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How can you tell if you're playing a bot online?

Posted By: Stick
Date: Monday, 30 November 2009, at 12:49 p.m.

In Response To: How can you tell if you're playing a bot online? (Max Urban)

The easiest way to identify someone who might be using a bot is strong play. Certainly play that can be classified as too strong will arouse bot suspicion. The best players in the world may average around a 2.5 ER and even in a single match someone playing under a 2 is fairly rare so if you analyze your matches after you play and someone comes in under this radar I'd be highly suspicious. Clearly if somebody plays a 0 and there was any play in the match they are simply using that bot on its highest ply.

Another trigger of bot play, that is bots assisting humans, not bots playing as bots, is slow play. This is when a human is actually playing the match but putting certain (or all) positions through the bot before making their move. This is noticeably slower than a regular player.

Some people may use a different bot, like JellyFish, or a more current bot, GNU or maybe even XG, and use it on a different ply than you're likely to check so they'll at least have some sort of error rate. Still, if they score that low at the end of the match you can if you try hard enough figure out what bot and what settings they were using during the match.

A bot strictly being a bot (and not a human using a bot) will not chat unless the programmers put some throw away commands in there such as when you start a game it could spit out "Hello, good match." In other words, if it doesn't reply to your questions it may be an indication. I say may be because it isn't necessarily. Some people may not speak English, others may not want to chat, but it's one of many flags that may alert you to bot play. If it's a human using a bot they can obviously answer and this flag has fallen.

Some people may only use a bot on what they see as key decisions so their error rate will appear human but you might ask yourself, do they always seem to get cube decisions correct? Or perhaps any position you think would be difficult, if they are constantly finding the right play when it's a toughie, you may have a bot user on your hands.

During a match, if you're familiar enough with bot play v. human play, a play may come up where you say to yourself 'that's a bot play'. This is a definite trigger. For example, the bots, depending on which one you're referring to, have a way of bearing in that isn't ideal that no human, esp. no strong human, would adhere to. If you see your opponent making these bot plays you can quickly draw that conclusion and avoid them in the future.

There are ways servers could detect bot users and run a 95% cheat free environment. They don't. I believe they think it's not worth their time financially and it would be a lot of work up front to get this system I have in mind in place to detect as much bot activity as possible and banish it from the site. Traffic is good for bg servers, even if it's bot traffic, it still generates rake, they still make money, it still appears as if people are actively logging in and playing even if it's only (house) bots.

If a server crashes and you see all the same nicks log in at the same time and create the same tables quickly, they are in all likelyhood bots. There are some bots that have weird resignation issues or other poorly programmed things that can happen. If anything out of the ordinary happens be on the lookout. There used to be people who kept lists of bots/cheats on various servers. I don't know if anyone actively does this still because I'm not involved in the online bg for money community.


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