Old 27th August 2005, 07:43   #1
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Texas fool 'em

It's late one Wednesday afternoon, and CptPokr is logged on to partypoker.com and ready to play. Onscreen, the captain exudes a certain brash charisma - broad shoulders, immaculate brown hair, restless animatronic eyes. He looks like he should be playing synth in Kraftwerk. Instead, he is seated at a virtual table with nine other avatars, wagering on limit Texas hold 'em.

As the tournament's motto goes, "Anyone can win." There's one problem, though, as CptPokr is about to demonstrate: The rules of the game are different online.

CptPokr is a robot. Unlike the other icons at the table, there is no human placing his bets and playing his cards. He is controlled by WinHoldEm, the first commercially available autoplaying poker software. Seat him at the table and he will apply strategy gleaned from decades of research. While ********based players munch Ding Dongs, yawn, guzzle beer, reply to email, take phone calls, and chat on IM, CptPokr (a pseudonym) is running the numbers so it will know, statistically, when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em.

Smart, skilled players are rewarded in the long run, especially online, where there are plenty of beginners who would never have the nerve to sit down at a real table. But WinHoldEm isn't just smart, it's a machine. Set it to run on autopilot and it wins real money while you sleep.

For Bornert, a former evangelical student, outsmarting the poker sites is not just a mission, it's a market. A suite of WinHoldEm programs is available for download at www.winholdem.net/. For $25, you get a bare-bones setup: run-of-the-mill poker-hand analysis software. For $200, you can buy the full package: a one-year subscription to the team edition, which includes the autoplaying bot and a card-sharing module that allows multiple players to communicate during a game. Bornert won't say how many customers he has; he'll admit only that he makes a living selling WinHoldEm.

Talk about an ace up your sleeve.

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Old 27th August 2005, 07:45   #2
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No doubt they'll be banning bots soon. That, or they'll start losing players. I mean, nobody's a machine.
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Old 27th August 2005, 08:00   #3
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Online ******s are boring anyway, I've gambled for the first time of my life in Atlantic City a month ago - I won $70 at the Black Jack table and $20 at the slot machines!

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