Home > Uncategorized > Bot Ring apparently behind the Full Tilt Poker Cheating Scandal

Bot Ring apparently behind the Full Tilt Poker Cheating Scandal


Full Tilt came down hard on Poker Bots

I still plan on writing to Full Tilt Poker and asking them a few questions concerning the cheating scandal, but it appears that the mystery was revealed.  A company called “Shanky Technologies” runs and operates a site titled bonusbots.com, where they sell a variety of “advanced poker robots” that play online poker for you, so that you no longer have to make decisions as a poker player.  The site claims that their bots play a “professional-level poker at the better online poker rooms” and “Plays all game structures and has a full stealth/hide mode.”  Their objective is to get players to plunk down $130 to buy their bots, and then they sit back and try to tell you that you’ll be a winning poker player in no time.

The trouble is, the use of bot’s is a violation of all major online sites user agreements.  In the case of Full Tilt Poker,  their user agreement states:  “the use of artificial intelligence including, without limitation, “robots” is strictly forbidden in connection with the Software and the Games.  All actions taken in relation to the Games by a User must be executed personally by players through the user interface accessible by use of the Software. ”

Shanky Technologies tries to lure players in with their claims that their bots are “undetectable” by Full Tilt or their players.  What we found out on October 14th was, that is very much not the case.  Full Tilt has been apparently monitoring the usage of bots for a long period of time, and finally identified the accounts that violated their user agreement.  For the accounts that used the artificial intelligence, their accounts were shut down, and their profits were disbursed to the players that lost to this artificial intelligence.  Again, this all took place on October 14th.

In a response of sheer anger and frustration at having their accounts shut down and their money taken away, Shanky Technologies issued the following ridiculous statement:

Full Tilt Poker came out of nowhere and took aggressive measures to stop the use of our poker bot software at their online poker room. There was no warning given to anybody, and this was after years of tolerating us to such an extent that most of us felt they welcomed us with open arms.

 To be certain, the use of such software has always been against their “official” terms of service. We all knew that. But for the past few years that part of their agreement was always perceived as being given with a wink. There are hundreds of us who have been active there on a daily basis and the overwhelming majority of us have never heard so much as a peep out of them. If they suddenly decided that they didn’t want us, given the fact that they have allowed us to proliferate unrestricted up to this point, one would expect a warning and a chance to stop using the software.

This was not their approach. They came out of left field and froze all our accounts and have confiscated all our funds. This was a very sudden and calculated move on their part. It would be difficult to describe their actions as anything other than stealing, if you understand the environment.
We were all taken by surprise and are somewhat shocked. We at Shanky Technologies now wish to offer a sincere apology to all our customers who have lost funds in this development. We are guilty of being lulled into submission by the permissive practices of this company and in fact have made statements, even recently, that we felt Full Tilt was a safe room to use our software at. Especially with all the stealth measure built into our poker  bots.
Those kinds of statements were never posted publicly on our web site or in our download materials however. We have always made proper disclaimers and given warnings about the risk involved on every page of our website and in our download materials. You are ultimately responsible for the risks you took in using our product.

However in private emails, and in some posts in our support forum, we did make statements that we thought the room was safe from this type of thing, given the long history of tolerance that we have there. And we are very sorry for that. We would never intentionally mislead our customers about the risks involved.

As an example, we get constant requests to support Poker Stars and Party Poker. We always have replied that those poker rooms have no tolerance for bots and as a result we will not even ever attempt to support them.  There is no point, as the risk is simply outrageous. So we always focused on poker rooms that are known for high “bot toleration” in their practices.

This has obviously now changed. Consequently we must seriously consider un-supporting Full Tilt poker. They apparently do not want us there anymore, and would rather have our account balances than our business. We see that as an incredibly unethical move on their part and must question anybody who wishes to continue to play there even manually. Look at the people you are trusting with your money. See what kind of people they really are. We would recommend not giving them even one more hand of business, whether you ever used a poker bot before or not. 

Who knows, one day they may take all your money because you visited Sharkscope.com or Tableratings.com and they scanned your browser history to find it. (Don’t laugh, the only way they are catching us is by blatant privacy violation and scanning your PC.)

If we decide to add more stealth measures and continue support, we will be issuing stern warnings about their history and the risks involved. Botting there will not be recommended by us again, ever. We think the way forward is to simply support other poker rooms instead, ones that have a more bot-friendly attitude.

As a reminder, we still support at least four other good rooms at the moment, and a couple of these have shown a great interest in having our bots play there. We think that “bot-friendly” is really the wave of the future, and that soon smart operators will realize how much online poker players love tinkering and playing with bot software and will make a “bots welcome” official policy as a result. Yes, we really do believe that or we wouldn’t be in this business. Some of our currently supported rooms are getting close to this in fact.

Some of you will stop botting because of this experience, or at least put it down for a while. But those of us who love this hobby will pick ourselves up and get back in the game at greener pastures. Shanky Technologies isn’t going anywhere. In fact we have exciting things planned in the near future.

Thanks for your understanding in this matter.


