$5000 gadget for cheating at poker

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/06/14/5000-gadget-for-cheating-at-p.html

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This sounds like a great way to make money get yourself murdered.


With that kind of hardware they have to have a decent size market to make a profit, which mean that lots of people will have one or be aware of them, and if you run across one of those with your marked deck, yes, it could become very unpleasant. There were quite a few telltale signs on both the deck and phone that will get you caught if you are not very careful about picking your marks.


Actually it was only $1300, so the margins are even lower than you might think. But it doesn’t seem like this is all that hard or expensive to make. So sell a few thousand to guys around the world who play backroom poker and I’m sure there’s a profit to be made.

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The audio is track is quite poor-- it feels as though my speakers might be damaged.

I was at the local Makerspace last week working on a project. My friend Simon came to get me for lunch and started twiddling with an old game that happened to sit beside me on the table. You may have seen this game, Labyrinth. It’s a wooden maze with holes in it. You use two knobs to tilt the surface, attempting to navigate a ball bearing. Simon got to 3 and dropped in. I said, “Let me have a go …” I got through the first few and he said, “Well done, have you every played this before?” “No” I said, “But it feels pretty easy. You just adjust the knobs to make the ball go where you want. It’s like etch-a-sketch.” And then I proceeded to nonchalantly proceed to the end of the maze. And then I did it again, first forward and then reverse. On the way to lunch I confessed that we had one at home as a kid …

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I don’t think that’s necessarily so. It’s a custom chip, a custom enclosure, and custom software. None of this, in China, presents that much of a problem.

China has had 20 years to tool up every factory they have to churn out customized chips, circuitry, and smart phones of all shapes and sizes. Someone, somewhere has the institutional knowledge and excess capacity. A small group, with access, could be using the equipment off-hours(?) And all they’re doing is slightly modifying an existing prototype and shoving their own hardware on top. The plastic that hides the infrared light has been standard on TV remotes for decades.

It would have been the cherry on top of this expose sundae if the writer had dug further and said something like “This is a Galaxy X5-7 from 2014 and they’ve just replaced the wifi module with their hacked card reader.” Someone must recognize the phone’s form factor and the home screen layout(?)

Inspecting the few screenshots of the device available on resellers websites, allowed me to figure out who was the manufacturer of the device [a factory located in China.]

I decided to take my chances and contact them directly.

Both these steps to me seem almost as daunting as the technological creation of the device itself.

Wouldn’t the Chinese factory try to hide the origin of the product? Wouldn’t it be reluctant to sell to a different party other than its sponsor? Which makes me think that the factory is possibly completely out of the loop: they’re just building a product on spec. “Oh, you also will pay $1300 for this? Here you go…”

On the other other hand, the software does come with the gadget, that almost surely was developed and tested in China. Damn, I would love to know the full story on this.

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