You are here

Exclusive News: Chico Poker Network Announces Anti-Bot Policy

Chico Logo

The subject of poker bots is one of the most serious issues in the world of online poker sites today. Among the operations targeted by bots is the Chico Poker Network, which consists of BetOnline,, and TigerGaming. We here at have obtained an advance copy of a statement from the network regarding bots.

CPN Attempting to Fight Bots

Contents of the Statement

The document forwarded to us applies across the Chico Network to all three sites. It details the network's policy regarding bots and what customers should do if they suspect a player is a bot. Here is the text in full:

It’s our ongoing mission to provide players with the fairest games and most enjoyable poker experience possible, and we continue to invest in sophisticated fraud detection techniques and control mechanisms that make the Chico Network a safe place to play.

As outlined in our Fair Play Policy, we do not permit players the use of any tools, services or software applications that run automated tasks (a ‘bot’) or provide real-time advice on how a player should act. ‘Bots’ are not tolerated at the Chico Network and we remain committed to safeguarding our legitimate player base from the use of ‘bots’, or other prohibited software designed to give an unfair advantage during play at our online poker tables.

Maintaining the integrity of our Poker Rooms and websites is a top priority, and we take reports of suspicious activity seriously. All suspect accounts are immediately passed to our dedicated Poker Fraud Team for detailed investigation, and appropriate action taken in accordance with our Fair Play Policy.

We have built a strong Poker Fraud Team of skilled gaming professionals and keen poker players themselves, who are passionate about protecting the integrity of a game they love. Together, they possess the necessary knowledge and technical expertise to identify and analyze suspicious activity, and our fraud detection practices are continually being updated to counter new and more advanced fraudulent techniques.

We continue to rigorously review all Poker Rooms on the Network for fraudulent activity, and we encourage feedback on any issues encountered which undermine the safety of our Poker Rooms and players.

Our partners are urged to continue to report any suspicious activity by sending an email to financialservices[at] for BetOnline and SportsBetting and financialservices[at] for TigerGaming, assuring that all reports will be thoroughly investigated, and each incident responded to with the appropriate action taken to ensure offending account/s are expelled from all Network sites.

We thank you for your concern and vigilance in this matter.

Background on Poker Bots

Two Books

We're glad to see that the Chico Network is taking a strong stance against bots, at least on paper, but we understand that you might have a few questions about how poker botting works and why it is so destructive to the game. Therefore, we'll take the time now to give a brief synopsis of the phenomenon.

A poker bot is a piece of automated software, often sold commercially, that can play online poker by itself in real time without the need for a human to manually direct it. These bots work by using a preprogrammed strategy that considers the hole cards it can see along with the betting action in a hand to determine the right play to make.

Screenshot From Botting WebsiteVendor of Poker Bots Shamelessly Touts the Advantages of Its Products

Sophisticated, professional poker players can surely defeat most of the bot variants in existence. The fact that their strategy is predetermined and, in most cases, not adjustable on-the-fly means that anyone with the proper grounding in poker theory can recognize the proclivities of bots and take successful countermeasures against them.

However, this type of software is able to scrape up modest win rates against casual and recreational opponents who lack the training to recognize and exploit its tendencies. Combine this with the fact that bots can play 24/7 at multiple tables simultaneously, and we have a formula for steady, if modest, profits.

Because they prey on weaker players, bots are harmful to the poker economy as a whole. They discourage newcomers from becoming regular players by making the games tougher and thereby speedily driving the fish broke. Even though seasoned practitioners of the game are able to get the better of most poker bots, they too dislike competing against them because these pros could almost certainly achieve better results by playing against inexperienced human players instead.

You can learn more in the article we have written on poker bots, how they work, and their impact on poker as played over the internet.

Sites Dismayed

Unhappy Face

Given what we've just explained above, it's no surprise that botting is a prohibited activity at just about every online poker destination. Besides generating fear among prospective customers and raising specters about the fairness of the games, bots also remove cash from the poker economy – funds that the sites would rather see circulating throughout the player base and ultimately raked away.

The Chico Poker Network is no exception to the general rule that gaming operators look unfavorably upon poker bots. Here are the parts of the Poker Rules at network flagship site BetOnline that deal with this subject:

Fair Play Policy

At real money tables, and in all poker tournaments or events, fair and ethical Poker Play is expected and required of all our players. Any player/s found not adhering to the stated or unstated rules of play or conducting play in an unethical manner, will have their account closed, their funds confiscated and won’t be allowed to join the in the future. This includes, but is not limited to, the following actions: Collusion, Chip Dumping, Multiple Accounting, Use of Prohibited Software and Bots [emphasis added], Deal-Making, Disconnection Protection Abuse and Grimming.

