WHITE PAPER ON INTERNET POKER
Internet poker has three main problems with respect to live poker:
1) The random number generator algorithm that is used to produce the hands is flawed; it does not produce true randomness (entropy).
2) Internet poker in its present format fosters bingo playing, all or nothing mentality.
3) You loose the ability to read your opponent because of the lack of physical proximity.
The first issue is easily addressed; simply change the way poker hands are generated. The problem is in implementation. How do you introduce true entropy into a card shuffle on a computer? You CAN NOT produce it with an algorithm, this, by definition, is in direct contradiction to entropy as defined: a measure of the disorder in a substance or system (in this case the system is the universe), an algorithm is by definition: a set of rules for solving a problem in a finite number of steps. Simply put, you cannot solve the disorder of the universe with a finite number of steps (instructions), as is presently being done when using an algorithm to generate a random shuffle. When a dealer shuffles a deck of cards, there is no specific rhyme or reason to the way the final product (shuffled deck) is produced, his actions and his interaction with the rest of the table, between one shuffle and the next are never precisely the same as with a RNG algorithm, his actions are subjected to the physical randomness of the universe. However with an algorithm, the same set of precise instructions are repeated time after time. To be rhetorical, how do we correct this situation? With out getting to deep into the physical properties that make up the universe, simply change the way the product is produced each and every time. How? By PHYSICALLY INTERACTING WITH THE PRODUCT (shuffle) each and every time, to produce entropy you must interact with the physical properties of the universe. Have you ever watched a lottery drawing show and seen the way they generate the winning numbers, the physical interaction of the balls with respect to the system (the system in this case is the number generator) makes computation of the final result literally and utterly impossible, that is why they use it, the mechanical generator interacts with the physical properties of the universe. There is no repetition, as in the computer-generated shuffle. An algorithm is not the answer; a physically interacting random number generator is the answer. I have no problem with our present technology, envisioning the design and logistics of such a machine(s), you would need several humdred miniature entropy modules producing a shuffle every second. I have even developed preliminary designs that are similar to an ink jet cartridge. You could have a bank of several hundred in the space of a tower-sized computer. These shuffles can be directly downloaded into the computer on a continuous basis and be used as the computer calls for a new shuffle. This method provides some added benefits, first there is no way there can ever be an algorithm designed to cheat the system. It eliminates post attack programs that emulate the algorithm and can eventually predict hands if given enough time and information (hands). The security issue related to the algorithm emulation becomes a mute point. Which leaves only encryption as the only security issue. Presently the National Security Agency (NSA) has called for an open competition to develop a new encryption algorithm due to security issues related to the algorithms presently used (1). The reason encryption is so important is based on the obvious fact that, even thou you cant see your opponents cards, there hand is actually being sent to your computer (every hand on the table is being sent to every players computer) but you simply cant see it. If you had the encryption software (algorithm) you could see everybody’s hand. This security issue will, for the near future, always be present. Obviously the only people with the skills to develop an algorithm to crack an algorithm are very few and far between and live in a very small community with regards to the expertise required, and believe it or not, will leave a fingerprint that can be identified within there small community of experts. Not very comforting to know that eventually somebody will crack the present encryption and be able to cheat. Well to tell you the truth I’m not too worried, this would presume they would sell their software to dubious people. Those people (scientific mathematicians) and that type of information are subject to security scrutiny far beyond what we would consider as adequate. The only scenario that’s of any possible relevance is postgraduate math type genius’s looking to make a name or writing a PHD thesis (this is a real possibility). Even then it would take collaboration between more than one person, which leads us back to security issues within there own group. I suppose you could have a true math prodigy, but chances are he would be savant, and interacting with somebody with that selective talent would expose you to all kinds scrutiny. So lets sum up issue #1. Present Random number generators are for lack of a better term “pitifully inadequate” and do not, and cannot produce entropy, which is the fundamental requirement to produce a fair random shuffle. To say an algorithm does produce a random shuffle infers one of two things, #1 either you are regurgitating the company propaganda because you are trying to protect your cash cow and you’re unwilling to admit there are flaws in the system. #2 You have no clue as to what real randomness is (entropy), and are incapable of comprehending the postulate as presented. Which is to say, you are not stupid, but not an analytical scientific type of person. Entropy is not your everyday lunch topic.
Issue number two: (Internet poker in its present format fosters bingo playing, all or nothing mentality). The present format with tournament on line poker breeds a mentality that is directly contrary and detrimental to the game of poker. Why? Online poker is structured to play fast; having any reasonable chance to get a hand is solely a function of how lucky you are that day. If you don’t get a hand quickly you will be blinded out or forced to gamble with marginal cards. There is no skill in this structure, the prevailing mentality will, in over 50% of the time force you all in pre flop, the majority of online poker players don’t know how to use skill, they just want to look at there cards, if they see anything that they even remotely interpret as good cards, they will jump all in and leave it to fate to decide the winner, THEY ARE PLAYING BINGO, this mentality is further promoted by the pace of blinds, and there obvious lack of skill. The byproduct of this mentality usually eliminates decent players by the “suck out” factor, even when you go in with the best hand, I have found that in over half the cases, the suck out players win, reinforcing there pitiful play. This is only exasperated by the flawed algorithm used to deal cards, making it virtually impossible to play a game of poker without going all in on several occasions. At this point, poker is not a game of skill, it becomes bingo. I just recently played a game of poker where the first 17 of 20 hands were “all in” rounds; this doesn’t happen in live poker, it got so bad I quit counting. On line players are getting so used to this technique that they just accept it as part of the game. Well folks that’s NOT how real poker is played. The current method and structure of online poker only reinforces the statements by contrary lawmakers that; internet poker is only gambling not a game of skill, and gives them further ammunition to ban online poker. The current new generation of poker players have learned poker online, in a different environment, adapted for computer play, not how it was first played when you sat down at a table and used you wit, skill, and luck, to defeat your opponent. If you want, give online poker a name, but don’t call it poker, it’s not even a reasonable facsimile. Lets call it “Internet Bingo Poker”. For obvious monetary reasons, you will NEVER get the poker sites to admit this. It is never the less very true, just go watch a tournament and see how many people do nothing but go “all in” that’s all they know how to do.
