Rise of the Bots: Comments on “Pokereum: An Efficient Smart Contract Dependent Decentralized Poker Platform”

I’m not comfortable with this, it sounds very gameable…~Vitalik Buterin

Here is the latest and greatest proposal for “decentralized poker”

An interesting proposal that finally starts to combine different movements and technologies that are in development stages and seeks to be the first core implementation of a decentralized poker environment.  The idea seems to be that each player can be a node that also is selected to be in ever changing jury pools that help maintain the network security in terms of gameflow security. Players must then necessarily be randomly seated in order to to facilitate this design (and especially in regards to collusion).

Players’ participate in the game creates a staking which accrues a rating and functions in relation to the persons jury pool selection.

The implementation is to essentially run on the ethereum network and a DAO will be created to take care of the rest of the issues.

One limitation is that the seating and games must be partly effectively random (players don’t choose their own tables), however there is discussion in the paper about the possibility of private tables as rewards to the honest stake holders.

Naturally the first comments are going to ask about collusion and bots.  Sites these days spend much of the players raked money on securing the game and something they at least claim to secure the game against is both collusion AND bots.

Pokererum seems to believe bots are not an issue (from a pm but admittedly also a “public stance”):

As I mentioned in the Reddit thread, bots are a) not a real threat to online poker and b) no more of a threat to Pokereum than any other poker network.

All of this together might have an interesting solution, knowing VB sees a gameable game, and that games can be solved (or equilibria discovered).

Let’s assume bots are real, and can play perfect equilibrium poker. Profitable poker games might necessarily fill up with bots, that can then collude both as nodes and on the table.  Then much of the real world bitcoin economics applies, as to the risk/rewards/costs of creating bots and bot rings.

IF these bots/nodes can be put in a decentralized equilibrium AND they could also create/maintain private games…then players could pay rake to this lower level bot infested ring, in order that they may organize and create their own intended poker game (or variants of :)). 

This way bots have incentive to hold up the network AND to be honest as a jury pool. Players are free to create their own games and fields, provided they pay the necessary market equilibrium costs.

This would solve any issues of bots and collusion by giving the players complete freedom to create and police their own games. This implementation then would create a situation similar to the Play Shares whitepaper.

Cepheus (SEE-fee-us) is the first computer program to play an essentially perfect game of poker.
Cepheus plays heads-up limit Texas hold’em poker. This is the game that was popularized by a series of high-stake matches chronicled in the book, The Professor, the Banker, and the Suicide King, by Michael Craig in 2005. A perfect solution to the game is a strategy that is guaranteed to not lose money in the long run. While Cepheus does not play perfectly, it is so close to perfect that even after playing an entire lifetime of poker against it — over 60 million hands — it is impossible to tell the difference. It is essentially perfect.~http://poker.srv.ualberta.ca/about

Edit: the incentive for bots to arise is obviously in relation to the profitability vs the cost etc., which then must necessarily be compared with effective rake. There might also be uses for bots to fill up certain games and especially in relation to profitability in regards to the overall average field (and therefore also in relation to effective rake).

SOME part of this system would likely benefit from the possibility of verifiably human nodes.

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