# Checkraise: Prop Players and Poker Prophecy

Part of: Checkraise: Poker

Last week, while the husband played on one of the online poker sites, someone "accused" him of being a proposition player. Repeating this accusation served to drive other players from the table and it was a couple of hours before playing poker was fun again. The husband complained to the site and received an answer that the other player had been cautioned. More interesting though was the unsolicited explanation that the site did indeed use proposition players but only to get the games started. We were surprised that a site as busy as that one needed proposition players.

Proposition players are real poker players. They are paid an hourly rate to sit at tables that are empty or only have a few players so that other players will join the game. They play with their own money and win and lose just like any other player. They have no special advantage in the game. In fact, a prop player will often tell you that they have a disadvantage because they may have to stay in games that are not going well and they may have to leave a game that is going well.

Yet most players do not want to play against a proposition player. Some are misinformed about what a prop player is but others just don't want to play against someone who plays that long and plays well enough to be able to play a number of hours a week (many are fulltime) without losing their bankroll. So the accusation that the husband was a prop player made it difficult for him to sit long at a table without people leaving.

If you do not want to play against someone who plays often and well, Party Poker just banned one of the tools that would help. Poker Prophecy gathered statistics on almost every single table tournamant player and turned it into a program that you could run while playing the game. For each player at the table, it would display whether the player was a "Pro", "Average" or "a Fish". A Pro was a player with a winning percentage over 40%. Clicking a tab on your task bar gave you access to more detailed statistics.

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## Article tags

• ### 1 - Phillip Winn

Jul 29, 2005 at 11:04 am

The question is, how does one get to be a prop player? :-)

• ### 2 - Mark Sahm

Jul 29, 2005 at 3:35 pm

I think things like prop players are still why I avoid online poker, that fear I'm at an unfair advantage with what's being presented to me. I mean, unless you hacked the website's system, how would you ever know?

Good post though, Justene.

• ### 3 - Phillip Winn

Jul 29, 2005 at 3:37 pm

I don't think prop players are worth worrying about, from Justene's description. It's the guys with statistical analysis software churning away, or the guys who aren't "guys" at all, but computer program pretending to be guys.

I think most online sites are pretty good about policing such things, and getting better with time, but it's still worrying.

• ### 4 - Tan The Man

Jul 29, 2005 at 3:43 pm

I always figured there was a profession for those type of players, and now I know the name. Thanks.

• ### 5 - Mark Sahm

Jul 29, 2005 at 3:49 pm

The sites may be policing the players to rid the tables of bots, but who is policing the sites from doing that? Is there a federal approval they have to go through to host online gambling? Just curious.

• ### 6 - Howard Owens

Jul 29, 2005 at 6:42 pm

As everybody who reads RGP knows ... all online poker is rigged!

Thank God I figured out the rig code!

• ### 7 - Justene

Jul 29, 2005 at 7:51 pm

If I can get people to talk on the record, how to become a prop player will be the topic of a future column.

Prop players existed in offline clubs long before online games and are still likely to be more prevalent offline.

California has extensive regulation of prop players but I must confess I didn't have to the interest to read through them.

Online gaming is a legal gray area. It is not legal but not illegal. Certainly no regulation.

• ### 8 - Jeremy Enke

Jul 29, 2005 at 9:51 pm

Almost all new sites use prop players. Typically a prop player is allowed to play without paying any rake. So essentially they are not being paid by the card rooms but instead they just don't pay rake.

In return for not paying rake they are expected to sit at tables and get games started that otherwise would never start up.

This may not be how every prop program works but in my experience in the poker industry this is usually how they operate.

Jeremy Enke
PartyRiches.com

• ### 9 - Phillip Winn

Jul 30, 2005 at 1:25 am

Mark, I think that the sites are generally regulated by the market, more or less. That is, if a site is known to be crowded with cheaters, people will stop playing there, so it is in the sites' best interest to curb cheating.

• ### 10 - Justene

Jul 30, 2005 at 12:10 pm

The LA Times did a pretty good article on Poker Bots in connection with Party Poker's IPO. It's in their paid archives now. Apparently, almost all the sites looked for it. Things like someone playing multiple tables for a long time without a break and betting in exactly 1.2 seconds each time.

There are almost always chat windows. If I get suspicious I start asking questions, where are you from, etc. If I get silence back, I move on

• ### 11 - asia K

Aug 01, 2005 at 6:57 am

Hi.

These sorts of online poker analyzers are common, PokerTracker being the most ubiquitous.

The reason that Party has decided to ban Poker Prophecy (as well as Poker Edge) and NOT ban the use of other hand analyzing addons is because of the shared nature of the databases for both PP and PE-- players could access online databases for information on players they had themselves never played with or encountered on the tables, and this information is shared among all users of the program. It was the sharing of hand history information that was the straw-camel's back for Party and these types of software addons -- where other types of programs are acceptable and used by players still on Party.

The programs are used for more than simply analyzing an opponent's style and adeptness at a game-- they also give an accurate picture of the player's own ability, make the tracking of rake paid to a poker site easier (the portion of pots that the poker site keeps), and replay hands and even entire sessions/tournaments to get a better idea of the sum game of the player.

There are sites which make the automation of use of such analyzers a little more difficult-- If a site does not offer Hand Histories, there can be no database to analyze and therefore no real use on those sites. Some sites require players to manually update and request hand histories to add to their databases, making automation less simple than sites that offer HHs downloaded directly to a player's hard drive for auto insertion. Some sites also require that a player actually be involved in a hand to receive the Hand History for it-- where other sites allow players who are simply observing a table to receive Hand History information.

Technically, these types of programs are not "bots" in the sense of the recent LA Times article as they do not make decisions on play, just give the user statistical information to base play upon.

Asia K
GamesGrid.com -- The friendly place to play poker online!

• ### 12 - Nick Cosic

Oct 02, 2005 at 8:23 am

Poker Prophecy remains a valuable tool which will help you win. We still have thousands of members playing undetected. You probably didn't do everything your parents told you, so you don't have to listen to what Party Poker or Poker Stars orders. And what gives them the right to nose around your computer anyway?

You should use Poker Prphecy, we are fighting daily against various Poker rooms detection techniques. We have data for Poker Stars, and Paradise Poker as well, so you may decide that you have a better chance playing using our software on e.g. Paradise Poker.

Our next software version will appear totally random to other applications and it will be undetectable. Meanwhile you can use web site searches on a firefox browser, which are undetectable as well.

• ### 13 - Justene

Oct 02, 2005 at 11:59 am

The email I got from Poker Prophecy indicated that the owners had acquiesced in PartyPoker's banning and had moved entirely to a webbased system. I've been using the webbased system but haven't looked for the software since then.

• ### 14 - Merideth Carleton

Oct 27, 2005 at 1:16 pm

Have you seen this before? Itâ€™s a number guessing game I guessed 28750, and it got it right! Pretty neat

• ### 15 - Lisa

Oct 02, 2009 at 9:23 am

Personal attacks are NOT allowed.

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