Shanky Technologies team


Caught red-handed in a scheme to gain an edge on the poker community, it appears as though Shanky Technologies will continue to operate their bot sales to players on other sites.  But I believe that Full Tilt Poker took the appropriate action by shutting these accounts down, and seizing the money.  They followed that up by reimbursing as many losses as they could.  I don’t know if they’ve actually been able to reimburse everyone that was affected, and it’s impossible for anyone other than Full Tilt to know exactly what the damage was, though it seems pretty wide-spread.

A large percentage of the players that were impacted voiced in a 2+2 thread today that the primary focus of these “bots” occurred in games that were Rush Poker games.  The games by nature are incapable of being railed, so the only players viewing the hands are the 9 players that are at sitting at the table of the full ring game for that 1 hand (or the 6 in the 6-max).  It appears that the bots were all over, at every style of Rush Poker, and at every limit.  But their highest area of concentration came from the games that were at the micro stakes ($25 NL and under were pretty well frequented).

We will never know exactly how many accounts were involved in this “bot ring” nor will we know the identities of those accounts that were suddenly shut down.  But I’m glad that they were.  It’s more than a little bit frustrating to know that it took this long to have Full Tilt shut down the activity, even causing the Shanky Technologies Team to implicate that the lack of response included a basic acceptance to the use of the play.  Basically, they felt that because they weren’t getting caught, that they were justifiably cheating, which is obviously utterly ridiculous.

I think for me, I’m going to steer clear of the Rush Poker games.  While historically, I’m a loser at those games (at roughly -3 BB’s/100 mind you), I think that I will continue to try to avoid the area that seems to have been the most affected by “bot play.”  And while it is certainly nice that the accounts were shut down, and their money disbursed, I wish that something more could be done to Shanky Technologies concerning their product.  The fact that they try to claim that “bot play” is the wave of the future when they’re breaking the rules is completely absurd.  Perhaps Shanky Industries also would like to say that using “God Mode” is justifiable because it gives players an edge when they can see their opponents hole cards.  Bots are cheating.  These clowns should be locked up somewhere, and gives further credence to the necessity that online poker in the U.S. needs a governing and regulatory body with greater financial sanctions being imposed against cheaters like this.  Ideally, they’d be put out of business for good, and their assets frozen, and perhaps even spend some time in a federal facility that involves them wearing a number on their orange jumper with a guy named “Bubba” to meet and greet them night after night. 

I want to finish by saying that I am elated that they caught the company and the cheaters, and I’m happy that I was able to get some money back without even knowing that I had been cheated to begin with.  More than a little troublesome is that it would be impossible for me to figure out exactly how much money I lost to these bots versus how much I actually won, so whether or not I recieved a fair reimbursement is entirely left at the discretion of the Full Tilt Poker security team.  I will email Full Tilt in the next day or so, and I will post both my message to them and the reply by Full Tilt right here for all to see.  Until then, I feel comfortable playing online at my current stakes for the S&G’s and the MTT’s.   But Rush Poker, that’s going to take a back seat….probably for good.

Categories: Uncategorized Tags: , , ,
  1. suzy tursk
    October 16, 2010 at 10:51 am

    Seriously! Really!! They think THEY were wronged!!! Pffftttt!

  2. Bot
    October 17, 2010 at 12:26 am

    You are completely wrong if you think Rush Poker was the main botting field. It was EVERY type of game. Cash, sit and go, multi table, and rush… all of them. You can’t hide from the bots by avoiding rush 🙂

  3. Chris
    October 18, 2010 at 1:25 pm

    If you can’t beat a bot…..you shouldn’t be playing poker.

  4. Anonymous Botter
    October 19, 2010 at 10:40 pm

    As an owner of one of the shanky bot programs Im laughing my ass off. There is no way in hell the bots were playing rush because inherently the bot even with specialized profiles wasnt a winning program for the most part (at least based on the profiles available on the site for purchase) Now as for the low limit cash games I dont doubt it was full there were plenty of .01/.02 profiles up to .10/.25 for sale and even hoppers problem is people were stupid and got greedy and let the bot play 12 hrs a day or more everyday those idiots deservd to be stopped. There also was a plethora of botters in the dimer and Daily Dollar tourneys for sure based on the profiles for sale. As for everybodys indignation Id be more pissed at the rigged play of the site itself. The stats dont match up based on real world play and dont give me the BS that you play more hands on line the stats are insane Ive got PT3 and Holdem manager programs and the stats just dont bear out real world statistical play. Besides maybe the dirty truth with FTP is they were afraid Shanky’s bots were outplaying their own internal Bots. (We arent stupid we know it happens).

