Rob Yong Wants partypoker to Start Using Facial Recognition to Fight Collusion

Rob Yong Wants partypoker to Start Using Facial Recognition to Fight Collusion
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  • RUPAM THAKUR February 1, 2020
  • 2 Minutes Read

Owner of U.K. casino Dusk Till Dawn and partypoker partner Rob Yong started a poll on Twitter on January 29 to gauge the poker community’s interest in his idea of using facial recognition technology to improve online poker security and to combat cheating.

Yong said he wants the technology to be used on partypoker when a player signs in and to be used randomly when players are in the money or at the final table of a tournament, as well as in high stakes cash games.

He believes this will help put an end to the use of bots, multi-accounting, and ghosting on the site, among other malpractices used by malicious online poker players to gain an unfair advantage over competitors.

The twitter poll received 5,460 votes within the allotted period, and an overwhelming majority of 84.6% supported the idea.

As expected, the poll elicited a response from numerous poker celebrities.

High-stakes pro and online legend Faraz Jaka loved the idea but voiced concern in the thread about the possibility of this technology scaring new players away from the site.

World Poker Tour champion and veteran poker pro Dylan Linde expressed concerns about the technology not working correctly and possibly even booting people out from a tournament. Yong put those concerns to rest by replying to the thread.

Brandon Adams also voiced his feelings on the idea.

Twitter user Randy Mawson said that subjecting low stakes players on partypoker to facial recognition checks would represent a burden to “the masses.” However, Yong countered that small stakes players are already familiar with the feature because they use it to log-on to bank apps.

Twitter account holder Vinny Cout argued that facial recognition would be a needless addition to partypoker’s security controls and that Yong should instead reconsider the mid-2019 decision to remove HUDs. However, Yong stood firm on the notion that detecting prohibited HUD use and player ID checks were two unrelated topics.

When one commenter asked what would happen if a player didn’t have a webcam, Yong gave him the unfortunate news that they would have to go out and purchase that technology to play on the site.

The online poker boom has encountered numerous cheating scandals that have involved ghosting and multi-accounting, especially in high-stakes tournaments. Ghosting is a practice where a player goes deep in a tournament, and then his account is taken over by a presumably better player when there is more money on the line.

Multi-accounting is where one player has more than one account to his name and gains an edge from the fact that his opponents are under the assumption they are playing against someone else.

Bots or automated computer programs, on the other hand, have become a problem in the more modern era of online poker. As bots become more advanced and tougher to beat, they will quickly win money from their human opponents and dry up the ecosystem of an online site.

Yong said: “Poker Bots are like winning sports bettors,” and added: “Accounts get closed, pretty easy to catch, but open another account.”

In 2015, a group of top poker pros, including Doug Polk, had battled “Claudico,” a poker bot developed by the faculty and staff at Carnegie Mellon University, over 60,000 hands of heads-up NLHE. The pros defeated the bot, but two years later, Carnegie Mellon developed another more advanced bot, “Libratus’. This time, the match involved a 120,000-hand sample. In the end, the AI bot reigned supreme against top pros like Jason Les, Dong Kim, Jimmy Chou, and Daniel McAulay.

Clearly, more robust measures to curb the menace of cheating in the fast-growing online poker industry is the need of the hour, and from the looks of it, partypoker has taken a pioneering lead in this direction!

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