Poker Stars Spyware?

Boltneck

Boltneck

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Someone created a thread regarding what poker assistant software is or is not helpful and / or legal. As a result, I found the following on the poker stars website.

<LI class=que>What steps are you going to take to prevent players from using prohibited programs? <LI class=ans>We are going to look to see if any of those programs is running on a player's computer. If we find one of the prohibited programs, we will alert the player that he is running a prohibited program and tell him what the program is. We will ask that he stop running the program immediately. If he complies, fine. If not, then we will prevent the PokerStars client from running on his computer. <LI class=que>Are you going to look for anything else on players' computers? <LI class=ans>Absolutely not. Our sole interest is in protecting our players and our site from programs that we believe are bad for the integrity and fairness of our games.
I have nothing on my PC that I would need to hide, but I am not sure that I like the idea of Poker Stars (or any other poker site for that matter) scanning my PC. I presume that it can't be illegal, or they would not be so open about the fact that they do it. However, even in the interest of keeping their games fair, I am not sure if this is either morally acceptable or justifiable. Does anyone have any opinions on the subject?

Boltneck.
 
dj11

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Probably more of a concern for the casual player, than the more serious.
The uber serious online poker players has a separate PC just for poker.

I would tend to trust someone who says they are limiting their search than someone who totally denies searching, like every site that allows a popup which then hounds you with offers for shoes after finding, on your PC, that you ordered shoes from Eddie Bauer.

From a fair game POV, I believe I accepted the Terms & Agreements up front, where I believe I gave them the right to search for such instruments of evil.

However, I agree that it would be better if there were some oversite to any PokerSites intrusions into our private worlds.
 
zachvac

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If you don't trust a company, you shouldn't install their software. They claim they don't do anything besides ensure you don't have illegal software running. If you trust them, you hit the "I agree" button and play on their site. If you don't, you uninstall the software, and they can't do anything on your computer.
 
arkadiy

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dito... thats all! ,)

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Ya....I have a feeling that even "serious" poker players don't have a computer just for their poker account.....seems pretty stupid / useless.
 
smd173

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Ya....I have a feeling that even "serious" poker players don't have a computer just for their poker account.....seems pretty stupid / useless.

It's alittle over the top perhaps, but I don't think it is stupid. To have a machine dedicated to poker and virus/spyware/malware free when you are a high stakes player with major money in your account, makes sense to me. One, they can afford the extra PC. Two, they know they'd be safe. Plus if they rig it up with a double monitor they can multi table more.
 
Boltneck

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If you don't trust a company, you shouldn't install their software. They claim they don't do anything besides ensure you don't have illegal software running. If you trust them, you hit the "I agree" button and play on their site. If you don't, you uninstall the software, and they can't do anything on your computer.

I didn't read the licence agreement when I signed up - I doubt that many people do. Still, I would entirely agree that I should have read the agreement, so can have no complaints.

I do not know if the licence agreement (that I didn't read) specifically and categorically says that PS will scan my PC for software that they don't like - I suspect not. However, that's not really the point that I was (trying) to make. Neither is it the case that I do not trust Poker Stars. I found out about the scanning quite by accident, and found it to be somewhat surprising. I thought it might be of interest (and / or concern) to others, so posted to see what the concensus of opinion is.

I have nothing on this PC that I would not be happy for anyone to see, I am not a conspiracy theorist, and have no intention of uninstalling PS software. That said, l do have reservations about a company that decides what other (perfectly legal) software they do not permit you to use, and scans your PC for it's presence without out being very up front about it.

For example, if when opening the PS software a pop-up appeared saying that "we are scanning your PC for software that we do not allow" I would have no problems at all with that approach, though I suspect that their legendary huge traffic would dry up overnight if they did that. It's the somewhat stealthy was thay do it that I'm slightly uncomfortable with. I may check their T's & C's at some stage to see exactly what it does say on this issue. If other companies from whom one downloads software took this approach, I suspect that there would be an outcry.

Boltneck
 
zachvac

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From their agreement that EVERYONE had to hit "I agree" to:

"5.6. You agree that pokerstars may take steps to detect and prevent the use of prohibited EPA Programs. These steps may include, but are not limited to, examination of software programs running concurrently with the PokerStars Software on the User's computer."

