Monday, March 23, 2009

How To Stop a Cheat at Poker?

Does CogniSafe’s PitBoss and other anti-cheating software programs really allow online poker rooms to reduce cheating against the players? Or are they all just another “How to prevent a cheat at poker” gimmick to make a quick score for the companies selling them.

Well, this is a complex question with a lot of variables to consider in answering it. Shmuel Konfoty, the chief technical officer of the Israeli company that has developed CogniSafe, says that PitBoss reads game logic and processes within the game that will in real time determine if any cheating is going on: any cheating meaning everything from hole-card reading to bot-playing to collusion. Theoretically, this is true. If cheating is uncovered in real time instead of after the fact, which in the big online poker cheating scams has been way after the fact, then online poker rooms would be able to act fast, catch the cheats, freeze their accounts and ban them from the sites.

But this is a BIG “if.” The problem with all this online poker anti-cheat software is that it is usually fundamentally sound but still vulnerable to being manipulated or bypassed by skilled cheat-hackers who do just that to the online poker rooms’ software, which allows them to cheat on the sites without the sites’ security catching on to it. The first thing to know is that if insiders are engaged in the cheating, then NO anti-cheating software the sites are using is going to protect you, the player, from being victimized. I don’t care what CogniSafe or anyone else says to try and dispute that fact. But, however, if the sites themselves are clean and use CogniSafe or other anti-cheat programs to protect against online poker cheats operating from the outside, then these programs may indeed be affective.

So my conclusion is to experiment but beware. Let’s give CogniSafe a chance to show its value. I suggest that online poker rooms experiment with it, and also those of you players who track hand- and player-histories to closely follow what goes on with the sites claiming to use anti-cheat software programs. In the end, the numbers you derive along with patterns of irregularity will tell us if CogniSafe is really Safe or just another Cog in the online poker revolving-door cheating machine.