Issue number three: (You loose the ability to read your opponent because of the lack of physical proximity). As I stated previously, poker when it’s played at its best is a culmination of skill, intuition, whit, and luck. To play real poker well, requires the use of all of the human senses, and when a player is not able to utilize these senses the outcome of any given game is compromised. Which leads to the question; how do you solve the lack of physical proximity? The answer is so obvious that it must have been considered before. Create an online environment where interaction with your opponent is part of the game. What do you need to create this environment? Very simple, a video camera and an audio microphone,
ITS THAT SIMPLE. Envision if you will, a poker site where all the players’ faces are visible, and where you can listen to the players just like you do at a live regular table. Hell it’s so cheap now to add a camera and microphone to your computer, your investment would be in the neighborhood of twenty dollars. Poker sites can and should subsidize this investment. Can you imagine sitting down at a table and seeing Joe Hachem across from you just like at the world series. Not very many people are able to buck up $10,000 to play the World Series of Poker, but they could afford twenty dollars for a crack at Pokers greatest players especially if they could see and talk to them real time. The logistics are not even difficult. A poker site, lets call it, REAL POKER .COM would be just the ticket. Every player has a camera and microphone. If you had the support of the “big gun” players of poker (which the poker sites have already paid for) this format would take off in a second. This format could and should be added to real money cash games, which I personally would be much more inclined to play, if I could get some kind of read on my opponent. This would also aid in the “Turbo” tournaments where time is at a premium, being able to take a quick look at your opponent would be very beneficial when trying to decide on your course of action. This “all in” mentality is just ridiculous, and is being subsidized by greedy suits who could give a hoot about poker, but just want to line there pockets. How much money is enough? Why don’t you do something for the game that just made you super rich and would without a doubt will make you richer. This is not how poker was met to be played. How do you think the big name poker player got where they are, playing online poker? NOT!! They played live poker for thousands and thousands of hours to develop their skills. The only reason they indorse internet poker is because they are paid BIG BUCKS, if you got them alone in a room they would tell you its not even close to real poker. In that sense Chris Moneymaker did poker an injustice by endorsing the poker site, which will remain anonymous. The perceived downside by the poker sites of this type of table would be, it slows down play. I would venture to say not really. I play a lot of live poker, and in the majority of cases people fold just as fast as on line players do. I have seen players online in as many as 8 games, now tell me they don’t slow down the game, they usually time out on every hand, but they are allowed to slow down the game because of the rake the casino’s are making. It may be a slight factor when its heads up, but it would still be negligible, and so what, so the game takes a couple extra minutes overall, big deal. Are they that greedy for their rake? Probably!! If they wanted to speed up the game stop letting players play multiple games at once. Real poker players would not be bothered by it, and you could still have some kind of structured time restraints as you do now, you could even put them on the clock just as in live poker, further enhancing the game experience, making online poker virtually the same as live poker, it would not be difficult, it merely would take some additional programming and the desire by the poker sites to do it. Its not like its going to hurt there business, if anything they will create a much larger participation leading to more profits. This will also remove ammunition from lawmakers. Somebody out there is going to do what I have just covered and create there own cash cow casino, if they haven’t already started working on the concept. If nothing else it will be a nitch in the world of online poker and participation will start with the true poker players and expand. You do the math!!
(1) All the major poker sites use this algorithm for there security encryption.
The SHA hash functions are a set of cryptographic hash functions designed by the National Security Agency (NSA) and published by the NIST National_Institute_of_Standards_and_Technology as a U.S. Federal Information Processing Standard . SHA stands for Secure Hash Algorithm. The three SHA algorithms are structured differently and are distinguished as SHA-0, SHA-1, and SHA-2. The SHA-2 family uses an identical algorithm with a variable digest size which is distinguished as SHA-224, SHA-256, SHA-384, and SHA-512.
SHA-1 is the best established of the existing SHA hash functions, and is employed in several widely used security applications and protocols. In 2005,security flaws were identified in SHA-1, namely that apossiblemathematical weaknessmight exist, indicating that a stronger hashfunction would be desirable. Although no attacks have yet been reported on the SHA-2 variants, they are algorithmically similar to SHA-1 and so efforts are underway to develop improved alternatives. A new hash standard, SHA-3, is currently under development - the function will be selected via an open competition running between fall 2008 and 2012.
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Thread: White Paper On Internet Poker
December 24th, 2009 #1
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White Paper On Internet Poker
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