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Solving Online Poker’s Transparency Issue: Audits

Despite Black Friday nearly bringing the online poker world to its knees (the industry is still thriving overseas, but growth is a thing of the past) the online poker world has done little to calm the fears of the next Full Tilt Poker, keeping their inner workings, licensing, and regulations as secret as possible. Even PokerStars’, the shining beacon of the industry, claims of segregated funds is little more than a promise. It’s time for online poker to take the much needed step of divulging their inner workings. The poker world needs this transparency; from ownership to player funds in order to feel comfortable depositing their money at an online poker site.

So what can online poker sites do that would show their potential customers that they are now 100% on the up-and-up and transparent? Here are the three things I feel must be done for online poker to once again breakthrough to the mainstream public:

  • Conduct Independent Audits
  • Visible Ownership and Management
  • Address Player Funds

Independent Audits

The one thing any online poker site could do that would set minds’ at ease more than anything else would be to submit to independent audits. When I say independent audits I mean truly independent entities; entities not hired or created by the online poker sites themselves.

So what do I want these independent sites to audit? Actually there are several things that could be checked by these companies:

  • Look for cheating among the player base

It wouldn’t be too hard for an independent security company to license and lease a script that would check for collusion and other forms of cheating at all levels. These tests could mark any potential cheating with red flags, which could then be thoroughly checked by the online poker site’s own security team.

  • Look for insider cheating or software manipulation

Independent auditors, with full access to hand histories and databases could check for any insider cheating (such as super-users) as well as any type of software manipulation (the rigged flops that conspiracy theorists point to).

  • Check the Random Number Generator used at the site

Most importantly, these independent audits could make certain that the site’s RNG is functioning properly.

The funding for these independent companies could come from the sites’ themselves, as long as it goes through a middle-manlike the licensing agency or government. A fund could be set up to have each site checked every month or three months, with the agency selecting a random database of say 10,000,000 hands to be checked.

In the next part of this series I’ll discuss why online poker sites need to have visible ownership and executive management.

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