A5 Labs challenges poker industry to unite and tackle cheating head-on with high-tech solutions

A5 Labs issues challenge to poker industry
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Posted on: July 06, 2022 01:45 PDT

A Silicon Valley pioneer in AI-driven software for game integrity has issued a challenge to online poker operators to strengthen their defenses, and is urging poker players to demand more security, more transparency and better technology to ensure the future safety of the game.

A detailed white paper issued by A5 Labs today aims to set an industry standard for anti-cheating measures in online poker, while laying out a future for the industry in which players enjoy the game they love and operators can ensure sustainable games.

A5 Labs is a group of "AI core scientists and expert gamers” with a passion for poker and a vision of a safer online future for all players. Some of the headlines in the poker world might have made for grim reading recently, but A5 foresees a bright future, with a constructive view of cheating as a soluble problem.

The paper, Advanced Technologies for Secure, Fair, and Fun Online Poker, details the extent of the cheating problem, the impact it has on the online ecosystem, the current array of tools used to tackle the problem, and what more can and should be done by operators.

As well as publishing the paper in full, we’re going to dive deeper into the issues and solutions over the next few weeks in a series called The Future of Online Poker. This is an important debate and we’re going to open it up to some of the biggest and most trusted poker pros as we push towards a future where online games are fair and fun.

The problem of perception

Given recent scandals in the poker world it might seem that cheating is unmanageable. However, the message from A5 Labs is very different. 

The quantity of money involved in online poker is always going to chum the waters for bad actors. However, there are smart people on both sides of this conflict, and the tools to send cheaters to the rail permanently exist – they just need to be applied cleverly and consistently.

Getting that message out is vital to prevent the loss of players who are put off by concerns about the fairness of online poker. Casual players come to the table to enjoy themselves and there is nothing fun about playing in an unfair game. 

As the paper puts it: “Beyond security and fairness, what really drives players to brick-and-mortar casinos is entertainment. There is a sizable community of poker players who love the technical aspect of the game. [...] But by and large, the industry thrives and is largely dependent on the recreational audience that wants to see action, excitement, and entertaining gameplay.”

Fixing online poker permanently

So, how do we get to a fairer future? A5 Labs is a company that uses AI and data-driven approaches to help companies solve security problems. Online poker operators have enormous quantities of information on both individuals and poker populations, and this data can be used to group players according to relative risk and point investigators to bad actors.

The paper focuses on finding smart ways to sift that data for signs of cheating that are both broad enough to catch a wide variety of methods and precise enough to avoid false positives. 

One novel concept in the paper is the idea of a “Holistic Platform Solution” in which a player's identity will be tied to an NFT. The NFT will then act as an avatar across different sites, enabling anonymous play with absolute security that the player is identified, verified and secure. Using NFTs could mean bypassing cumbersome KYC as well as providing additional benefits to players.  

Risk profiles can be tied to the NFTs almost like a credit score, allowing players to build their reputations across every site they play on, with good actors benefiting and bad actors getting penalized.

Some critics of NFTs have ignored the potential utility behind the technology. A5 Labs has put it front and center in a comprehensive vision for the future of online poker.

You can read the whole of the white paper, Advanced Technologies for Secure, Fair, and Fun Online Poker, and get more information at A5labs.co.