The Ethics of Datamining Poker Sites, Part Two (The Positive Effects of Datamining)

The Ethics of Datamining Poker Sites, Part Two (The Positive Effects of Datamining)

In our last blog post, The Ethics of Datamining Poker Sites, Part One (Common Complaints), we outlined some common arguments given against the practice of datamining poker sites and gave counter-arguments from our personal viewpoint on the situation. In part two of this two part series, we are going to talk about the positive effects that poker data mining has on the Internet Poker community.

Som what does data mining give to poker players and the community?

  • By having millions of hand histories daily, data mining sites and the community can analyze poker games on a huge scale looking for statistical outliers, and any patterns that signal possible cheating or foul play.
  • Poker players can decide before sitting down if a particular game is worth playing instead of playing a few hundred hands of neutral or losing ev poker in order to find out; all whilst raking 5 or 6 big bets (this is what the poker sites hate so much about data mining).
  • Poker players can understand their opponents so they can make the best possible decisions.
  • Poker players can analyze some of the best players to improve their own game.
  • Recreational players and poker enthusiasts can review some of the biggest action by the most famous online players (this often drives new players to online poker).

Some notable discoveries by dataminers

  • The most famous cheating scandal to ever face poker was definitely the Absolute Poker / Ultimate Bet super-user fiasco. Plenty about the affair can be read here, but data mining aided in statistically proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that there was cheating on an unprecedented scale. 60 minutes did a feature on this fiasco not long after it happened, see video below.
  • Due to the nature of data mining, we will always uncover potentially security vulnerabilities such as:
  • This is just the tip of the iceberg and we plan to expose a lot more in future.

Ethical data mining and the future.

Unlike other poker related services such as poker tracking tools, training sites, and rakeback sites, data miners are in a position to actually provide real good for the entire poker community. We are on the front lines investigating poker software security and monitoring the millions of hand histories that take place every day. We have a tremendous opportunity to start publicly and transparently investigating the fairness of poker sites from things like RNG implementations, collusion, botting, multi-account and insider cheating (super-users).

We will admit that up until this point data mining companies have been completely profit focused and have not done their part for the community, which is what we want to change with our HHSmithy acquisition. All data mining sites, including HHSmithy, have always provided hand histories free of charge in any community investigation but it is time to become proactive instead of reactive. The selling of poker hand histories allows our users to pay less rake, play in games that are fair and in which they can actually win, and most importantly, gives us a platform to build the future of ethical data mining (and continue to pay rent and eat)!

The future of HHSmithy and our awesome upcoming products.

Currently we don’t want to reveal our entire product and development road-map but a few things on the immediate horizon are:

  • Ongoing poker software and security analysis in order to reveal vulnerabilities and security holes (like our ….).
  • Investigation into what the poker sites really do on your computer and the often invasive and unwarranted breaches of your privacy.
  • Developing automated and open-source algorithms to detect botting, collusion, super-users, hacking and other forms of cheating.
  • Automated, daily, and detailed RNG analysis.
  • Detailed statistical analysis on various rake structures and how they impact players and the community.
  • Regular publishing of obfuscated and aggregate poker data so smarter statisticians than us can investigate site fairness.
  • Opening a data platform an API to the entire community.

We want to really engage the community and hear feedback on what we can do better to help the community and any other issues people may have with data mining so we can work towards addressing those grievances. So as always, we’d love to hear your comments below and if you are interested in our ongoing work make sure you follow us on twitter, like our Facebook page or subscribe to our email list!

We are passionate about poker and plan to help create a safer, honest, and more transparent online environment to play the game. If you care about online poker start discussing the role of data mining and begin changing many misconceptions about this issue.

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