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Old 10-04-2015, 04:28 AM   #1
pscheattools
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Unfair advantage on PokerStars and several ways to avoid new rules.

Hello!

Introduction

As you know PokerStars announced a significant change of their third party tools policy at 7th June 2015 and now they officially published it.

PokerStars representatives are giving a “beautiful wording” of how they are going to enforce those rules. This post is going to describe why those statements are far from real things.

I am going to separate my post into 3 parts : Bots, Data mining in Zoom, Prohibited Statistics.

1. Bots

Chronology

July 2010

12 bots has been found on stars with total winnings $223,150 and average win rate 0.4/100bb.

Here is a confirmation of PS official member PokerStarsJeff that it was bots

All bots had very similar statistics.

Bots has been detected by usual regulars with the use of pokertableratings and “data mined” hand histories.

September 2012

http://matt.gipsyteam.ru/blog/3217-doktor-u-nas-problema%EF%BB%BF

Sorry, I can’t find english link. Short brief :

NL200-600 has been found 4 bots : grinerman, WaitingForNH, hysteric200, Clubsbaron
NL100 has been found 2 bots EatMyStak, trapsetter9.

Official confirmation form pokerstars :
Spoiler:


All of them had winrates about 8-10bb/100.

All bots had very similar statistics.

Bots has been found by the group of regulars with the use of data mining.

March 2015

7 bots at PLO 100 has been found.
Official answer from stars :
Spoiler:


All 7 bots had very similar stats.

Bots has been found by the group of regs with the use of data mining.


June 2015
14 more bots has been found on pokerstars at PLO 100. Also, they played Zoom.

All bots again had very similar statistics.

Bots has been detected by the group of players with the use of data mining.


The most interesting thing was this picture
https://gyazo.com/3b5c3044010a564bff7ba7dba53d4973

Bingo! Bots have so similar stats and they are so far different from other players that it gives stars a way to detect them automatically by developing a software that analyzes statistics of all regular players.

The beauty of the idea is the fact that writing a winning bot is a very complicated task comparable with creating AI but writing 10-20 different bots is far more difficult task and almost impossible. Actually, I’ve seen a real way to save poker from bots.

From other side I thought : “Hey, stars, what you were doing for the last 5 years??? Why the problem of bots has not been solved yet??”

Here is a quote of Poker Stars Game Integrity member:
Quote:
Our access to all hand histories on PokerStars allows us to analyze any similarities in playing statistics between these accounts, as well as every other account.
Beautiful wording. However bots with identical stats are still at the tables.

My question is:
Why since 2010 they have not done any kind of automated detection of similar groups of people if they have an access to all hand histories?

There is absolutely no technical restriction to do bots detection even despite a huge amount of hands played on stars per day.

And you, guys, believe those people are able to guarantee that your opponents will not use some stats against you??? ))


2. Datamining in Zoom

In September 2015 PokerStars fixed a technical ability to data mine hand histories in Zoom.

I am not going to say if it is good or bad because it is out of my competence. I just want you realize the following:

1. Here is an example of handhistory on stars

Spoiler:


Your hole cards are written only in one stroke like “Dealt to Heroname [5d Ks]”. If you remove those stroke from HH then it becomes easy for you to share your hand with others without worrying that you share your hole cards.

2. Using notepad++ you may remove strokes "Dealt to ..." from all .txt files in the specific directory.

2. If you play a lot of hands and you have contacts with other active regs on your stakes than you may create a group chat in skype and share hand histories with them without sharing your hole cards.

3. You don’t need to contact all regs on your limit. It is enough to have a handhistory from at least 1 player of the hand.

4. You may create some kind of “zoom cartel”. All people in the cartel should play enough hands and share it with others in order to keep participating in the cartel.

5. Those “cartels” may develop private software in order to automate hh sharing.

6. Bots detections are possible now only by groups of people who are sharing hand histories. Also, bots get serious advantage because they are sharing hh between each other.

