Americas Cardroom Continues Online Poker Bot Crackdown

Americas Cardroom Continues Online Poker Bot Crackdown

Several online poker sites have taken steps in recent months to rid their online poker tables of bots and various mechanisms that create unfair playing environments. There have been different methods employed by PokerStars and PartyPoker, and the Winning Poker Network has forged its own path to eliminate bots and reimburse players.

In April, the WPN flagship site Americas Cardroom launched the results of its own internal investigation into accounts that were affiliated with poker bots. ACR closed those accounts, confiscated funds, and began working on ways to reimburse players.

The initial effort pushed nearly $735K to players who had been victimized by bots, and a total of 277 accounts were closed.

The site’s management has been posting the names of the closed accounts and the affected users, and the policy has been updated per discussions with ACR players and concerned parties.

Reimbursement Calculations

WPN has posted its policy regarding banned accounts and reimbursements on a page that is applicable to Americas Cardroom and all of its online poker skins. WPN claims to have a transparent, verifiable policy as the company strives for excellence.

The policy is simple:

“The Winning Poker Network exposes the offending player’s screenname. We do our best to calculate reimbursements correctly; however, we encourage our valued players to check their records and ensure we have taken care of them. All our cards are face up.”

As for reimbursements, WPN has set a cap of $25,000 per offending player. It then uses calculations to determine reimbursements for tournaments, cash games, and heads-up SNGs.

Tournament refunds are issued to all in-the-money players based on a ladder-up policy. If a player is determined to be a bot, the offending player is removed from the tournament results, and every person below that person in the money is moved up one spot and reimbursed the difference, if there is any. If that offending player won more than $25K, the refunds are divided by the ratio of $25K to total bot winnings. For example:

–The bot won $100K in total from ACR players.

–That amount is 4x the cap of $25K.

–Player 1 is due $100 per the tournament ladder-up policy.

–Per the cap, the player is reimbursed $25.

Cash games and all other poker refunds are calculated by the “current losses minus wins” policy, meaning the bot winnings are divided by the ratio of $25K to the total winnings of the bot if they exceed the cap. Again, an example:

–The bot won $100K in total from ACR players.

–That amount is 4x the cap of $25K.

–Player 1 is due $100 per the loss-minus-wins policy.

–Per the cap, the player is reimbursed $25.

Banned Player List

As of May 14, there were 41 screen names on the banned account list.

Of those players, only eight of them won less than the capped amount for reimbursements, meaning victimized players received 100% of their losses back from WPN. All of those accounts were banned on May 6 and monies refunded. Only two of those banned accounts victimized for less than $10K.

There also seems to be a pattern in the list, which is searchable and can be organized by any particular category. The pattern is that there are a few countries from which the vast majority of the bots are said to be based, per the list here:

–Belarus = 6 of 41

–Germany = 5 of 41

–Kazakhstan = 1 of 41

–Latvia = 12 of 41

–Russia = 10 of 41

–Slovakia = 1 of 41

–Slovenia = 1 of 41

–Ukraine = 3 of 41

–UK = 1 of 41

–US = 1 of 41

Confronting Issues

WPN CEO Phil Nagy started addressing the bots in the last few months and decided to confront the issue head-on, including detractors and those who have called out WPN or ACR in the past. That included Joe Ingram, who made numerous videos showing evidence of cheating, collusion, and bots on ACR.

Ingram was curious about the new policies and invited Nagy to his podcast to discuss the past, present, and future. Nagy told Ingram that he chose to accept the invitation because he made some life adjustments several months prior and decided to stop operating the poker network from “in my bubble.” Instead, he chose to begin taking player complaints seriously and working to correct issues.

The video is very long but covers a very wide range of issues pertaining to online poker, cheating, and protecting players from cheating.

There were mixed reviews of Nagy’s responses to a lot of Ingram’s questions, but Nagy is facing his critics and trying to make WPN better. Most agree that it is a positive step.

About Jennifer Newell

Jennifer began writing about poker while working at the World Poker Tour in the mid-2000s. Since then, her freelance writing career has taken her from Los Angeles to Las Vegas and back to her hometown of St. Louis, where she now lives with her two dogs. She continues to follow the poker world as she also launches a new subscription box company and finishes her first novel. Jennifer has written for numerous publications including PokerStars.com and has followed the US poker and gaming market closely for the last 15 years. Follow Jen on Twitter

Disclaimer: The information on this site is my interpretation of the laws as made available online. It is in no way meant to serve as legal advice or instruction. We recommend that you seek legal advice from a licensed attorney for further or official guidance.

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