Poker Stars - Online Poker Site Terms of Service
 
O

overtop69

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Why would any player be against this since it is for every player's protection...even the one time player. I definitely think that it is not only needed but applaud their effort in protecting us...after all it is their responsibility.
 
S

Stan7777

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Spyware Really?

:eek: There seems to be a very interesting point that is being both presumed and on the part of Stars perhaps admitted too. That cheating spyware actually exists. I've been playing online less than a year and refuse to deposit because of my security concerns. IE folks being able to see my "desk top" and thus my hole cards. Or some computer program that can determine in advance what cards will hit the board. I have found offers on the net for programs that claim to do both. Logically you think why would someone sell something that could potentially make them millions of dollars? My first thought is to be sceptical always. But I've seen the strangest calls on hands I bet correctly pre/postflop. I've been playing 30 years and know how to play the game. Folks calling Big pockets that I represent preflop with a bet of 4-5BB's and bet correctly at pot or better postflop to an unsuited, all lower card board. Get called by king little off suit that hit runner runner trips. On that particular hand from 2 months ago I moved all in post flop with AA. I had the other player covered. He hit 5 5 turn and river for a set. I still can't find any other logical explaination for his decision based on what happened other than he knew what cards were coming. I'm a tight aggressive player and we had been at the same table over an hour when the hand occured. It still gets me PO'd.
So is there software that really can see hole cards. Or as in the case in the previous paragraph spyware that can tell a player what cards are still to hit the board. All the sites swear it is not possible to know future cards. If you have an opinion or knowledge I would appreciate reading it. :eek: Stan
 
Boltneck

Boltneck

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I think it inconceiveable that there is anything out there there could know what future cards will be dealt. I think you may be falling into the trip of thinking that all players use a degree of logic in their play. There are some serious donks out there - and long may that continue.

There is a suspicioun that it could be possible to see the hole cards of all players at the table (see the 'sticky' thread "Absolute scandal" in this forum for more details).

Whist it is probably open to debate what software constitutes cheating, Poker Stars focus seems to be on bots (quite rightly so) and other stuff that gathers data on other players without the need to actually be at the table.

Boltneck.
 
MrGoodFlop

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What about sites like sharkscope.
How do they get their data without violating these rules?
Why do poker star and others allow them to do it?
 
pantin007

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:eek: There seems to be a very interesting point that is being both presumed and on the part of Stars perhaps admitted too. That cheating spyware actually exists. I've been playing online less than a year and refuse to deposit because of my security concerns
you are basing points from play money tables

play money tables are the homes for donkies.plus if u think of it poker stars or any major poker site is dealing millions of hands a day so obviously you are going to have a few bad beats
 
S

Stan7777

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you are basing points from play money tables

play money tables are the homes for donkies.plus if u think of it poker stars or any major poker site is dealing millions of hands a day so obviously you are going to have a few bad beats
Completely eroneous assumption. I do not play the play money tables. I built my bankroll playing freerolls. I play 60% freerolls and 40% SnG's and small micro tournies. Mostly SnG's though. There is an arrogance in comments like this that you find all the time in poker forums. I've played over 30 years. I know the games I play thouroughly. I choose to play for fun. Not everybody is is dreaming of being another broke as a joke pro. And before anyone tells me about all the money some folks make. For every guy/gal with a million dollar bank account there are 10 so broke they have to beg friends for a buyin or get stake horsed. I'm not saying you shouldn't chase your dream. Just be realistic about the likelyhood succeeding and the pluses and minuses of it if you do.
 
arahel_jazz

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From their agreement that EVERYONE had to hit "I agree" to:

"5.6. You agree that PokerStars may take steps to detect and prevent the use of prohibited EPA Programs. These steps may include, but are not limited to, examination of software programs running concurrently with the PokerStars Software on the User's computer."

Poker Stars - Online Poker Site Terms of Service

They can try all they want to on my computer. They won't make it. My network firewall is set to outbound established connections only. If they try to come in on any connection other than the one that I have established, they will be blocked.

