February 28, 2006
It seems the online poker world got a major black eye a few days ago. It’s well-known that playing multiple accounts is a definite possibility, although the extent of the problem isn’t quite understood. But we saw a high-profile case that suggests otherwise. As the Poker King Blog reports:
For all of you who havenâ€™t heard about this, here is what happened:
An account named â€œablackcarâ€ ended up taking down the Party Poker 500k guaranteed tournament last week for 140k. That is fine, except for the fact that it came out after the fact, on pocketfives.com, that the â€œablackcarâ€ account was being played by JJProdigy, a well-known and very good online tournament player. The real big problem? JJProdigy had played in the same tournament. So, about twenty minutes after the tournament ended, it was revealed that JJProdigy had had two accounts playing in the same tournament (at least two).
When confronted with this information, JJProdigy said that the â€œablackcarâ€ account had been played by his grandmother until the closing stages of the tournament. At that time, JJProdigy took over and finished up the tournament. Anyone with half a brain could see that this was a lie. Someone checked up on the â€œablackcarâ€ account, and miraculously, â€œablackcarâ€ only played in tournaments that JJProdigy was playing in, and only played tournaments with a large buy-in.
The JJProdigy situation was reported to Party Poker, and they took immediate action, freezing the â€œablackcarâ€ account. About five days later, Party Poker announces that not only have they banned the â€œablackcarâ€ account and confiscated the 140k, but they also banned the JJProdigy account, and confiscated 40k. Everyone who placed in the money in the Party 500k Guaranteed was bumped up a spot, and the 140k was redistributed.
This is bad news for the online poker world. It does appear that PartyPoker, where I’ve played extensively, is taking serious action. But waiting for these events to be made public before acting isn’t quite enough. To continue playing with PartyPoker, I want to know that they’re beefing up their anti-cheating and anti-collusion technologies to stay ahead of these bums.
The entire online poker world exists under one assumption: that it is just as fair as a real poker room. In a real poker room, one player can’t enter himself into a tournament twice. In the online world, though, it’s apparently far to easy to evade detection. In this case, the player had two accounts playing from the same computer!
PartyPoker needs to rethink their security strategies. At the very least, you need to ensure that you can’t have more than one instance of the software running on a single computer at a time. But that’s just the beginning. If you have two instances of software on the same PC, they’ve definitely got the same IP address, and you shouldn’t allow multiple computers from the same IP. Even if you have multiple computers on a home network, to the outside world it will likely look like one IP, so you can look for issues there. You can probably never get perfect security, because the cheaters always manage to exploit flaws one step ahead of the security protections. But the fact that this person was able to play two accounts from the same computer– an egregious offense– is a serious oversight.
PartyPoker is one of the largest and most reputable online poker sites in the business. But if they can’t keep their house in order, I may have to swear off online poker completely. It just might be time to start getting a weekly game going in my subdivision, and start taking my neighbors’ money instead!
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