Cheaters beware — as of this week, the Winning Poker Network is introducing a series of new anti-bot measures. WPN has designed these measures to render bot-usage completely unworkable on their sites. These new safeguards include new anti-bot software and an updated Captcha system.
To keep proprietary matters proprietary, the WPN is playing their cards close to their chest when it comes to details. But their security consultant, Randy “Nanonoko” Lew, is confident in the new software’s efficacy.
“The technology that WPN invested in and created will be groundbreaking in deterring bots and RTA,” Lew said in an interview about the new systems. “Automation will stop working immediately. After being briefed on how it works, I really just don’t see how bot-software will be able to counter this update.”
According to Lew, the new update “should make players feel very comfortable they are playing against other human players on WPN.”
From PokerStars to ACR
Lew rose to prominence in the early days of the poker boom. He was one of the first people to popularize the kind of eye-watering multi-table that is now something of a staple for Rakeback grinders and bonus hunters. In those days Lew was known for playing 24 tables at once. He could rack up a live pro’s annual hand count in a couple of days.
For a while, he was one of PokerStars’ ambassadors, but lately poker has taken a back seat. He broke with Stars just in time for the birth of his first child. “Now that I’m a father, the timing couldn’t be better allowing me to relax,” Lew said then.
Lew was never one to stay away from poker for long. Recently, he found himself looking for a different role in the poker firmament — a role he eventually found with WPN.
“I got in touch with Phil Nagy, [CEO of WPN,] who was looking to improve ACR,” Lew says. “As a player myself, I understand how important it is to feel safe while playing on a poker site. WPN offered me a position to do consulting work for the ACR team as a security consultant and gameplay expert. This fits my lifestyle. I don’t have to play cards but I still get to be involved with improving poker.”
In his role as a consultant, Lew provides the player’s perspective to a team that otherwise specializes in the back-end of the online poker experience. He rounds out the knowledge base for these behind-the-scenes types.
“I work very closely with the security team,” he says. “They never played poker professionally like me so the way they see things will be different. […] When they investigate cases such as collusion and bot activity, they will do their analysis and then consult with me about their findings.”
What the updates mean for players
Lew is keen to stress that the new changes won’t be a source of inconvenience for ACR and WPN’s customers. He emphasizes that “if you’re an honest player playing on WPN, nothing will change for you, besides feeling more confident playing poker on the site.”
This applies to both the anti-bot software and the new Captcha system.
As with the anti-automation software, Lew is equally cagey with how this Captcha system will work. This caginess minimizes the info available to bot-makers who might want to design counter counter-measures. He seems to have no doubts that the new feature “will further cement WPN’s commitment to fighting bots and RTAs.”
The new changes come at a good time. 2020 saw various cheating scandals wrap up (Postlegate), break (Fedor Kruse’s dream-machine), and be averted (Polk-Negreanu data mining). We saw Facebook make an A.I. that could take on human players at six-max and come out on top. As a result, players have never been more attentive to the ways in which poker sites keep them safe.
It is good to see sites like ACR facing up to these challenges head-on. And managing to get firmly out ahead of the problem.