GGPoker has announced the launching of its newest and largest effort in its battle to combat cheating in online poker, the Poker Integrity Council (PIC). GGPoker, the international and online partner of the World Series of Poker, hopes the creation of the new council will help spearhead efforts throughout the game to help remove cheaters from the global poker ecosystem.
Introduced with five prominent poker pros as council members, GGPoker has joined other major sites and live-poker entities in ratcheting up the anti-cheating efforts in the wake of several recent allegations of illicit behavior, including online at GGPoker.
GGPoker’s Poker Integrity Council includes these initial member players: Jason Koon, Andrew Lichtenberger, Fedor Holz, Seth Davies, and Nick Petrangelo. Three of the five members are already a part of the GGPoker family in various brand-representative roles, and Koon, when he was signed with GGPoker last fall, stated that he planned to aid the site in various anti-cheating efforts.
Koon continued along those lines when he stated, “I joined GGPoker with an important objective in mind; to help the GGPoker team make their poker games more secure and fair than ever. It’s an honor to launch the Poker Integrity Council and take another massive step in ensuring online poker is safe for all players. Our long list of allies also means that the wider community will be better protected via the industry-wide blacklist; we’re sending a united message that there’s no place in this game for cheaters.” Koon has also been designated as a GGPoker Integrity Ambassador.
Multi-step process in identifying and punishing cheaters
Players suspected of cheating will have their activity on GGPoker examined by the Council, with significant tech support and discovery aiding the process. GGPoker outlined the three main steps in how the council will make its determinations:
Detection – suspicious behavior such as collusion, botting, use of real-time assistance (RTA) or ghosting is flagged for review;
Review – the relevant hand histories (with the player detail anonymized) will be reviewed by Jason Koon, GGPoker Integrity Ambassador, and the Poker Integrity Council members;
Ruling – the council members will vote on whether or not disciplinary action is required.
The highest sanctions will be reserved for what GGPoker describes as the “most egregious” cheaters. The overall range of penalties begins with warnings and runs the gamut to permanent bans and confiscation of funds. GGPoker’s announcement does not detail whether a finding of having cheated must be voted unanimously, or whether a majority decision is enough to sanction a given cheat.
GGPoker’s announcement also indicates that a global blacklist of players banned for cheating is gaining steam behind the scenes. “In the most serious cases,” the company states, “a decision can be made to add the player to an industry blacklist. GGPoker’s PIC has allied with the industry’s biggest live poker tours and venues, including the World Series of Poker (WSOP), World Poker Tour (WPT), Triton Poker, Poker After Dark, Kings Casino, Asian Poker Tour (APT) and many more.” GGPoker then stated that blacklisted players will also be barred from entering events hosted by PIC allies, “to further protect the wider poker community.”
(For another take on the important issue of controlling cheating throughout the online-poker world, check out A5 Labs’ just-published white paper on how the game can be improved.)
Featured image source: GGPoker