Thursday, June 24, 2010

Are You a Banned Facebook Texas Hold'em Poker Cheat? Read This!


The explosive growth of online social gaming in the last few years has lead to the meteoric rise of popular games like Facebook Texas Holdem Poker on social networks like Facebook and Myspace where players join their friends to play in tournaments and sit and go games. As with any other type of online game, arguments and misunderstandings that result in heated attitudes and inappropriate words at the tables are certain to spill over into this realm as well. Quite often this may end up in a player's account getting banned from the game or their zynga poker chips becoming frozen or totally reset. Since facebook poker participants regularly spend hours and hours playing and competing with each other to win facebook poker chips, nobody likes it when they log into their account one day only to find that they've been banned for inappropriate conduct. But fear not, you don't have to punch your computer or huff and pout and kick the cat though, there are simple steps you can take to restore your account and get back to playing with your facebook poker chips.

Because there a wide range of facebook texas holdem applications from several different game makers and developers, you need to find your way to the applicable game developers website that allows you to get in touch with the right administrators in charge of suspending and unbanning accounts. Competitors in Zynga's Poker application will have to pay a visit to Zynga's homepage, online players in Playdom's Poker Palace need to take a look at Playdom's page, and participants of Playfish's Poker Rivals application must stop by Playfish's home page so they can ensure that the correct administrators are receiving their emails and support tickets.

As soon as you choose the correct site for the application designer, find the corresponding "Support" section of their website. That's where they post replies to commonly asked queries, document notices about game glitches and updates, and allow users with game issues to contact them. Sometimes getting your account back is as easy as filling out a ticket and waiting a few days, other times it may involve investigating the reason you were suspended in the first place and you might end up waiting a week or longer, but it's best to get the process rolling as soon as possible.

And what can you do to prevent it from happening again? Players in these online games can have their facebook poker chips frozen for a variety of reasons. They might have their facebook chips frozen for swearing too much in the chat window, racist remarks, colluding with other players to user poker cheats, or using offensive pictures in their profiles. The programmers count on a system of reports where they are able to evaluate a gamer's bad behavior in the game depending on the number of other players that report them. This enables them to observe everyone in the game without being in every single room of the game at all times of the day.

Whether your facebook poker chips are given back to a player is dependent upon the severity of that players individual infractions. Sometimes a player who dropped a few stray swear words in the game will get their chips back by agreeing to improve their behavior once they're notified of what rules they broke. Many times players simply aren't aware that they violated the rules or crossed the line and so most game developers are willing to give them a second chance once they're made aware of what they did wrong.

Other sorts of violations might not be pardoned so readily or may well hold a longer penalty. For example, your zynga poker chips may remain banned for a few weeks or in some instances only a portion of your chips may be refunded to you as punishment. You can of course, appeal this and ask that the complete sum be refunded, but if you really misbehaved in the game then the odds of this happening are quite slim. Whichever you choose to do, it's generally best to write them an email quickly after you discover that your facebook or myspace poker account has become frozen. The sooner you fill out a support ticket, the earlier your issue will be checked and the sooner you can get back to playing facebook poker with your friends and family. Best of luck!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Pennsylvania Casinos to Employ RFID "Smart Chips" to Thwart Chip Counterfeiting, Pastposting and Bet-Capping

The article below gives you Pennsylvania's anti-casino- and poker-cheating strategy. My take on it follows.

Source: Philadelphia Inquirer

The chips you'll get in Pennsylvania casinos when table games arrive next month aren't the kind you toss around during penny-ante poker games. To the contrary, they might rival anything you'll find in the U.S. Mint.

From ultraviolet images to micro printing, casino chips contain a host of security features designed to deter counterfeiting, just as U.S. currency has similar characteristics embedded within it for the same purpose.

"The ultimate goal of these counter measures is to defeat counterfeiters," said Michael Cruz, director of gaming laboratory operations for the state Gaming Control Board. "If you're able to counterfeit the chips and not be detected, basically you're playing for free at that point."

The technology was in full bloom Monday at The Meadows Racetrack and Casino, which received 184,500 "smart" chips that seem to be designed to do everything but play the game for you. Each chip contains a microchip that allows a sensor to validate its authenticity and value and can even track a player's wagering, much like slot machines are able to do.

Cruz said the Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology behind the chips is similar to that used in the Pennsylvania Turnpike's E-ZPass system.

At The Meadows, blackjack tables as well as those for mini-baccarat and three-card poker each will have a RFID reader to verify and keep track of chips. A disc-shaped antenna will be placed under the felt at each position on each table to "read" the chips and transmit information. The technology, Cruz said, makes it very difficult to counterfeit chips. It also makes it next to impossible to cheat by trying to add to your bet if you think you have a winning hand at, for example, blackjack. The casino would know instantaneously that the wager had been increased, he said.

Sean Sullivan, The Meadows general manager, said counterfeiting is a "huge issue" in the industry. A counterfeit chip that slips into play can shut down a casino and force it to remove chips for a new set, a costly endeavor. "People do counterfeit chips. It's absolutely a sophisticated crime that does happen on occasion in our industry," he said.

The Meadows invested $360,000 in chips it received Monday, plus another $275,000 in readers and other equipment. Sullivan said the casino spent $2.50 for every "smart" chip compared to the $1.25 a regular chip costs. But he believes the investment will pay off. For one, The Meadows is hoping the technology will enable it to get a waiver of a gaming board requirement to stock a second set of chips in the case of counterfeiting.

