Barry Greenstein Allegedly Uncovers Security Error In Chinese Poker App
One of the biggest “new” disciplines of poker that have come out in the recent past is that of Chinese Poker. Furthermore, its direct descendant, Open Face Chinese Poker, seems to have captured the fancy of high stakes poker professionals around the world. Yesterday, however, one of those poker pros allegedly uncovered an error in an application that would allow someone to cheat at the game.
Poker Hall of Fame member, three time World Series of Poker bracelet winner and two-time World Poker Tour champion (OK, he has some credentials) Barry Greenstein penned a blog yesterday for PokerStars that pointed out this flaw in an application (or “app”) that is available for the iPhone and the iPad. “I just started to play the game…I’m not real good as (of) yet,” Greenstein reported and, when he heard about the app for the Apple products, he decided to download the game for himself to attempt to improve his skills.
Playing against other unnamed poker professionals, Greenstein detailed out how he moved up from playing for $10 a point (and getting beat at the beginning) to playing for $25 a point. Greenstein would end up playing against another professional for $50 a point. Greenstein writes, “I’d heard he might be a better player than I was, (but) I though perhaps I could learn playing against a better player.” Greenstein would go on to hammer the unnamed pro for 100 points (doing the math, that’s $5000).
The losing pro decided to try again, doubling the stakes against Greenstein, which he accepted. This is where the story begins to get a bit strange, according to Greenstein’s report.
“That’s when he started winning,” Barry reported. “It’s not that he beat me, but it is how he beat me. He kept getting saved on the river over and over and over…when he had to get an out on the river to beat me, I wanted to see what his percentage was. The next 14 times it came up, he hit seven times. It was enough that after that I quit.”
Greenstein went to one of his nephews, a computer programmer, and asked him to take a look at the app to see if a player could change the cards. Within 30 minutes, Greenstein’s nephew reported back that anyone who was a programmer – or knew a programmer – who could hook an iPad into a computer could easily cheat. Greenstein asked for a demonstration and his nephew complied, showing him how easy it was to manipulate the program to not only change your cards but also to see what your opponent was holding.
Greenstein used the experience to warn his readers. “You have to be very wary when playing for any significant sum of money on some of these games that may come out in the future. Secondly, as a general gambling premise, if you go somewhere and you lose and you don’t understand why you’re losing – especially if you seem to be losing in ways that don’t seem right to you – you have to quit. If there’s one game where you think the players are better than you but you do okay, go and play in that one even if there might be another game where the players seem really bad, but you don’t win.”
Greenstein isn’t blaming the publisher of the game for the issues that arose. “When the programmers wrote this Open Face Chinese Poker app, they didn’t know people were going to be playing for lots of money using it. So they didn’t write it in a secure way because they thought it was just a fun game people would play for free. It’s not even really their fault.”
Apparently Greenstein’s experience with the game has brought some action from the publisher. According to PokerNews, a Tweet from @ChineseOpenFace regarding the app errors explained, “The current update that is waiting for review in the App Store addresses the security issue Barry Greenstein mentions in his latest blog.” As those reviews can be a time consuming process, it isn’t known when it will be updated to the game.
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