Monadical, a tech consultancy founded by a pair of poker players, has recently made its online poker platform OddSlingers open source.
In a post explaining the decision, co-founder Max McRea explains that the platform was born out of a rather optimistic attempt to “fix” online poker and “do better than what was out there.”
OddSlingers is an ultimately doomed online poker platform that came to market around 2017. The code for the project is accessible on GitHub for all and sundry to fiddle with.
McRea had the idea in 2015 after he had “reached a tipping point when it turned out that [his] idols, the stars of the old-school poker world that we’d grown up reading stories about had stolen our money.” This is a reference to the Full Tilt scandal that followed Black Friday.
Like more successful attempts to fix online poker, OddSlingers meant to focus on making things fun for amateur players.
After Black Friday, the trend in online poker was towards grinding out one’s profit by finding and exploiting fish, rather than improving your game till you could beat the pros at your level. It is a sound financial strategy, but it stripped much of the fun out of the game. New players would find themselves haunted by enormous waitlists at tables that would break up the moment they left.
McRea wanted to fix that.
The fix is out
Phil Galfond founded RunItOnce on similar principles. But with a very different approach. RunItOnce aimed at anonymizing players from session to session and equalizing the HUD situation. Oddslingers had a different set of ideas.
McCrea wrote: “we could mix up rake structure to be less punishing at lower levels, and make things more expensive for high-volume grinders, rather than the other way around. We could create a matchmaking system that would automatically put people with similar experience levels together, to soften the experiences of newcomers.”
The team went to work. By 2017 they had a play-money beta test up and running. The client was entirely playable in the browser. They put bots to work testing the system. Many of the bots are still playing the tables today with punny names like Nanopoleon, BIOSeph_Stalin, and RuthDataGinsberg.
The struggle, it turned out, was getting the product into the market. There are regulatory barriers for days in the online poker industry and, it turns out, plenty of scammers.
They had almost got a license when, in early 2018, the bottom fell out of the crypto market. This made a bunch of their investors jumpy. With money leaking away fast, the team needed to change direction. That’s when OddSlingers became Monadical, a software consultancy.
Now that they work in a different field, they’re not shy about competitor’s ganking their poker code. So it’s available for commercial use, provided the software remains open-source.
Currently, they mainly recommend it for players who want to host home games online. Or to take advantage of OddSlingers’s own specialized version of the seven-deuce game.
Featured image source: Twitter