A two player, head-to-head poker contest for your Android device that enables players to bet and win Ether (ETH).
Uncle Finney’s Poker is a head-to-head, two player poker game for your Android device. Unlike many other poker apps, Uncle Finney’s Poker doesn’t deal in fake coins that have no real value. Instead, players bet, win and lose Ether (ETH), an exciting cryptocurrency that has real world value.
Uncle Finney’s Poker is NOT an online casino! You don’t need to buy chips, open an account, or entrust a 3rd party with your money. Uncle Finney’s Poker does not hold your bets or take a ‘house cut’. Instead, bets are deposited, held and paid to the winner by an independent Ethereum smart-contract that charges a tiny escrow fee. What the heck is a smart contract? What the heck is Ethereum? What on Earth is a cryptocurrency? Read on…
If you have a QR reader on your phone, then you can scan this QR code:
If you do not have a QR reader, we recommend an app callled Barcode Scanner, the official app of the ZXing project. You can get Barcode Scanner directly from your device from the Google Play Store.
You can also download the latest version of Uncle Finney’s Poker here: https://unclefinneys.com/poker.apk
Most browsers will not download the file via the link unless you manually copy-and-paste the link/URL into the address bar. Once you have downloaded the poker.apk file, go to your Downloads folder. (On some phones you can get to the Downloads folder via: Settings => Storage => Explore => Downloads). Click on the poker.apk file to install it. If you have not already done so, you will be required to “allow installation of apps from other than the Play Store.”
Uncle Finney’s Poker enables you to play one-on-one, head-to-head poker with other live players around the world, where legal. Instead of betting useless virtual cartoon coins like the ones that appear on so many mobile apps, you bet Ether, an exciting cryptocurrency that has value in the real world. Instead of trusting an online casino (which we are not), you do not have to deposit funds in advance and hope we (or some hacker) don’t disappear with your money -in fact, you never have to deposit funds at all: your bets are deposited to an Ethereum smart-contract, which is a program that lives on the blockchain, securely holds players’ bets and then automatically distributes them to the winner. Uncle Finney’s Poker never touches – or ever has access to – players’ bets, making this a far more secure and trustworthy poker game than anything currently available.
Ether is a unique cryptocurrency that enables those who own it to trade it electronically with others. Ether is traded throughout the world and its price has steadily risen since its introduction. One thing that makes Ether unique from other cryptocurrencies (such as Bitcoin) is that Ether can be deposited into ‘smart contracts’ that can perform relatively complex functions (for example, acting as a secure escrow for a poker game). To learn more about Ether, check out: https://blog.coinbase.com/a-beginners-guide-to-ethereum-46dd486ceecf#.edq02temm
No. Unlike many online casinos (which this is not), no funds are ever deposited with – or ever touched by Uncle Finney’s Poker. You are playing a head-to-head poker match against another player, and Uncle Finney’s Poker is simply a computer program that executes the simple card game. All players’ bets are deposited directly into an independent Ethereum smart contract which acts as a secure escrow. The contract charges a 2% escrow fee on all distributed funds, but it is independent from the Uncle Finney’s Poker app. The same open-source smart contract is being used for other 3rd party applications where a secure escrow is needed. A community of donors contributed to the creation of the smart contract, whose mission is to popularize Ether. These donors are the ones who receive 100% of this tiny escrow fee.
1) Online casinos require that you open an account with some entity, and deposit funds into the account.
2) Online casinos act as custodians of your account, usually until you close the account.
3) Online casinos take a cut out of your winnings (in head-to-head games).
4) Online casinos keep all the money that you lose (in games against the house).
5) Online casinos send you the funds from your account upon request, and sometimes charge fees along the way.
None of these apply to Uncle Finney’s Poker, in which:
1) You don’t need to open an account, or pre-deposit funds – your bets go directly to the Ethereum smart-contract
2) The contract, which lives on the blockchain, acts as the escrow for your funds for the duration of the game.
3) Uncle Finney’s Poker never touches or ever gets a piece of of any winnings.
4) All games are head-to-head: the “house” never wins! In fact, there is no “house”.
5) The smart-contract automatically sends the funds to the winner’s wallet within minutes of each game.
6) There is no corporate entity that is acting as a “casino”.
7) There is no corporate entity profiting from game play (or even using game play to help cover operating costs as a non-profit does). The escrow contract was written by Ethereum enthusiasts who want to popularize Ether. It was supported by donors (not investors or stockholders), it requires no maintenance or headquarters, and it now and forever resides and operates autonomously on the blockchain.
