I am not doing this for sure, and if you can prove to me that it is immoral I will most likely not try and create one


Obviously that is the defining difference. That is the reason why you want to make a bot rather than play yourself to begin with.


Quote:
Originally Posted by uke_master View Post
How can you even make such an analogy? Neither the bad players, the good players nor the company contest your right to the money you made in straight up play. None of them would put up with a bot.
What about using sharkscope during game? or using HUDs... sharkscope is considered illegal by many sites, but people continue to use it during game. Is that also immoral and fraudulent?

The losing players may not contest it, but many of them do not have knowledge of the 'legal' programs out there... sure its in fine print on most of the poker websites, but do people really read these?

Quote:
Originally Posted by uke_master View Post
this is as ethical as fraud is.
Please explain why you think this... I am genuinely interested in hearing why
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Old 04-24-2010, 06:24 PM   #11
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Re: ethics behind poker bot...

Quote:
Originally Posted by widf View Post
Please explain why you think this... I am genuinely interested in hearing why
Because it is fraud. Or, in other words, "an intentional deception for personal gain". People think they are playing a person, but they are not, they are playing a bot and they make this mistake because you deliberately and intentionally defrauded them for your own profit.

Hence this action is as morally defensible as fraud is, in general.


Incidentally, you put my name in a quote someone else said above in your post.
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Old 04-24-2010, 06:27 PM   #12
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Re: ethics behind poker bot...

I think the best comparison is cheating in other games played for money.
Online poker may be considered as a game where people agreed to certain rules. You are breaking those in order to get advantage which defines cheating.

It depends on what you think about cheating in games played for money. Most people think it's quite bad.

Quote:
sharkscope is considered illegal by many sites, but people continue to use it during game. Is that also immoral and fraudulent?
I think yes.

How bad cheating is depends mainly on how much edge do you get. So superusers are hardcore cheating and using sharkscope is not that bad; multiaccounting, botting, colluding are all somewhere on the scale. I think you shouldn't be trapped into 0/1 thinking when it comes to ethical/not ethical.
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Old 04-24-2010, 06:29 PM   #13
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Re: ethics behind poker bot...

Do you consider it ethical to violate the terms of service agreement?
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Old 04-24-2010, 06:35 PM   #14
centurion
 
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Re: ethics behind poker bot...

Quote:
Originally Posted by uke_master View Post
Because it is fraud. Or, in other words, "an intentional deception for personal gain". People think they are playing a person, but they are not, they are playing a bot and they make this mistake because you deliberately and intentionally defrauded them for your own profit.

Hence this action is as morally defensible as fraud is, in general. .
I see what you are saying...

What about the general fish who has no knowledge of SS/HM/other studying programs that they have no knowledge of? People are using them and getting and edge over these fish without their consent or knowledge... I mean sure the sites have a place where they say these are legal, but the general fish does not read this and has no knowledge of it... is this any different?

Basically if it is different, it seems to me that the only difference is that the site says it is "ok" in some fine print on their website.

Quote:
Originally Posted by uke_master View Post
Incidentally, you put my name in a quote someone else said above in your post.
oops... multiquote fail. Obv not intentional

add plagiarism to the list of unethical things I've done? lol
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Old 04-24-2010, 06:37 PM   #15
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Re: ethics behind poker bot...

Quote:
Originally Posted by uke_master View Post
Because it is fraud. Or, in other words, "an intentional deception for personal gain". People think they are playing a person, but they are not, they are playing a bot and they make this mistake because you deliberately and intentionally defrauded them for your own profit.
Of course there are many other types of misrepresentation that go on. Some are condoned, others aren't. Multiaccounting has come to be strongly frowned upon, but for a long time was accepted and is a similar case of misrepresentation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aaron W. View Post
Do you consider it ethical to violate the terms of service agreement?
This is a stronger argument, but it has always seemed to me that the ethics of the poker community sort of developed on their own, and where that fit with the terms of service, great . . . where it didn't, oh well. Things that I'm sure were violations of the terms of service for a while (multiaccounting Party skins to get around table limits, HUDs in the early days) were commonly accepted.

As far as I can tell, the real reason that bots are anathema is that they are seen as likely to be the death of the games. Good players that could beat reasonable bots still hate those bots provided they're good enough to beat fish. Thus, you are unlikely to find a community of poker players that will support it.

Regardless of whether your preferred ethical framework is legalistic or based on the norms of the community, you're going to have a very difficult time justifying a bot. Which is too bad, because I too have thought it would be a fun project to work on. But there's not much point in building it if I can't test it, and I don't think testing it is right at this point unfortunately.
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