Extending the Philosophy of Lightning Channels to Mental/P2P Poker

Joseph Poon & Thaddeus Dryja present: How to make Bitcoin capable of handling the volume of all global electronic payments on a single blockchain without custodial risk of theft.

P2P Poker at Lightning Network Speed Without Blockchain Encumbrance

There may be a slick way of implementing mental poker via LC’s that does not (necessarily!) need an ultra-fast block-chain. Lighting Channel’s also provide a fault-tolerance required for the implementation of mental poker’s gameplay. The key to implementing this extension as well as the (justified) assumption here is that each player is securely issued hole cards via mental poker protocol.  These hole cards become part of the secret needed for proof of participation/decision and are also used claim any refunded equity in case of any type of lack of protocol co-operation.

One Simple Protocol/Game-rule Change

The simple addition to the lightning channel proposal is that anytime there is “funny-business” or for example if a player drops-out, or wont validate another players move etc, all of the equity in the pot is paid out via the equity in each players hand (in regards to any streets that are or aren’t revealed).  In other words, anytime time players are upset and want a ruling from the floor, the floor always demands all active players reveal their cards, and the pot is divided in relation to the equity each player holds.

Poker is Text-Based Turn Play

If we think of a poker hand, similar to a complex transaction (ie contract), there is some comparability to text based turn play games.  In fact a poker hand history is exactly that, a .txt.file that can be read by either or both a computer or a human.  The basic point to be made here is that turns can be “crypto-grapically sealed” by the announcement of the next players decision. We can think of this simply as each player upon announcing their decision states “because you did X, I will now do Y.  So there are really only two decisions we are concerned with: the very decisions to be made and the last decision made before it (ie. the decisions made before these are already verified since the game continued beyond them).

So if we are on the turn, and no one has contested the flop decisions, we can be sure everything written in the flop history was fair and trust-able for all parties concerned.

The House Always Agrees/Rules with the Equity

This leaves us with a scenario in which a villain, facing an action that is not favorable to them, can drop-out of the game, causing the equity to dump in regards to the hole cards and the board.  If they don’t reveal their cards, they don’t get any equity (which is normal in poker), if they do reveal their cards they get the equity from the last line agree upon and they lose any penalty or reputation they might incur or have.

How to Disincentivize Renegers

All player’s still suffer in reputation from the renege, a la having the HH written in the block-chain, but in randomized seating/zoom Poker, habitual renegers are going to have a higher reneg score than those that don’t.



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