And now, the rest of the story....
I'd been playing in that late-night $3K Guaranteed on the Merge Network, to use its proper name, and having one of those fortunate runs. First, I'd survived getting the last of my chips in bad with A-A against 10-10 after a 3-3-10 flop early in the tourney; that one wouldn't have knocked me but it was a lot easier to play with 3,500 chips than 900. Thank you, ace on the... turn.
And I bumbled around with 3,000-5,000 chips for a while, not making ground as the blinds grew higher and higher. Finally, with the blinds moved up to 400/800 and me with only about 4,200 in the cutoff, I tried to steal with Q-7 of spades. The button had A-K, but the flop paired my seven and I was over 9,000. The button then called me all sorts of things, most of them variations on "donkey," at which point I gave him permission to pet my furry ears.
Funny, in both of the last times I've made nice runs, I've made a steal attempt that's run into something bad but worked out all right anyway. (I'm still making aggression adjustments in my game, based on several factors, but recent results have been promising. More on this in a future post.)
But after catching pocket aces to take down another big pot, I was suddenly in the hunt. One big down and two big ups later, I looked around to see one other big stack and four shorties at my table, and with ten making the money it was darn near a sure thing I'd have a nice cash. The other deep stack was named 'NoLimit6,' and by the time I got around to checking, I was in first and IT
was in second, both around 30,000 in chips.
I didn't go too crazy at the final table; the short stacks didn't want any part of me and I picked off a couple of small pots as they dropped out. As always happens, one of them won a couple of showdowns to move into the hunt. There were four of us left, finally, with me holding a mild lead as we moved into a five-minute break.
"I didn't really realize we had the table so imbalanced there, NoLimit," I typed, "I wasn't paying very close attention."
And 'legendmcat,' another of the last four, said something like, "He won't answer you. Everyone thinks that's a bot. At least that's what it says on the forums."
To which I said something like, "Good. Hope it is a bot. Bots are eeee-zzzzz." Braggadocio me.
I'd get my chance. I picked off the fortunate short stack from earlier, 'chilliwilli07,' and then legendmkat, both in the same way: getting to see a cheap flop and catching garbage trips. And as we were short-handed, I noticed a few more things about the supposed bot to my left.
Soon enough, heads-up action, me ahead by about 90K to 40K. First hand, it folds the button/small blind to me. Wha-a-a?
So I raise my own button, with random junk. Two-second pause, fold.
I take down the next three pots the same way, and the next time I min-raise from the button, insta-push from NoLimit6. I mean INSTA
-push. So I toss it, and steal another couple of hands. Then, insta-push again. And that's all I ever saw, either a two-second delay and a fold or an insta-push.
I'm grinding the thing down, like a good bot-killer should. I know that I can keep stealing the blinds and getting away from the all-in pushes it makes, because sooner or later it'll do it when I have a real hand. I can also min-raise every time because it pushes or folds, nothing in-between. And finally, I make a min-raise, it pushes, and I have J-J, so I call.
The bot shows K-7 off, and catches a king on the flop. So it's up to 48K or 50K or something, with me around 75-80K.
A couple of hands later, I have 7-7 with the button, make the min-raise on the button and it whams me again. I think it through --- only the bigger pairs, seven of 'em, have me in trouble --- and that's roughly half of a 1-in-17 chance, or about 3%. Most stuff I'm slightly ahead, and if it the bot is programmed to push any A or any K pre-flop heads-up, I could be well ahead. And you know what, friends? I beleive it was.
Still a tough call, but I figured I could grind it back against the thing if I had to.
It shows K-Q off. A king is in the window on the flop, but the seven for my set (and a meaningless eight) lies underneath. I'm gold when a jack hits on the turn, and I don't even remember what the river was.
legendmkat had railed the end of the thing after being knocked and congratulated me on swatting the thing, which was nice. I was curious, though, about the bot. I had it marked with an "easy" flag, and had noted a couple of other weird plays and trends in the few times I had seen it, but legendmkat said the thing was always in the money. Was my read that wrong? I went over to Sharkscope, which I don't visit often but is a good place to do a search for something of this nature, and found this:
The shorter version was that it had played over 4,000 events and had a Return On Investment (ROI) of something like 25%, with a net profit of over $8,000.
Wha-a-a? ... verse two.
As you can see by the detail, the thing makes its money in the $10 events, and starts getting swatted against better competition. But I was absolutely flabbergasted by how much profit it's showing, so I can only guess that it's set up to push hard with a small selection of hands at earlier stages of play. It's clearly taking advantage of newbies not knowing that it is a bot --- as I didn't, and I'm no newbie --- and knocking off a whole string of in-the-money finishes. But $8,000 worth?
If a bot this bad can make money like that, there's still a lot of really, really bad poker players out there.