On Sunday, a new poker scandal blew up on the Two Plus Two forums. This time, the controversy surrounds the use of real-time solvers by high stakes poker pro and former Call of Duty streamer Fedor Kruse.
Although the story didn’t really break until Sunday, there had been rumblings in the poker community that a new scandal was about to drop with Patrick Leonard telling Joey Ingram during a WSOP live stream that it would be “the biggest poker story for the next 2 or 3 months.”
Whether that is the case remains to be seen, but there is no doubt that the story has legs. At the very least, it highlighting an issue that online poker rooms will need to continue to be on top of in the coming years as technology improves.
The story came to light on Sunday in the wake of Fedor “QuickSystem” Kruse’s roommates outing him in recent weeks, with the 2+2 user bringing the issue to light out of concern it was not being handled fast enough by the poker rooms Kruse was playing.
According to the allegations and the evidence gathered, Kruse had been running two computers, one where he plays poker and another he used as a “dream machine,” which contains a large database of “solved hands” that are similar to the situations in which encounters at the table in real-time. In addition to using a separate computer, he also used a separate keyboard and mouse in an attempt to avoid detection from poker room security departments.
Kruse was apparently approached by the roommates about their concerns — granted, after initially having action in the games — but Kruse told them that he didn’t consider it be unethical. Several German pros also noticed the new player — Kruse — dominating the games and reported the player to GG Poker and PokerStars, noting that the player was also suspicious in regards to bet sizing, stack size, not to mention consistently making “non-intuitive plays,” which happen to be “solver-approved.”
A series of screenshots of text messages provided in the original 2+2 post seems to support that Kruse was using the solver while playing. If you have a few hours, you can check out the Two Plus Two thread discussing the scandal with the accompanying evidence. A picture of Kruse’s setup is also posted, showing the equipment and software being used.
What is a solver?
In general, a “solver” is a piece of software that can solve a mathematical problem. In poker, solvers are used in helping a player determine the optimal way to play the hand. In theory, efficient solvers provide players with answers that effectively make poker unbeatable against players not using a solver. Solvers are generally used and accepted as a training tool by many sophisticated poker players away from a real-time poker table environment, but are generally banned while actively playing.
Solvers are going to kill online poker. There is no way the sites will be able to stop it. A moment of thought brings up multiple ways to use them without detection. And this guy can't be the only one who is doing it. https://t.co/QOroLSBEAT
— Chris Wallace (@foxpokerfox) September 14, 2020
Why are real-time solvers outlawed?
Although a minority of poker players claim there are no issues with solvers or real-time decision software or tools, online poker sites have increasingly realized the harm that its use has on the game of poker. This is particularly true in an age when online poker games continue to get tougher and online poker sites recognize the importance of a healthy poker ecosystem compromised of a healthy distribution of seasoned players as well as recreational and new players.
They have responded by the change in technology by prohibiting software that unfairly aids in the decision-making process of poker players to use against opponents who are not aware of the tools. This of course includes the use of solvers, even though the computing power required for full real-time solvers using live data is unavailable at the moment. Many online poker rooms’ terms and conditions also prohibit the use of previously accepted — or tolerated — software such as Heads-Up Displays (real-time stats displayed from hand histories) and table finders.