7. If you think that blocking hand history at all will solve the problem than you are wrong. “Cartels” will just read all action in hand from the interface by using OCR methods and then convert it to the text representation. Actually, your disadvantage become even higher considering “cartels” will have private statistical software but you will not be able to use even HM because it doesn’t work without hh

3. Pokers stars new restrictions regarding statistical software.

The short brief of changes regarding statistics.
The following things are prohibited from using in HUDs and Popups during play on pokerstars :

1. Badges
2. Dynamic change of the stats after cards has been dealt, like showing CBET when player did open raise.
3. Stats depending on board like CBET ON AHIGH FLOP.
4. Stats depending on hole cards, i.e. preflop heat maps and postflop charts. Stats like overbet range, overbet bluff, bet river bluff.
5. Advanced Charts.

Here I am going to demonstrate you several ways to keep using those stuff but not being banned. I hope it is really obvious for you that all those ways are completely undetectable even theoretically.

Before you watch the video, please, note that dropbox is a cloud file storage system developed by Google. If you create a file on your laptop, than the same file will appear on your computer.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SwmTJ3w-wm4

So, there are several ways to avoid new rules.

1. Writing a tool that creates “fake tables” making HM/PT or any other software think that you are playing on 888Poker as demonstrated in the video.

2. Writing a private software based on HM/PT database but with its own HUD with all “banned” stats. It is allowed to use private statistical software but there is absolutely no way to detect if the stats CBET ON AHIGH BOARD is shown or not.

3. Using virtual machine where you can start all software you need, for example, some advanced charts tools.


I’ve sent the video above to the pokerstars game integrity team and get very expectable answer.
Spoiler:


I am not sure if it is good idea to show you those answer, because some of you is going to believe that miracle exists and there is a way to know what is going on the remote machine. They are fooling you using a professional technique which our politics use on TV and which are described in books about populism. They want most of you believe just in their authority. In real life for the last 5 years they even can’t detect bots with completely identical statistics playing from 10+ accounts.

What do you think about all this stuff? If you know any other ways to "cheat" on stars then describe it and I will add your post as a quote to this post.

Last edited by pscheattools; 10-04-2015 at 04:33 AM.
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Old 10-04-2015, 05:17 AM   #2
FR-Nit
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Re: Unfair advantage on PokerStars and several ways to avoid new rules.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pscheattools View Post
It will continue to be the policy of PokerStars to hire the smartest people and develop the most advanced tools in order to prevent and detect prohibited software.
Epic

Thx for your work in documentating this, pscheattools, so people are aware of what they will be up against.
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Old 10-04-2015, 05:59 AM   #3
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Re: Unfair advantage on PokerStars and several ways to avoid new rules.

Thanks for the informative post. Actually, could you remove the part on how to share datamined hands please ? I think it's enough to say they can be shared easily, without specifying the method.
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Old 10-04-2015, 08:09 AM   #4
TheDefiniteArticle
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Re: Unfair advantage on PokerStars and several ways to avoid new rules.

Let's be honest, if someone can't work that out they're probably going to do a SirDonald.
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Old 10-04-2015, 08:16 AM   #5
AJackson
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Re: Unfair advantage on PokerStars and several ways to avoid new rules.

This post is spot on. I don't like the sharing of specific strategies but these (and more) are obvious to anyone with semi-competent computer skills. Those who aren't as creative should be aware of the potential of a significantly unfair playing field.
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Old 10-04-2015, 10:15 AM   #6
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Re: Unfair advantage on PokerStars and several ways to avoid new rules.

We seem to be covering old ground in this new thread.

There are many ways that bots can be detected, the one we have best visibility of is players comparing the stats of players from hand histories and finding suspicious, abnormal or extreme tendencies. This supicion is heightened when multiple players have almost identical stats. The greed of the bot developers, choosing to run multiple instances makes it easier for players to detect them. We have greater visibility of these player caught rings as Stars makes no comment when they detect some.

Naturally we all want Stars to do better at catching bots but its hard to think of a site that puts more effort in to this either in total or per active player they have.

