Uncle Finney’s Poker is not a conventional poker room like Pokerstars or 888poker. This is the first Android poker app that works exclusively with cryptocurrency and blockchain. The only currency accepted is Ethereum (ETH) and so far only Texas Holdem can be played there as HeadsUp. We took a closer look at the concept and highlight the advantages and disadvantages of this real money app.
Smart contracts instead of payment processing
So far it looked like you had to deposit money into a poker room with the help of a payment service provider. The payouts were also made through such a third-party provider. This was partly associated with waiting times, but problems could also arise when fraudsters intercept payment details or redirect payments. According to “Live Player Games”, an Israeli software developer, this has now come to an end. Because with the blockchain and the cryptocurrency Ethereum, complex financial transactions are not even necessary. One of the advantages of Ethereum is the support of so-called smart contracts. These were developed for electronic payment transactions on the PC and make it possible to conclude a contract without a signature. Smart contracts have a corresponding user interface with which the logic of contractual regulations can be mapped. Ethereum itself, like Bitcoin, is a virtual currency that works with a blockchain and all transactions are publicly visible. Payment defaults or fraud are ruled out, as this ensures that the money is also available.
How is the game of poker at Uncle Finney’s?
So far, only Texas Holdem can be played as HeadsUp in the Android app at Uncle Finney’s Poker. As soon as a game starts, the smart contract comes into force, in which both players deposit their entry fee or stake in the cryptocurrency ETH. The poker room only acts as an intermediary for the smart contract, which is concluded exclusively between the players. The poker room does not charge a fee in the form of a rake. Instead, he receives a small fee for brokering the smart contract but never has access to the funds deposited for the game.
A two player, head-to-head poker contest for your Android device where you can bet, win and lose Ether (ETH).
Due to the blockchain principle, the payment confirmation is not immediate but can take anywhere from a few seconds to a little over a minute. This could delay the start of a game and lead to uncomfortable waiting times. To get around this problem, the developers separated the transaction from the game itself. A server only takes care of the poker game and the E4ROW Smart Contract is responsible for the stakes. In the event of an unforeseen error in which, for example, the game could not be ended, the funds simply go back to the players.
The pros and cons of this app
The obvious benefit is the quick and instant payout of winnings. You no longer have to submit a withdrawal request to the poker room and then possibly wait a few hours or days for the money. As soon as the game has ended, the winnings from the smart contract are immediately credited to your ETH account. A disadvantage, however, is the security and trustworthiness of the poker room, because there is no control over the playing of the games by a regulatory authority. From a purely legal point of view, this may not even be necessary, but it would still be good for the player to know that the random number generator is working reliably and that no predictions of game results are possible. Further disadvantages are the low support of game modes and variants, although this is not unusual at this stage of development. More games can be added quickly, although these will likely only be tournament formats, as is the case with HeadsUp now. I do not know whether joining or leaving a cash games table with any stack of chips can be implemented via the smart contract. So far, the app is only available for Android devices. For a breakthrough, however, iOS and the standard PC should also be supported, so that you can play with all mobile devices in the Bitcoin poker casinos. Should this blockchain system prevail, it could change the way online poker is played forever. However, this also requires the further spread of the virtual currency Ethereum.