Forum Archive : Cheating

Taking advantage of computer players

From:   Matthew J. Reklaitis
Date:   21 July 1997
Subject:   Re: droppers & other jerks


It's my opinion that the names of these players shouldn't be posted.  I
don't think it follows that someone who drops against a computer is
someone who will drop against a human opponent, and it would be unfair
to label a person that way.

As the author of MonteCarlo, I've experienced a number of incidents of
peope trying to abuse the ratings.  There are several ways of doing

1.  Dropping when you are about to lose.  This method isn't very
effective because you should only be able to get away with it once.  The
computer player should know not to start a new match when there is a
saved one.  To enforce this, MonteCarlo refuses to issue a 'join'
command when there is a saved match.  Even when a player invites
MonteCarlo to resume an old match, MonteCarlo responds by inviting that
player to resume, forcing them to issue the 'join' command.  This
prevents the user from tricking the computer player into starting a new
match by quickly issuing 2 commands, the first an invitation to resume,
the second an invitation to start a new match.  The way this works is
that the computer player sees the invitation to resume and then sends
the 'join' command, but if the invitation for a new match is sent at the
right time, then FIBS will apply the join to the new match request.

2.  Getting a computer player that only knows how to play 1 pointers to
play a longer match.  This is accomplished using the same trick as
above.  Quickly issue 2 commands, the first an invitation to a 1 point
match, the second an invitaion to a longer match.  If the timing is
right, you will start a longer match, and then you are almost quaranteed
of winning by using the cube.  A 1 point player always accepts a double,
so playing a longer match gives you a huge advantage.  MonteCarlo
prevents this by immediately leaving the match if the matchlength is not
1.  Players trying this on MonteCarlo will find that they will not be
able to play MonteCarlo until their multi-point match is finally deleted
(seems like a fair punishment).

3. Using 2 accounts.  The idea here is to use one account to lose games
against the computer (causing the computer's rating to increase) and
then use a second account to gain some rating by playing a now overrated
player.  This method isn't very efficient, and isnt always effective.
Its similar to just using 2 accounts to play against yourself, with the
benefit that its not as obvious that you are doing it, except it takes
much longer to increase your rating.

I also see alot of people playing extreme back games against the
computer because MonteCarlo does not handle those positions well at
all.  These are easy points for the player, but they have to spend a
long time to get them since back games take a long time to play.  So if
it matters that much to you to get the points, there's nothing stopping

It really is surprising the number of saved matches MonteCarlo has
accumulated, but there's really not much to be done about it, and I dont
think it matters that much.  MonteCarlo plays enough games that the
points it loses from someone dropping don't have an effect for very
long.  The things I worry about are situations where a player can
continually effect a change in the ratings, and dropping doesnt work
because you can only do it once.

---Matt Reklaitis
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Advantages of online play  (Donald Kahn, Nov 1999) 
Avoiding loaded dice  (Gregg Cattanach, June 2000) 
Collusion in Monte Carlo  (Kit Woolsey, Aug 1995)  [Recommended reading]
Dealing with live-play cheating  (Gregg Cattanach+, May 2006) 
Dice magicians  (Paul Weaver, July 2010) 
Dice manipulation  (Paul Epstein, Nov 2005) 
Dice manipulation  (Kit Woolsey, Jan 1995)  [Recommended reading]
Gamesmanship vs. cheating  (Albert Steg+, May 1994) 
How to tell when somebody's cheating  (Michael Halpenny+, Feb 2001) 
How to tell you're playing a computer  (Douglas Zare, Dec 2003) 
Premature roll and late pick-up  (Ian Shaw, Feb 2002) 
Taking advantage of computer players  (Matthew J. Reklaitis, July 1997) 
Using computer to aid online play  (Paul Weaver, July 2006) 
Using computer to aid online play  (Ken Arnold+, Mar 2006) 
Using computer to aid online play  (Patti Beadles+, Jan 2003) 
With a baffle box  (Joe Russell, Aug 2009) 

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