Datamining and sharing hand histories is possible either as a white hat activity to detect cheats o as a method to cheat. The prohibition on datamining has not meant that it is impossible, nor has it stopped the way that it can be done either for ethical or unethical purposes.

The new restrictions on HUDs, or rather at the boundary where HUDs become advice software or a bot like prompt for the human player to act upon rather than automating the action as with a bot, can of course, like prohibited bots or prohibited datamining, be circumvented by those determined to break the TOS and so cheat. There is no news here.

Prohibition of any activity does not make it impossible, nor easy to detect - prohibition alone does not do that. Enforcement and detection of the prohibited activity is a seperate issue to mere prohibition. The hurdle to prohibit is not that enforcement is easy or universal. The question is whether that prohibition is right, has real benefits for either Stars or players on Stars or as in most cases both.

Now there are lots of ways to make enforcement easier/better and more to make the punishments for cheating more significant and so provide greater deterrence. Those questions are supplemental to what to prohibit and the precise details of what should be prohibited.
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Old 10-04-2015, 11:50 AM   #7
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Re: Unfair advantage on PokerStars and several ways to avoid new rules.

Very nice post making it clear in layman terms why new Stars rules are completely unenforceable and easy to get around.
I really don't understand measures against datamining. They seem to live in some kind of regulator utopia where everyone is going to follow what they say.
There are two realistic options when it comes to datamining:

1)allow it
2)don't provide the data in the first place (or make it less useful) - that is for example allow for periodic screen name changes

Providing the data and hoping people won't share it in some form is just hopeless.

Quote:
Enforcement and detection of the prohibited activity is a seperate issue to mere prohibition.
It isn't a separate issue. It's one of the most important factors when considering a ban of anything. If it's not hopeless when to comes to enforceability you don't ban things. If it's easily enforceable then you just consider if it's right to ban something. If it's kinda/sorta sometimes enforceable but not 100% then it's a mix of both factors.

Last edited by punter11235; 10-04-2015 at 12:01 PM.
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Old 10-04-2015, 12:31 PM   #8
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Re: Unfair advantage on PokerStars and several ways to avoid new rules.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pscheattools View Post
<snip>
Thank you for the interesting information.

Would we be correct in concluding that Stars recently banned a program that you have used?
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Old 10-04-2015, 01:00 PM   #9
poorme
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Re: Unfair advantage on PokerStars and several ways to avoid new rules.

plain and simple bots generate massive rake. they could easily do a better job of finding more bots had they really wanted to
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Old 10-04-2015, 01:27 PM   #10
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Re: Unfair advantage on PokerStars and several ways to avoid new rules.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richas View Post
Naturally we all want Stars to do better at catching bots but its hard to think of a site that puts more effort in to this either in total or per active player they have.
Of course this is true, but it's not saying much. Stars do not currently do a good job of catching bots, evidenced by the sheer number of bots caught by players using simple procedures based on a handful of stats.

There are only a finite number of reasonably high-volume/winning players at any particular cash type and stake, yet there is no effective automated process in place to identify them. E.g. We had a player at our SSFR games come out of nowhere and start playing 450k hands a month(!) for several months. The account was suspended two months ago when I asked for an investigation (suspecting multiple players using the account.) How the f*** can an account playing close to half a million hands with no back history not automatically trigger an investigation!? This one case alone is sufficient to demonstrate how lacking in efficiency and effectiveness they are.
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Old 10-04-2015, 09:39 PM   #11
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Re: Unfair advantage on PokerStars and several ways to avoid new rules.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MeleaB View Post
Of course this is true, but it's not saying much. Stars do not currently do a good job of catching bots, evidenced by the sheer number of bots caught by players using simple procedures based on a handful of stats.

