Billed as ‘Hand analysis for serious poker players’, the launch of the Scoop Monster program at the beginning of October 2002 caused something of a furore in the online poker world. The program, which worked exclusively with the True Poker playing client, was designed to tell players the precise odds of winning the current hand, and advise them how to proceed. Not only that, but Scoop Monster could also be set to automatically play the hand for you! Naturally the arrival of a ‘bot-like’ program such as this provoked a great deal of interest and debate, not least at True Poker itself, who were as surprised as anyone by its appearance, since they had no affiliation with Scoop Monster whatsoever.
Players who experimented with Scoop Monster on True Poker generally reported one slight flaw in the ‘autoplay’ features – it just didn’t play very well! Although it was able to hold its own in play money games, it is doubtful whether anyone could hope to make a worthwhile long-term profit with the original version of the program in real money games. Despite this fact, True Poker understandably saw the new program as a threat to their business, which hinges on the concept of real players competing against one another for real money, and rapidly implemented countermeasures against the product. Not only did they announce software changes to prevent players from using Scoop Monster, but they also announced a clear policy that anyone found to be using this or similar programs would have their accounts terminated. By the end of October, Scoop Monster had been taken off the market; all that remained was a message on the Scoop Monster web site stating that the product was no longer available and that all existing customers were being reimbursed.