Uncle Finney’s Poker uses a back-end server, but only to manage the flow of the poker game without any contact with players’ funds or bets. We chose this approach in order to achieve the the high speed required of a live poker match, without being constrained by the Ethereum platform’s slow block time (albeit faster than that of other cryptocurrencies). We use a hybrid solution, wherein a back-end server adeptly manages the flow of the card game, but all the actual bets are deposited directly to – and paid out by – the smart-contract. Uncle Finney’s servers never touch the players’ funds. This marks a major departure from online casinos, which typically require players to take a leap of faith by setting up accounts and depositing funds to a sometimes “shady” casino in advance of playing. By separating the card game from the bet management, Uncle Finney’s Poker provides a responsive and fast paced game while providing the enhanced security of an Ethereum contract handling the escrow function -that is, holding the bets and then paying them out to the winner. This is a major advantage, as any hypothetical bad actors will never have access to bets or winnings, eliminating the possibility of cheating. For example, when you deposit your funds with an online casino you need to wonder: What if the casino straight-out steals my money? If I leave a lot of money in my account, what happens if the casino shuts down? What if I forget my password? Will I lose my funds if the casino is hacked? At what point will they close my account for inactivity? Besides all this, when games are against the house, the casino has an all-too-obvious incentive to cheat. None of the forgoing concerns apply to Uncle Finney’s Poker: While the card game itself is managed by a back-end server, the smart-contract ensures that the funds will be awarded to either one player or the other with no other option.
There has been a lot of speculation about making 100% provably fair games (including poker) on the Ethereum platform by completely coding the game logic in Ethereum contracts. As mentioned above, Uncle Finney’s Poker is a hybrid solution, with the front-end running on a smart-device, the game-flow managed by a back-end server, and escrow functions handled by an Ethereum smart contract.
The contract and the phone-app are open source, and have been analyzed for fairness by many eyes. However, because the back-end server is centralized, we characterize the game as “verifiably fair”, which we believe offers the very best fairness assurance available today in a digital poker game.
Before each game begins the cards are shuffled. The server then creates strings of cards representing every possible sequence that could be dealt to the players. These strings are each encrypted with their own keys, and sent to the players. After receiving the encrypted card sequences, each player has a chance to “cut the deck,” thereby selecting which sequences are at the “top of the deck.”
As the game progresses, each player records the positions of their own cards, and of the opponent’s cards (even though the actual value of the opponent’s cards is not known). At the end of the game, by knowing the positions of all the cards, each player knows which sequence-string corresponds to the dealt cards. After the game, the server sends the key to decrypt the appropriate card sequence, and the players then verify that the cards indeed match. This is why we characterize the game as verifiably fair.
Note that the back-end server provides the card sequences before the start of the game, and before each player “cuts the deck”. Thus, the back-end server does not control which player gets which cards.
All the code for this project is open-source, and many people unaffiliated with the project have reviewed the code for fairness and have played thousands of games without complaint. That being said, when you play Uncle Finney’s Poker, you do so at your own risk. Due to its nature as an Ethereum project, there is no recourse for players who believe something unfair happened. The code which handles the bets has already been written, the smart-contract exists on the blockchain, does not require (or allow for) any maintenance, and cannot be changed. There is no casino entity (we think that’s a good thing) that can pull levers behind the scenes or provide refunds or credits, and no ‘800 number’ or technical support agents standing by. Try the game for yourself with small bets, assess the fairness for yourself, and keep on playing if you like it. As with all such games, never play with funds that you can’t afford to lose.
Rules and other important information can be found on the app itself.
No, not at this time.
Just for Android smartphones and tablets at this time, including Kindle Fire.
Citizens and residents of the United States and other countries in which the use of this software might be illegal are prohibited from using Uncle Finney’s Poker. That stated, government laws regarding gambling vary widely from place to place, and there is no way for us to know how strict governments are about gambling everywhere where the game might be played. Further clouding the matter is the fact that Uncle Finney’s Poker represents a new frontier both conceptually and technologically: Players do not open accounts or deposit funds with a casino, as they would with online poker websites; There is no casino, online or otherwise. Players are dealing in very limited amounts of Ether instead of other currencies, and they are playing against each other completely independent of any online casino or other third party. For these reasons, it is solely the players’ responsibility to determine what is legal in their particular jurisdiction, and to assess the strictness of their own local regulatory and law enforcement agencies.
While the average blocktime is less than 15 seconds, in some cases blocktimes extend to over one minute. When this happens it will usually not slow down the game. This is because each player’s bet-transaction is created and signed with the player’s private key on the player’s smartphone (players never reveal their private keys to the server). The bet-transactions are delivered to the smart-contract via the back-end server, such that the pace of the game is usually not impacted by occasional long blocktimes. If any deposit is not submitted to the back-end server in time, or if any deposit fails, then the player that submitted that deposit automatically forfeits the game. At the end of the game the contract pays out all the deposited funds (minus the escrow fee charged by the contract) to the winner. In the unlikely event of some sort of server error (for example, if squirrels eat the server and the game cannot be completed), then after about 15 minutes the contract will automatically return all the deposited funds to their original sources, without taking any escrow fee.