There are only a finite number of reasonably high-volume/winning players at any particular cash type and stake, yet there is no effective automated process in place to identify them. E.g. We had a player at our SSFR games come out of nowhere and start playing 450k hands a month(!) for several months. The account was suspended two months ago when I asked for an investigation (suspecting multiple players using the account.) How the f*** can an account playing close to half a million hands with no back history not automatically trigger an investigation!? This one case alone is sufficient to demonstrate how lacking in efficiency and effectiveness they are.
Game integrity is a cost centre not a profit centre. Like any business Pokerstars will spend the bulk of its money where it can make a profit.
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Old 10-04-2015, 10:02 PM   #12
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Re: Unfair advantage on PokerStars and several ways to avoid new rules.

Yet having a reputation for poor game integrity can affect their bottom line via negative publicity imo so it can be a liability if not properly attended to. I'm thinking of the IPoker Network and how they've gained a rep for being rife with bots. The casual player may not be aware of that but any semi serious grinder is.
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Old 10-04-2015, 11:08 PM   #13
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Re: Unfair advantage on PokerStars and several ways to avoid new rules.

Clearly the OP has proved the point about the problems of enforcement that many of us were talking about in the original NVG Skier thread and the various bot threads, let alone the other recent debates in this forum.

I can't say I'm surprised by Stars response to OP's video, but what else can they say? More importantly, what can they do?
Quote:
Originally Posted by MeleaB View Post
We had a player at our SSFR games come out of nowhere and start playing 450k hands a month(!) for several months. The account was suspended two months ago when I asked for an investigation (suspecting multiple players using the account.) How the f*** can an account playing close to half a million hands with no back history not automatically trigger an investigation!?
How the **** indeed? I think it's scandalous that play on suspicious accounts can happen for so long without an investigation. There have been too many cases of cheats only being identified after they win a tourney, or cashed out their SCOOP winnings.
The cliché about shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted keeps coming up. Where is the forward thinking that Stars was famous for? The company just seems to be reacting (often woefully) to various crises instead of preventing them in the first place. It seems to be afflicted with the kind of complacency that affects any large and well established monopoly, and it's all a bit sad.
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Old 10-05-2015, 04:35 AM   #14
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OP made that video?

OP is a Bronze Star?

WTF is a Bronze Star doing putting so much effort into circumventing rules that really only matter at levels where within a very short time players will achieve at the very least Chrome Star, usually within days?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bhoylegend View Post
OP made that video?

OP is a Bronze Star?

WTF is a Bronze Star doing putting so much effort into circumventing rules that really only matter at levels where within a very short time players will achieve at the very least Chrome Star, usually within days?
Answering my own post, I guess the OP's point is that even having multiple accounts is easy if enough time, effort and care is taken.

Last edited by Mike Haven; 10-05-2015 at 08:20 AM. Reason: 2 posts merged
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Old 10-05-2015, 06:32 AM   #15
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Re: Unfair advantage on PokerStars and several ways to avoid new rules.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bhoylegend View Post
OP made that video?

OP is a Bronze Star?

WTF is a Bronze Star doing putting so much effort into circumventing rules that really only matter at levels where within a very short time players will achieve at the very least Chrome Star, usually within days?
Clearly he created a new account just for that. It's even called like cheattools or something
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Old 10-05-2015, 07:44 AM   #16
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Re: Unfair advantage on PokerStars and several ways to avoid new rules.

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Clearly he created a new account just for that. It's even called like cheattools or something
Yeah, when I watched the Youtube clip through in full, that became clear. That was following my original post.
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Old 10-05-2015, 04:52 PM   #17
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Re: Unfair advantage on PokerStars and several ways to avoid new rules.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pscheattools View Post

4. You may create some kind of “zoom cartel”. All people in the cartel should play enough hands and share it with others in order to keep participating in the cartel.

5. Those “cartels” may develop private software in order to automate hh sharing.


7. If you think that blocking hand history at all will solve the problem than you are wrong. “Cartels” will just read all action in hand from the interface by using OCR methods and then convert it to the text representation.
Ok and your solution is ?
Please share it with us and I'll bet some of us will tell you 3+ ways to get around it if you want to cheat.

