A Poker Manifesto

Allow me to paint a picture about where the ultimate destination might possibly lie.  And I should address probably only the Monteroy’s of the group since by their own logic they have raised points that are not defeat-able, namely in this instance, there is the problem of how players could police their own game in p2p environment.

I want to paint a perspective that dissolves that complaint perfectly and then propose something new that might arise.  Perhaps dialogue might ensue if we can pass a certain hurdle of understanding.

I understand, solving player collusion programmatically is effectively impossible.  But sometimes we can render problems solvable by implementing a solution that comes from a different perspective.  

Coincidentally the bitcoin world, the liberalists, the cryptographers, the philosophers, the developers, have come to some form of the same realization that if it is possible to create a decentralized p2p money, that it should be equally plausible that one could create a decentralized card game that functions in a similar manner.

What I want us to realize, is the solution for a mental poker protocol was presented nearly 20 years ago. There have been modifications and fixes along the way, especially in relation to emerging technology (ie the internet), and yet there has never been a working realistic or useful implementation.  Why?

Well first we should understand one of the most important features Satoshi implemented is a security mechanism that disallows the possibility of someone reneging or double spending.  The importance of this in regards to implementing mental poker is that you need this solution.  Practically speaking (which is what we are interested in) P2P requires bitcoin not just as a payment method but as a security mechanism for the network communication.  Its just a fancy way of saying poker sites are like banks-to hold value and be successful they need top security.

So now that we have bitcoin, why still no implementation?

For this I want to jump ahead.  And talk about my perspective.  We can imagine poker’s version of Satoshi Nakamoto (bitcoin’s inventor) comes along and proposes an implementation of mental poker.  What is it?  What does it look like.  Can we imagine for a moment, together, that Poker Satoshi proposes a p2p shuffling/dealing protocol, and a P2P protocol for secure gameflow.

This is something we have the solutions to.  But what change would it bring?

It means any competing “site”, now has access to the tools and infrastructure to provide poker games.  The need for centralized server models would dissolve instantly, and with it the costly barrier to entry for emerging and competing poker site solutions and services.

So when we say, how would the players police collusion I wonder if we understand what it means, to change the focus from trusted third parties, to basing the entire infrastructure of the economy of the game on an absolutely perfectly secure and politically neutral protocol that ALL players and sites would have access to.

Can we find any value then in talking about a world in which there is massive competition (and a dramatically reduced overhead!) to serve the players wants?


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