Cheaters and bots

One morning I scrolled through my morning headlines on my phone as I slowly motivated myself to get out of bed. An email notification from America’s Cardroom caught my eye. Usually, I don’t see those because they end up in my “Promotions” inbox. I swiped down on the notification to open it and pressed on it so that I could read the full message. The email was from WPN Integrity. It stated that 31 accounts had been banned for breaking the terms and conditions of their Security and Game Integrity policy. A total of $698,048.09 had been refunded to 29,380 players who had been affected by these banned accounts. I had been compensated because my account was among the players that were affected.

My curiosity grew as I started to search for more information about what happened. I had been busy for the past couple of days setting up a new PC, so I felt a little disconnected since I had not been online. I shared the news with my friends as I walked over to my computer and turned it on. They quickly started to make over-under guesses on what I would find in my account. The highest bid was set by our tournament pro Jennifer ($6.44) and the lowest was by Jason ($1.00). I logged into my ACR client and followed the instructions provided in the email and found no transaction. I started to wonder if I received the email by mistake as the group chat kept pinging my notifications with discussion on what I would find.  I refreshed the screen that I was looking at to see if maybe something weird had happened and it would load my refund. More of the same appeared on my screen. I started to play around with the filters and finally, after a few minutes of trying different combinations, I was able to see how much had been refunded to me. I had received $3.89.

I thought that this would be the end of it. From what I have seen online, there is usually not a lot of information shared publicly. Players are left in the dark without really knowing if the culprit had been dealt with. With all the cheating allegations that have been coming out recently, I think the people have been demanding more transparency. America’s Cardroom seems to be taking a step in that direction. As I sat there staring at my computer screen I saw it, at the bottom. A link that claimed to provide more information. I clicked on this link and found that here was a list of all banned accounts from the site. Now we had something! I could search my database to see if I had played any of these players in the past.

Out of 165 players that have been banned from America’s Cardroom, I have played against 4. I have played a total of 2,314 against these accounts out of a total of 39,449 saved hands. Between these four accounts, they have won $146.98. Even though I did not win against them, I didn’t lose very much. In total I lost a total of $3.70.

I searched through my database of saved hand histories to see if I could find anything interesting. Most of them seemed standard but there were a few that I had questions about. The first hand that caught my attention is a hand that I played against a player that went by the name of Needmorefppp. This player also happens to be the player that I played the most hands with. In this hand I am playing 25NL with 8 players at a 9-max table. I am the CO with the effective stack of 120.92 BB and villain is UTG.

The preflop action starts out with villain open raising to 2.4 BB. It folds to me, and I make a 3-bet with KQ of clubs to 8 BB. Villain makes the call. The only thing I would change here is that I think I can make my 3-bet sizing a little bigger. Something like 10-12 BB is going to be much better in my opinion. I don’t hate the 3-bet that I made because I am laying about 2.1 on a call for my opponent. Which isn’t a good or bad price but if I make my raise a little larger, I can give them a bad price to call. Considering that this player is UTG and should have a stronger range, I think that is important to keep in mind since there are still plenty of hands in their range that I think could dominate my hand. The pot is 17.4 BB.

A flop of 4 of clubs, 3 of clubs, and 7 of hearts is dealt. This is a great flop for me because there is not a lot happening here for villain. What did they open and then call with? Sure, they can have some over pairs that are trapping, but realistically speaking this is probably not in their range. They can also have some suited A5, but I think that is really all they have in their range. Villain checks and I make a continuation bet of 5 BB. I think this is a good bet. It keeps a lot of my opponent’s range in, some draws, and other weak combos. When I saw this hand, I did question my bet sizing on the flop. Looking at a solver output I found that my bet sizing has a lot of EV, but the highest EV is betting bigger, closer to 3/4 pot. I think the bigger sizing works because I block a lot of combos that are in villain’s range when they call pre-flop. I block combos like AK, AQ, KK, and QQ but most importantly I have the club blockers. If I were run some more solves, I think what I would find is a lot of large bets on similar boards. When our hand blocks a lot of villain’s combos, we can bet larger to charge combos that want to continue and protect against combos that could have us beat but have no robust equity. As played, villain calls and the pot is now 27.4 BB.

We see the Q of spades on the turn. This is an interesting card because it could help villain but in theory it should be good for my 3-betting range. I think it could help me a little more because now I can assume that there are less Qs in villain’s range. Villain checks again and I default to a size around 2/3 pot, betting 17.2 BB. While I think my bet is good, I am seeing that there is slightly more EV in choosing a bigger bet sizing. Since I hold clubs there isn’t much left that villain could call with. The thing is that the solver has a higher frequency of checking back, which I think is to protect my range against sneaky hands that have me beat on this card. This leaves me to conclude that my bet sizing is great compromise! I give up a tiny bit of EV to put some pressure on villain and avoid leaving their range intact. Villain calls my bet, and the pot is now 61.8 BB.

Villain Equity is in Blue

The 7 of spades comes out on the river. A relative blank card considering the pre-flop action. Yes, yes, its still possible for Villain to have pocket 7, but if they do, it doesn’t change anything. I would have still been losing the entire way to showdown. At this point, I have strong show down value, and I don’t think I have much of a reason to bet. Why is that? Let’s look at what villain can have in their calling range. They can have hands like 87, 76, KK, AQs, QQ, and 77 that all beat me. In addition to that my overall range equity is pretty low and there are generally going to be more combos that have me beat in this spot since I am up against an UTG range that called a 3-bet; this range should in theory be pretty strong. So, when villain checks I don’t think I need to bet. Some people may think they have to triple barrel and would, but when their opponent folds its not a win. It just means that their opponent didn’t have a strong enough hand to call them. Just look at this board and tell me what you think your opponent would be calling with here if you were in my shoes? The check doesn’t necessarily mean weakness and it does not give me permission to bet. Now that we arrived to the river, we can see how the solver splits my range. The hands that I bet for value are mixed in with hands that are pure bluffs. The hands that check have some showdown value but also have hands that probably should give up since they have no showdown value. I check back, villain shows pocket tens, and I win the hand.

Bizzy’s 2023 Gains: $129.13

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