Sunday, September 22, 2013

Gambling and Scamming - Part 2

I apologize it took so long to finish this article. GTA V came out and, well, you know how that goes.

Last time we talked about scams that people run in EVE. This time we're going to talk about legit gambling websites that are run by members of the EVE community. ISK-gambling sites have a lot in common with their real-money counterparts. Since I live in the US, I'm not legally allowed to use those sites, but

One thing the legit gambling websites have in common is they use an in-game corporation to transfer ISK to and from your character to their site. You send ISK to the corporation, then a person or an API read transfers the credit into your account on the site. Later, after you've won, you cashout on the site and the same corporation transfers the money into your wallet.

There are people who believe these sites are a scam. I don't have any information that definitively proves that they're *not* scams, but based on my experiences using them, I'm pretty sure they're legit. They operate like casinos; they use a mathematical edge to generate a profit. I guess if you think playing Blackjack or slot machines in a casino are a "scam," then you would call these sites a scam

EVE Bet is a sports betting website. You can bet on Football, Baseball, Soccer, etc. They use other bookmaking sites to set their odds and just like real-life sports betting, those odds are set when you make your bet, despite the line on the game changing. I've put a but of ISK onto EVE Bet but I'm not really a sports betting kind of guy, so I don't really do much with it. I'll put a million here or there on a game, if I'm feeling lucky.

EOH Poker is a website devoted to playing poker with ISK. It operates on the same principle as every other poker site on the internet such as PokerStars or Full Tilt. They have ring games where ISK is converted to tokens (one token is 100,000 ISK) and they have tournaments you buy into by giving ISK in-game to a "banker" who starts the tournament and pays out the winners. This is my favorite gambling site because the players are mostly bad and I've won several hundred million ISK on the site with limited playtime.

Evealopalous has raffles and lotteries. Eveopolous has a low ISK barrier for entry (tickets to raffles and lotteries only cost 10k ISK. They also have a section called the grid where you purchase squares on a grid that contain money, squares to more expensive grids, or nothing. Once all the prizes are gone on the grid (multiple people can buy tickets on the same grid) it resets and pays all the winners out.

Somer Blink is a lottery site that has instant lotteries (called blinks) on ships and high-ticket items. Blink is probably the most addictive site of the bunch. A blink works thusly: Someone starts a blink by choosing the item they want to play for and buying the first ticket. Most blinks have either eight or sixteen tickets. Once all the tickets are sold, a number is drawn and a winner is chosen. Items can either be converted into Blink credit or contracted to you in Jita. Blink is incredibly well-run, credit is added to your account almost instantly and prizes are contracted within a few minutes. You also have the option of having larger items shipped to any highsec system for free.

Go ahead and check them out, they're a lot of fun. Play responsibly!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Gambling and Scamming - Part 1

Anyone who knows me knows I enjoy gambling. I've worked as a poker dealer off and on for a few years including dealing at the prestigious World Series of Poker in Las Vegas. I've gambled in casinos all over the country since I turned 21. I've paid my fair share of idiot tax by buying more scratch-offs and lottery tickets than I'd like to admit. One of the many reasons EVE is such an appealing game to me is its ties to gambling. I'm not just referring to the gambling EVE sites, I'm talking about the game itself. Every time you undock your ship it's a gamble that you're going to lose it, especially if you're a noob like myself.

This is the first part of two posts I'll be writing on the subject of scamming and gambling in EVE. The first part will be about scams and the second part will be about legitimate ISK gambling websites.

Unlike most MMOs, scamming is legal in EVE. This means if you can con someone into giving you ISK, it's yours to do with as you wish. The exploits of scammers are known even outside the game. The scammer in that article would have gotten away with it had he not decided to try to convert the stolen ISK into real-world currency, a definite violation of CCP's rules. One of the most popular scams is a technique called "ISK Doubling."

ISK Doublers can be found in all of the major trade hubs. Jita is the biggest and therefore has the most doublers. It's a lot like Mos Eisley on Tatooine. You won't find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. Basically, ISK doubling works like this. A doubler advertises their "services" with an ad.
Joeblow Doubler: I've made billions of ISK through trading and I want to help everyone! I'm quitting the game and I have lots of ISK to give away. Send me one of the following amounts and I'll send you double your money back in return!
10mil -100mil = 2x, 200mil-300mil = 3x 500-1000mil = 4x! Read my bio for more rules and information.
So how does the doubler get you? First of all, they put rules in their bio that a person could easily screw up. "Any amount not listed will be considered a donation." "Each character must be at least two weeks old." "Each character can only send ISK three times." "Each amount must be double the previous amount sent." "Check out my wallet API and you can see it's legit!" The list goes on and on.

Oftentimes, a doubler will actually double small amounts. I've sent 1mil ISK to a person claiming to triple ISK and they sent 3mil back to me. However, once a person sends them an amount they decide is high enough, they won't send any more back and just keep the money. I've noticed a lot of doublers are very recently made characters. I'm sure they run the scam for a few days then delete the character and start over.

One of the most infamous doublers goes by the name Erotica 1. Many posts have been made on the EVE-O Forums and elsewhere complaining about her deeds, however she has a small army of loyal followers who jump into any thread defending her as a legit businesswoman. Erotica 1 is also a supporter of the New Order and many of her exploits are chronicled there.

Anyone with half a brain should be able to tell that doubling is a complete and total scam, and yet it appears that lots of people fall for it all the time. If people didn't fall for it then there wouldn't be so many doublers hanging out in Jita. If the doubler was really doing what they said, they'd run out of ISK rather quickly. Remember, if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

There are several other popular scams out there other than doubling that everyone should be wary of.

  • Setting up an overpriced sell order for a item then setting up a buy order for the item at a higher price in a different station. When the person buys the item, the scammer immediately cancels the buy order leaving the victim with an item they have to sell at a loss to get any money back.
  • Posting a buy contract stating they want to buy something like two PLEX for 1.2 billion ISK, which is a good price to be paying for two PLEX. However, the actual contract only gives 1.2 million ISK. Even though the word "million" appears in the contract and not "billion" a person in a hurry could easily make the mistake of accepting one of these contracts.
  • This scam is the opposite of the previous one. A person says they're selling a ship (a Republic Fleet Firetail is the most common one I see) for only 1 million ISK. They then link three contracts. The first two are completed contracts showing a Firetail was indeed sold for 1 million ISK. The last contract linked is selling the Firetail for 1 billion ISK. Once again, this scam preys on a person being in a hurry and acting quickly.
  • Setting up a contract claiming to sell a ship with all of its modules for a specific fit included in the contract, however the contract only contains the modules and not the ship itself.
  • Selling an item with a similar name to a more expensive item. My favorite example of this is when CCP released a new battlecruiser known as a Gnosis. People were selling one unit of the ore Gneiss and saying the contract was for a Gnosis. In case you didn't know, a unit of Gneiss is worth a hell of a lot less than a Gnosis.
There are many other scams out there. Listing all of them is out of the scope of this post However, there are a few simple things you can do to help protect yourself against scamming.
  • Never send someone you don't know any money
  • Avoid contracts as much as possible, use the market instead.
  • Use a legit market aggregator to check prices. I like
Next up I'll be talking about the legit EVE gambling sites that exist.