    • sad day
      October 20, 2010 at 5:13 pm

      Well, there went my profit stream. Now that the bots are gone, I get to play against a bunch of lucky maniacs on a site that is skewed toward them in the first place. Bots are easy to predict and always will be. Couple that with an RNG that is predictable as well, and any logical human can adapt and start winning on a regular basis. Think about it…if you are holding pocket aces, and you know that full tilt has probably given your opponents KK, QQ, JJ and a J comes on the flop. Then the bot you have discovered at your table checks the flop instead of auto betting like it has the last 50 times in this situation, how hard is it to drop those aces? It becomes second nature. People on the other hand, unless you are sitting in front of them, are pretty unpredictable. I would much rather sit at a table full of bots then the worst donks on the planet. As far as bot ring….that makes me laugh. More like a bunch of grinders who are starting to realize how much time they are spending at their computers away from their families and decide to change their 10 hr per day boring habit into a 2 hour per day interesting project even if they cant win. I think a better name for botters would be hobbyist or tinkerers. I hope you know what you are doing Full Tilt. I have a feeling you just raped the wrong people. Not the botters, but the people who were actually making money from the botters. Oh and by the way, I was thinking about another aspect of this. How could anyone legally know what software another person was running on their computers. Even if there is a legal way to spy on someone I would think that actually doing it would damage the integrity of the company 1000 times more than a so called bot ring. I’m not sure I like the idea of a company being able and willing to invade my privacy to find ways to get take my money….I think, like a lot of others that full tilt has inadvertently exposed themselves in this instance and will lose huge numbers of loyal customers (like me) because of this blunder.

  5. Another anon botter
    October 20, 2010 at 10:38 pm

    I agree with everything you say, sad day. For the overwhelming majority of botters (including me), it was purely a hobby.

    My manual play was (is) much better than my bot ever played. And I botted enough where I could see how decent players (or some decent bot AI) adapted to my bot profiles and wiped out any chance of winning over the long haul.

    But whatevs. I’ll miss Rush a little (I never botted Rush because it was such easy money with manual play), but the rest of the FT experience, not so much.

  6. Yet Another Botter
    October 21, 2010 at 11:51 am

    I too used the Shanky Bot, but had stopped it a few months ago. I used it to mainly play the first few hours of a large MTT and then took over when it came close to the bubble and thereafter. I know, though that most botters used it at the 1/2cent tables, 6 tables for 8 hour sessions. And some had bot farms. I didn’t lose any money, so that’s why I am not pissed. But botting was fun while I was doing it. I stopped because I think Full Tilt is rigged up the wazuuu… Imagine that… 1500 botters botting 6 tables at once for 8 -12 hours a day. They WERE winning by the way,, the botters were destroying the micro stakes. Ive seen charts 300K+ hands, most had a nice upward slope.

  7. peewee herman
    October 21, 2010 at 5:07 pm

    If you knew how shanky bots worked you would understand that it isn’t cheating. The bots are only as good as the person that wrote them and nobody sells a winning bot. Making a winning bot requires work and tons of time. The hands are all programmed ahead of time and the decisions are made ahead of time. The thing doesnt see other peoples hole cards. Most bots are easier to beat than most folks – minus the donkeys.

  8. Geoff Manning (@cprpoker)
    October 22, 2010 at 7:10 am

    LOL @ all the pro bot comments. Show me one shred of evidence that the use of bot on Full Tilt is within the rules and I may see your point.

  9. November 5, 2010 at 9:35 am

    As we’re on Bot Ring apparently behind the Full Tilt Poker Cheating Scandal Pablosplace.com, Before actually playing at one of the many online casinos it would be a good idea to get some background information on casinosBefore settling down on a site, one should spend some time trying to understand the terms and conditions and the kind of playing experience that’s offered by each online casino gambling sites. and gambling games.

  10. Super Bot
    November 10, 2010 at 4:43 pm

    and you think “Shanky Technologies team” is the only one out there? Beware of the ones that haven’t been caught. Especially the hackers that operate as individuals and don’t try to sell their software. A good hacker could create 20 fake accounts and run bots on all of them. Steal from the poor(lower levels) so no one would notice. Steal from the rich and its a scandal. Is it rigged? you be the judge

  11. November 12, 2010 at 10:29 am

    You guys really dont have much of a clue eh.. decompile skanky’s bot.. stealth measures?? Hahahahahahaha what stealth measures? you guys got ripped off.

  12. Bob
    November 12, 2010 at 4:56 pm

    I stop playing online when a friend of mine, who makes a few hundred grand a year playing poker online, showed me his custom software, written by some guys in India specifically for him.

    It knew the last 10,000 hands of everyone at the table and made a prediction of what they had in the hole cards, based on how they were playing the hand. It was able to constantly watch hundreds of tables and see tell you what the plays hand range was, did they like chasing flushes etc. It essentially profiled every player at the table.

    If you thinks BOTs are the problem, you are completely wrong, this application would know when you were going to bluff a hand before you knew. If you are playing online you ARE at a disadvantage, full stop.

    • November 13, 2010 at 3:48 pm

      Bob: um, yeah, that’s a pretty trivial Bayesian Inference problem – literally textbook stuff. The only moderately difficult thing would be obtaining the hand statistics, which I’d assume the sites try to guard to prevent that sort of analysis.

      People are far too predictable…

  13. November 30, 2010 at 7:47 pm

    Impressive article post on the blog, I share the same views. I wonder why this particular country totally does not think like me and additionally the web publication master 🙂

  14. February 17, 2011 at 12:56 pm

    reminds me of the chinese stud rings on pokerstars

  1. October 16, 2010 at 12:06 pm

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