Prohibited Software

It is strictly prohibited to make use of any software, artificial intelligence or tools, in conjunction with our poker software, in order to gain an unfair advantage over other players. This includes, but is not limited to, the use of “robots” (also referred to as “bots”) [emphasis added] and/or non-software based systems such as subscription services or websites. Any actions taken in our poker room must be executed by the player personally, via our poker software, without the assistance of any other software, artificial intelligence or other tools not pertinently specified above in permitted software.

You agree that the poker room can take any steps necessary in order to detect and/or prevent the use of software, artificial intelligence or other tools. We reserve the right to close any account/s and/or confiscate funds from accounts found to use any software, artificial intelligence or any other tools, as stated.

Despite this severe language, and similar verbiage found in the terms of service at almost every online gaming site that spreads card games, there are still some active bots at almost every internet poker room.

Why Can't Bots Be Eliminated Entirely?

Green Question Mark

Site security personnel use techniques like IP tracking, hand history examinations, transaction histories, action timing information, and monitoring the processes running on users' machines to attempt to identify and thwart bots. Botters use virtual machines, VPNs, multiple accounts/profiles, and randomized action delay times to evade these measures.

Logos of Chico Network SitesThe Three Sites on the Chico Poker Network

Although there have been some highly publicized cases of multiple bot accounts being banned, like at PartyPoker and the Winning Poker Network, a 100% success rate is impossible to achieve. New tactics are constantly being employed by botters and the software houses that supply bots, which means that online poker companies face a constant struggle in keeping up with the latest developments.

How Is the Chico Network Faring?


It's one thing for the head honchos to proclaim their hostility toward bots and quite another to actually do something about them. Over the past couple of years, the Chico Poker Network has been one of the sites most frequently accused of sitting idly by while bots infest the tables.

In the past few months, Chico management appears to have turned over a new leaf in attempting to enhance their poker product and seriously address the concerns of players. Part of this new philosophy included opening up a sponsored support forum on Twoplustwo with a dedicated rep to respond to questions from posters.

It appears that this forum representative is actually listening to users' concerns regarding bots and is forwarding their reports to site staff:

Forum Post About Bots

Of course, it's too early to tell yet whether or not the network will ultimately be successful in cleaning up its games. Some observers have reported in recent weeks that accounts suspected of being bots have vanished from the games. Yet, some of these suspected botters later returned to the tables although seemingly in decreased numbers from their earlier presence.

It's a good sign too that individuals who cheat by using bots are themselves bearish on the possibility of conducting their illicit deeds on the Chico Poker Network. Witness this thread posted on a popular botting forum:

Thread on Botting Forum

We indeed hope that these initial positive signs are accurate indicators of things to come. Yet, we're also aware that several poker rooms have come out against bots in the past year or so, and the efficacy of their efforts remains subject to debate.

Another question looming in our minds is: What will the Chico Poker Network do about funds confiscated from bot accounts? In most cases of cheating, the cash is disbursed back to individuals who had played against the bots. This is what the Winning Poker Network did when it announced a new bot policy. However, the CPN has not given any explanation of what it does with confiscated money, and it has not explicitly pledged to return this cash back to its user base as other sites do.

It's thus too early to determine for sure if this new policy will have the impact that its authors are undoubtedly hoping for. Time will tell one way or the other.

Play at the Chico Poker Network Today

Play Button

Taking everything into consideration, we believe that the Chico Poker Network is one of the finest places to play online poker for Americans in the current environment. The incidence of bots at the tables is not as widespread as some of the doomsayers would have you believe, and the player pool is overall on the softer side. Whichever CPN site you elect to open an account at, you'll qualify for a 100% up to $1,000 welcome bonus that's worth the equivalent of 20% rakeback.

Our preferred network site is, and you can learn more about it in our factual Sportsbetting Poker review. Its sister site BetOnline is actually the most well-known brand of the group, and it is a fine place to play cards too. Our international readers may prefer to check out our TigerGaming Poker review because this operator has a few additional cashier options that may appeal to those outside the United States.

If you'd rather take a wait-and-see approach to the Chico Network, then there are other legitimate internet poker rooms for you to sample. Consult our comprehensive guide to online poker in the U.S.A. for a list of reputable gaming sites.