Now you all have me curious... I might have to set my sniffer up to watch for awhile...
 
zachvac

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They can try all they want to on my computer. They won't make it. My network firewall is set to outbound established connections only. If they try to come in on any connection other than the one that I have established, they will be blocked.

Now you all have me curious... I might have to set my sniffer up to watch for awhile...

Sorry, but this doesn't work. You're running their application on your computer, they have access to your computer. They don't need to get through the firewall, their software's running locally. They could tell if you were running a program without an internet connection, they just wouldn't be able to send it outward.

And sorry to disappoint you, but if you're playing poker, there's an incoming connection. How do you think the server sends the cards you get? You honestly don't think each client generates its own cards do you? Then you could have the same card in multiple hands, and that would hardly work.
 
arahel_jazz

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Sorry, but this doesn't work. You're running their application on your computer, they have access to your computer. They don't need to get through the firewall, their software's running locally. They could tell if you were running a program without an internet connection, they just wouldn't be able to send it outward.

And sorry to disappoint you, but if you're playing poker, there's an incoming connection. How do you think the server sends the cards you get? You honestly don't think each client generates its own cards do you? Then you could have the same card in multiple hands, and that would hardly work.

No, you need to think about it for a minute. The client (you) establishes a connection by launching the application. Conversations over that connection include the cards you are delt along with the bet and chat information. Multiple TCP connections are initiated by the client to bring data from the server to compose the various windows and applets. Last time I looked at this, it was Full Tilt. They use SSH to set up the connection between client and server.

If the server (PS) were to try to use that connection in a reverse manner to initiate a scanning program, it would have to use a new TCP port number - which would be treated as a new connection. That would be blocked by my firewall, or at a minimum, caught by my zone alarm on the PC as an incoming malicious program.

When I have some more time over the holiday to reconfigure my network, I'll see if I can sniff out the details...
 
zachvac

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No, you need to think about it for a minute. The client (you) establishes a connection by launching the application. Conversations over that connection include the cards you are delt along with the bet and chat information. Multiple TCP connections are initiated by the client to bring data from the server to compose the various windows and applets. Last time I looked at this, it was Full Tilt. They use SSH to set up the connection between client and server.

If the server (PS) were to try to use that connection in a reverse manner to initiate a scanning program, it would have to use a new TCP port number - which would be treated as a new connection. That would be blocked by my firewall, or at a minimum, caught by my zone alarm on the PC as an incoming malicious program.

When I have some more time over the holiday to reconfigure my network, I'll see if I can sniff out the details...

You said you blocked incoming connections. If this were true it would block the TCP connection where the server sends the cards to the client.

BUT... even further, the part that scans your PC may not be located on the server, but in the client software (what you downloaded and what every once in a while asks you to install an update for). Hell if I wrote the software this is how I'd do it. On startup, search your computer for illegal software. If any is running, on login, send instead of what you enter as username and password, send 3 values, username, password, and "THIS GUY'S CHEATING!!!" or something like that, of course with details, perhaps a code for which illegal software it was. Same connection, in fact it's an outgoing not an incoming connection, yet your firewall does not stop it. That's why no firewall can stop a virus that you install and run on your local computer. There's no need for an incoming connection once the software's already on your local machine.
 
Effexor

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What about sites like sharkscope.
How do they get their data without violating these rules?
Why do poker star and others allow them to do it?

There are allowed sites, and sites that aren't allowed. The difference being boiled down to the results / specific hands. Sharkscope just tracks results, not play styles or specific hands. This is legit and can't really give anyone an advantage. It just tells you if the person is a winning player or not. On the other hand, there are sites that track people and their play styles based on specific hands dealt. Gathering information on hands that you haven't actually seen could be used for an unfair advantage and is illegal.

Seeing that someone has a return on investment (ROI) of 15% = Legal

Seeing that someone always reraises with Ax = Illegal
 
I

iamthepush

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:eek: Get called by king little off suit that hit runner runner trips. On that particular hand from 2 months ago I moved all in post flop with AA. I had the other player covered. He hit 5 5 turn and river for a set. :eek: Stan

i don't think he had "spyware".
 
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