First of all you are assuming all of the above based on "could".
Based on could, you could ask a fellow reg who is your buddy on facebook if he wants to share HHs with you and he could take a screen shot of what you said and forward it to stars, couldn't he?

Even if they do it properly, you are also assuming PS won't be able detect and punish it.

"ït's only the honest players that get affected by stuff like this" : well actually let's say 60% are cheaters now.
If you are one of the 40% that don't cheat, right now you are being cheated by 60% of your opponents.

After the rules are implemented let's say that 10% will form cartels, etc and still cheat.
Well if you were an honest player before AFTER the rules are implemented you are getting cheated by just 10% of your opponents.
It still sucks, but hey! it's a start, only 10% of ppl are cheating you now instead of 60% !

Who is this affecting the most? It's affecting the 60% - 10% = 50% the guys who are cheating now but won't have the resources to keep doing it in the future.

P.S: the numbers above are just random to make a point, replace them with any value you want the logic is the same
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Old 10-07-2015, 05:35 PM   #18
pscheattools
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Re: Unfair advantage on PokerStars and several ways to avoid new rules.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JonIrenicus View Post
Ok and your solution is ?
The solution of all described problems and particularly the problem that some regs have a very significant advantage over other regs just because they are able to share their hhs :

1. Fire the highest person responsible for the bot detection on pokerstars

2. Rollback all last changes that can't be enforced including restriction of datamining in zoom. Actually, don't you ask yourself a question : "Why datamining in zoom was blocked just after 2-3 years after Zoom was introduced?"

3. Stop fooling at least regular players. Until now they were fooling just "recreational players". You called "Datamining" as a cheat just because 10 years ago PokerStars decided to prohibit using available to everyone information without any plans to enforce it in order to fool fish that there is no extra information on them available to others.
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Old 10-07-2015, 11:37 PM   #19
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Re: Unfair advantage on PokerStars and several ways to avoid new rules.

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Originally Posted by pscheattools View Post
2. Rollback all last changes that can't be enforced including restriction of datamining in zoom.
Were you, by any chance, involved in datamining zoom tables?

I don't know of many people that are in favour of only some players having access to hand histories for hands they didn't play.
Fixing the hole that existed until recently was a welcome move imo, and I hope Stars can stop the datamining if a new method is found.
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Old 10-08-2015, 09:06 AM   #20
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Re: Unfair advantage on PokerStars and several ways to avoid new rules.

I wouldn't actually be against all HHs being made available to all players. It's better than the current situation.
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Old 10-09-2015, 11:43 AM   #21
Lets
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Re: Unfair advantage on PokerStars and several ways to avoid new rules.

I sent to stars an email with the 3rd point 1 month ago and was ignored. They care only what most of loosing players think but how real things are. Right, exactly as our politics. However I even not sure that most of fish even know about these changes. Looks like someone like Baazov opened 2p2 first time and seen 10-20 crying trolls and decided they are representing most of the people.
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Old 10-09-2015, 06:37 PM   #22
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Re: Unfair advantage on PokerStars and several ways to avoid new rules.

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Old 10-10-2015, 11:46 AM   #23
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Re: Unfair advantage on PokerStars and several ways to avoid new rules.

I think PS is doing a good job to find bots, collusion etc. And I think they are just trying to level out the playing field.

If they can level out the playing field everyone will gain. new or old edges will become more important and as we are students of the game, and fish aren't, our edge will increase again over time.
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Old 11-01-2015, 08:24 PM   #24
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Re: Unfair advantage on PokerStars and several ways to avoid new rules.

Hey,
if i saw it right you wrote it in c#,
i am a student of IT - just of curiosity can i see your project ?

2. Do you think they can fight your method?
like - banning your program on the machine you are playing?

beacuse i dont think that they can do anything about team viewer.
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Old 11-02-2015, 05:02 AM   #25
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Re: Unfair advantage on PokerStars and several ways to avoid new rules.

+1 for the code
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