Weekly Blog – Bots playing online Poker, Politics & Big Brother

Roy The Boy Weekly Blog discusses bots playing online poker, Vice President candidates and Hughie Maughan to win Big Brother.

Fair Play to Microgaming

My best email of the week came from an online bookmaker whose poker network (Microgaming) had informed them I had been playing against a ‘bot’ during a cash game session.

Proud they had unearthed the computer program masquerading as a poker player, the network advised they had warned off those responsible and were crediting my account, and other effected players, with a sum of cash to compensate me.

This act of good will and fair play has to be commended, but it raised many questions for me.  In regards to poker… I made a living out of playing cash game Omaha during the mid and late 2000’s.  Now, and for the past seven years, I cannot win a tenner in a .25c/.50c online Omaha game.

Naturally online poker is a war of attrition and the bad players have to disappear as they go broke. It leaves only good players, tough games and big difficulties in finding an edge or winning money.  I attributed this to my costly recent failures at the game.

But the realisation that programmes can be written and bots made that can play the relatively complex game?  That really caught me unawares.  I go back to the start of online poker and the only ‘bot programme’ that was known to be in operation then was in ‘Limit Hold’em’.

Some whizz kids from the universities in Linkoping, Sweden, had devised it and the cash tables at Ladbrokes – Europe’s biggest online poker room at the time – was awash with them.

Naturally Limit Hold’em tables were phased-out as quickly as possible and, while suspecting some ‘semi-automatic’ No Limit Hold’em bots may be have cropped up in the past 15 years, I never considered for one moment they could not only play Omaha but win at the game.

As I have been advised so many times, it appears that restricting online poker play to multi-player tournaments is the only way to go in these modern times.

Fair Play for Horse Punters?

Now, the other interesting point:  The next time a racehorse trainer is pulled-in by the Jockey Club and stripped of his licence after being found guilty of refusing to allow his horse(s) to race with a winning chance in a race – such as Jim Best in recent months – should bookmaker’s follow suit and  send their online customers a full refund?

I think they should along with a note stating: “We took your money/bet on a runner/fraudulent scheme which we were unaware of and therefore, as it transpires money was given to us with no prospect of you receiving any part of it back, we are returning it to you in goodwill.”

Of course that’s never going to happen.  Traditional bookmakers are a law unto themselves and they have some funny ideas on how to run a business.  It rarely involves goodwill or fair-play.  Just this week two friends have been in touch in regards to their dealings with Betfred.

One has had his account shut down after placing just two bets (winning £500), another was offered just £1 each-way on Luca Brecel at 66/1 for last week’s ranking snooker event in Riga.  He was only trying to get £5 on!

Add two Women to Republican Side-Kick Race

My portfolio on the Republican Vice President Candidate is not looking good. A few weeks back I suggested veteran politician Newt Gingrich is worth a punt at 7/4.  He’s now out to 9/2.  I’d also previously put forward Marco Rubio and Rudy Giuliani at 16’s and 50’s.

In an attempt to buy myself out of the mire I’m adding yet more names to my list.  Carly Fiorina at 66’s (Betfair Sportsbook) and Joni Ernst at 28’s on the Betfair Exchange.

Fiorina is the former Hewlett-Packard CEO who ran for the Republican nomination and was the person Ted Cruz declared would be his running mate if successful in his race for President.  In recent times she’s been making the headlines for her scathing attacks on Hillary Clinton.

Joni Ernst, who was a military reserve, is Iowa’s representative in the US Congress.  She is 25 years younger than Trump (which is a vote winner), and her rural roots provide a contrast to his big-city background.

Of course sharing the ticket with any woman will surely help Trump shake the criticism that he is sexist and raise his low polling numbers among female voters.

Hughie:  Gay, Irish, Traveller – job done?

Big Brother has thrown up some disagreeable winners in recent years – Katie Price and Helen Wood being prime examples – so I’ve lost a lot of faith in then show, but a week’s worth of viewing has left me with some strong opinions on this year’s show.

21-year-old Irish traveller Hughie Maughan has to do well.  Popular within the house, he is set to receive the entire Irish vote – helpful when/if he is next up for eviction – and gay/bisexual men do really well in this show.  Who can forget 2001 winner Brian Dowling?  Furthermore Paddy Doherty is a previous Celebrity Big Brother winner proving a ‘traveller’ background is not a handicap.

An opening quote of 16/1 is a distant memory and he’s shortened in price almost every day since.  Nevertheless if Betfred will take more than £1 from you at their advertised 4/1 I suggest you take it.  He is 10/3 best with all other firms.

This Week’s Bets

Republican VP Candidate    Joni Ernst at 28/1 with Betfair Exchange (18/1 best with Betfred on fixed odds)

Republican VPCandidate - Carly Fiorina at 66/1 with Betfair Sports

Big Brother Winner - Hughie Maughan at 4/1 with Betfred