Poker Bots: Are They the End of Online Poker? (hint: No)
Poker Bots are out there, so now what?
The truth of the matter is that you have probably been playing against a poker bot at least some of the time when you play online poker at most of the cardrooms. As far back as 2004 MSNBC was writing about the proliferation of poker playing robots on internet cardrooms. The burning question then (and now) is how strong are these poker bots? A poker bot capable of playing at the "master level" as the Vex bot talked about in the MSNBC article does (but only in heads up poker) could make it a money losing proposition to play when they are playing. On the other hand, a bot that plays badly would be something you might even want to pursue and put on your online poker "friends list".
So, for the purposes of seeing what's available online in the poker bot realm, and also how dangerous these foes are, I'll list the major poker bot programs that are online now and give at least a rough summary of what playing against them will be like. Finally I'll talk about how the online poker rooms are responding to poker bots (some don't seem to care much, some are very aggressive in keeping them out).
Throughout this article there are links to the sites that provide the poker bots mentioned, but I (and this site) are not affiliated with any of them and do not receive any income from them. The links are there so you can gather more information on them if you are interested.
The Major Poker Bots That are Playing Online Poker Right Now
This bot works on many current poker rooms and claims to avoid detection.
They say "WarBot steadily earns money in micro-limits games with the average win-rate of about 5 big blinds/100 hands SAFE Powered with many stealth-features to avoid being detected."
This is considered to be one of the best training bots, and isn't designed to automate play on online poker rooms. Poker Snowie uses a neural network and is considered one of the most advanced bot players available, but so far it hasn't be used to automate play at online poker rooms.
Shanky Technologies Holdem Bot
Holdem Bot is a top tier bot which does play online poker for real money. Generally this bot and others like it are used for the purpose of clearing bonuses and not trusted at higher stakes.
Online Poker Room Policies Regarding Poker Bots
Using a poker bot that automatically makes actions for you is against the terms and conditions of all online poker rooms, however the enforcement of that policy varies from room to room.