"We don't want to scare anybody to think [counterfeiting] happens every day, but we surely want to do everything we can do to discourage it from happening here," he said. "At The Meadows, we're going the full way. We don't want to have any issues with this."

Sullivan said the other advantage to the "smart" chip technology is that it allows the casino to track a player's wagering and to award complimentary gifts like free dinners or other perks, just as it does with slot machine players. It also makes for easy accounting, since the system can count the value of a stack of chips.

At this point, the gaming board has approved the use of the "smart" chips for security and accounting purposes, but has yet to give the go ahead for The Meadows to use them to track wagering, Cruz said. Sullivan said the casino is hoping to get that approval before table games start July 8.

If you don't think casino chips are serious business, think again. At The Meadows Monday, the chips, equal to about $11.5 million in value, arrived under armed guard. Those who handled them wore jumpsuits without pockets and were subjected to wand searches to make sure they weren't hauling any away. The Meadows will be the only casino in Western Pennsylvania and only one of two in the state to employ the "smart" chip technology when table game play begins in July. But that doesn't mean chips at the other casinos, including the Rivers in Pittsburgh, will be easy marks for counterfeiters.

Cruz said manufacturers employ a variety of measures to thwart counterfeiting. Some chips will have images embedded in them that can be seen only by ultraviolet light. Others will contain tiny printing that requires a magnifying glass to read. "To the naked eye, it looks like a dot. Under magnification, it is text," Cruz said.

Many chips in Pennsylvania will be uniform in terms of the denomination color. Generally speaking, for most card games, white will denote $1 and green $25, for instance, although shades may vary from casino to casino. But at the same time, those at each casino will be different. Typically, individual casinos will add colors to the edges of the chips, both as a security feature and to mark them as their own. The chips usually will have a logo identifying the casino as well.

"No property in Pennsylvania would have the same edge spots," said Todd Moyer, Rivers general manager. "They're pretty intricate and that's what uniquely identifies them to a particular property."

The Rivers expects to receive its 212,000 chips, valued at more than $25 million, sometime next week. They won't be "smart" chips, but will contain security features Moyer declined to detail. At The Meadows, the highest denomination will be $5,000. At the Rivers, it will be a whopping $25,000 (That's insane! This casino will never need chips that big.)

Sullivan said it's okay for a player to walk out the door with some of The Meadows' fancy casino chips once they've paid for them. The casino also will be selling for $25 a collector's chip it paid $2.50 to manufacture to commemorate the launch of table games.

As the saying goes, the house always wins.

My take: Well, the old RFID effectiveness question comes up again. I have never been a big fan of this as RFID technology, although technologically sound, always runs into problems, especially in roulette games when people innocently put their chips on the table layout when they're not supposed to. As for RFID technology in chips as an anti-counterfeiting device: it's sound...until someone counterfeits the RFID chips within the casino chips! LOL

Would Legalizing Online Poker in the US Really Give The US Justice Department Powers to Reduce Online Poker Cheating?

Currently in California, there's a big push to legalize and regulate online poker, as well as getting the ball rolling for online gaming and online casinos in general. Proponents of this legalization and regulation claim that the California Attorney General would be able to police online poker sites for cheating and enforce international anti-poker cheating laws as they pertain to California. They also claim that even though there have not been many reports of offshore online poker sites themselves cheating US players out of money by not paying or refunding deposits, US citizens might be online poker cheat victims to such practices as collusion and bot play. They say that the state justice system can help protect California players against this type of online poker cheating.

Do I agree? Absolutely. And if California gets statewide legalization and regulation of online poker, it would be a great boost to get US legislation going for the entire country.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Noted Poker Pro Roy Winston Challenges Negreanu's Poker Cheating By Sunglasses Claims!

If you haven't heard, Daniel Negreanu, who I personally think is full of you-know-what, wrote on his blog that wearing sunglasses in live poker games is nothing less than a form of poker cheating. This sparked some outcry amongst fellow poker pros, who do not agree with the PokerStars Baby-Brat.

In his blog about the TV poker show "The Big Game," Negreanu wrote, "One thing I love about our show is that FINALLY there is a rule in place where you can’t hide like a chicken behind sunglasses! I swear every TV producer should ban sunglasses entirely from any televised event. They are so bad for poker on so many levels. Let’s just say that guys like Russ Hamilton would oppose such a ban. I’m not making this up, it’s just a fact. Banning sunglasses helps to protect the integrity of the game against cheating."

Roy Winston challenged Negreanu's view with "A certain well-known player/blogger (doesn't name Negreanu but we all it's him) compared wearing sunglasses to cheating. What about players like Phil Hellmuth, Greg Raymer, or John Phan, all of who wear sunglasses and all of who have honor beyond reproach? Where do you draw the line if you do ban sunglasses? What about those of us wearing prescription glasses, some of which are tinted? Comparing sunglasses to performance enhancing drugs or outright cheating is nothing short of ridiculous."

My take: I imagine with the punches and counter punches coming from both sides of this debate (I'm sure there are some pleyers who agree with Negreanu), we will likely hear much more about this, and it should continue to be a lingering online poker cheating topic with about the same repetition rate as the subject: Is Men the Master Nguyen a poker cheat? Stay tuned!