The decentralization of poker is a project that an increasing number of players are beginning to talk about. The freedom bitcoin and decentralization might bring the players is expected to bring new life (and money) back into the poker economy. There are many projects already in development today, and although the shift might be slow, the realization of decentralized poker is becoming an inevitability. There are however challenges and perhaps even unsolved issues, one particular issues being collusion. The author would like to address one such aspect of malicious attacks on the economy of the game. The solution posed is very similar to the implementation of bitcoin, that by creating a scarcity of user accounts and creating a free market for them, holders of the “asset” will only have an incentive to keep that asset as trusted member of a larger web of trust.
Poker Assets: single unique identifiers using Counterparty
Counterparty could be used to create a finite number of assets each auction-able and transferable to an individual person’s wallet as proof of identity. The number of divisible assets created is not extremely important however to create any amount of value (which is crucial) they must be finite at least in distribution.. A good idea for the distribution might be the same rate of bitcoin (decreasing by 50% every X years) which will likely reward early adopters as well as cause the majority of early adopters to value their asset (to save it rather than to sell it).
Where does the value come from?
The value comes from the need for a web of trust within the poker community. If the community had a solution for this problem decentralized poker would have no unsolvable issues. The rake and transaction fees alone are enough to pump great wealth into any decentralized poker solution, as well as the new players that would be added to the market if decentralized poker could function above regulatory controls. This means that it is both reasonable and economically sounds to suggest a decentralized solution to single unique identifiers could accumulate its own wealth. It’s a valuable solution to the players.
Web of trust
Once assets are released, the system can work in tandem with a decentralized poker site (or centralized for that matter) and begin creating games and communities that utilize and track the assets that represent unique player accounts. A web of trust is then created which can be utilized to analyze trust-able and non trust-able behavior in any programmable fashion. Players can use or create any type of queries they wish, and choose to make such profiles public or not public. There is no need for disruption to sites or communities of any form. Players can choose to take part or not take part, and players without assets can still join games that are set up within the web of trust (if the players within the web decide so).
Creating an integrity rating
Anyone can create different ways to rate each individual player (many of which can be automatic for instance with a HUD). The key is to have a universal voting system in which players can decided who they trust the most and who they would like to share their trust network with. Another “coin” given out periodically to all asset holders at a rate based on the period of time they have held their account (assuming accounts will generally gravitate towards trustworthy holders who can make them valuable) can facilitate a voting process by which the most truth-worthy accounts are voted to the top.
Players should then choose to give tips, donations, benefits, rake back, discounted rake etc. to these players since this will create incentive for honest people to maintain their reputation. Games can be created with a certain % of trusted players equal to some desired level of security for the game. It might be acceptable to have some malicious players, colluding, multi accounting etc, if the over all profitability of the game is still superior to that of today’s game.
Nonetheless, certain requirements of integrity ratings can be made much like a bar bouncer at a league game checking ID’s in a drinking establishment. On that point some players might choose to link their ID’s or different social media site accounts etc. which might give them more credibility to the players (and earn more integrity coins) yet some players may choose to remain anonymous
How the Free Market Might Work
We tend to feel that free market solutions simply give the wealthy and corrupt a chance to take advantage of the unfortunate, however when designed properly the free market facilitates an interesting process. For example if all accounts were bought up by untrustworthy sources, they would simply not gain any value, this would cause the malicious holders to sell them very cheap. If 50% of good people bought assets and 50% of bad people, the web of trust would create value for only the trusted assets. These assets then would be more valuable for trusted people than for people who can’t gain trust. Some assets can be tied to people are are fine with being publicly known, and so this might create a strong foundation for others to link their trust to.
Players are free to defect from or not enter into the system. Decentralized poker only needs a small subset of players to create a web of trust, and no doubt other webs of this kind will exist. Players can sell their asset and buy a new one. Players can keep one asset for all time and buy tons of new assets and play some games with a “known” account and some games with different anonymous accounts. In this light we might point out multi-accounting is only a serious problem if only certain players get to do it.
The idea can be put simply, if we can turn the formula into how much are the players willing to pay to bring a secure amount of integrity to their game, then the players can decide how secure they want it. Bitcoins and the Counterparty solution are simple mechanisms to facilitate this choice.