The Insiders: Marcel Luske Discusses New Plans for Poker Tournament Security
Everyone knows Marcel Luske as one of the Netherlands' most prominent players. The man known as the "Flying Dutchman" in is the country’s all-time money winner with more than $4.3 million in lifetime earnings. What most people don’t know is that Luske is also a major figure in the gaming industry, and that’s why we decided to feature him in the latest installment of The Insiders.
Earlier this month, Bilcare Technologies, a research and technology leader focused on creating next-generation anti-counterfeiting, security and brand protection solutions, announced that it had signed an exploratory “teaming agreement” with Global Poker Support International, a company founded by Luske.
The collaboration will see Bilcare Technologies extend its expertise beyond traditional industry partnerships of pharmaceutical and healthcare; the two companies will work together to develop a purpose-built nonClonableID™ tailored primarily to the unique requirements of the growing world of international poker events, and with clear application to other areas of gaming.
“We are excited for our stakeholders to enter into an exploratory teaming agreement with Global Poker Support International,” said Rahul Bharadia, executive director for Bilcare Technologies. “It further reiterates that our patent protected nonClonableID™ can also offer next generation security to a multi - billion dollar gaming industry.”
The teaming agreement with Global Poker Support International is key to the joint venture, using its complementary resources to meet the diverse needs of real-time security and identity-authentication within the poker and gaming arenas. Luske has forged a world-class team of technical and legal advisors to assist his goal of providing innovative, impregnable, and secure registration systems to poker and other formats of gaming events.
PokerNews recently spoke with Luske about the teaming agreement, his legal team, and about being a leader in the poker industry not only as a player but also as an insider.
PokerNews: Can you tell us a little about the Global Poker Support International and what inspired you to found it?
Luske: Global Poker Support International has been set up to reach out to the poker industry on a global level, from a country that welcomes gaming and entertainment. Poker is a special game that has been stuck between a rock and a hard place for a long time, especially in the Netherlands where I am from.
I made up my mind many years ago to support and educate others about this game I love. So, I have made it my mission to promote to others the experience of playing poker for entertainment and enjoyment, while trying to be the best ambassador to poker and playing well - that is my ultimate challenge.
I started with the concept of FIDPA and creating the International Poker Rules (“IP Rules”) with the goal of making them the fairest and most consistent set of rules available, which I feel we have achieved.
But Global Poker Support International has bigger plans, and now operates with the worlds’ best organizers, casinos, card rooms, alongside PokerStars and PokerNews.com, the biggest and best out there. The work that we’re doing under the Global Poker Support International banner actually secures a much better future for the entire industry.
In terms of changing the landscape of poker, and taking it to the next level, we share a mindset and knowledge as well as the experience of many years with Bilcare Technologies to create a tool that will ensure watertight security for the entire poker community - players and organizers. This in turn increases transparency and guarantees a safe poker environment, which both players and event organizers are looking for.
Our partnership with Bilcare Technologies will make player registration faster and easier, authenticate a player’s identity at the point of entering a tournament, and again at the table when a player takes a seat. It will also secure the chips in play, avoiding counterfeit situations or theft, and make people feel secure at all times. It’s non-Clonable, so if you lose it you don’t have to worry about someone else that may have stolen or found it, abusing it, because that’s just not possible.
The new registration system we are working towards safeguards the security of all in poker, and the many benefits of it will translate well to many other areas of the gaming industry will gain tremendously from this.
How did this “teaming agreement” come about? Who approached whom? How did it originate?
Paul Dransfield, one of my directors, had knowledge of Bilcare's non ClonableID™ technology and opened up communication through Dr. Adrian Burden, the inventor of it. Discussions were successful, with both parties able to see great mutual benefits from working together. Bilcare is pleased to be introducing their award winning technology into new industries; they currently provide nonClonableID™ to the leading global pharmaceutical companies and auto car part manufacturers for the Japanese market.
Bilcare’s NonClonableID™ enables products to be authenticated. How will this translate into the poker world?
There are several ways actually. For example, one way the technology can be incorporated is to attach the nonClonableID™ nano-size tags to either poker chips or the cards themselves. We also intend to implement nonClonableID™ nano tags to a hybrid media and registration electronic device. Once attached, the nonClonableID™ nano tags cannot even be replicated by Bilcare themselves, taking the security to a completely new level.
Why do you feel it’s essential to provide impregnable and secure registration systems to poker and other formats of gaming events? What are the dangers you’re trying to combat?
The poker world, including the players and officials, are fully aware of what recently happened in the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open $2 Million Guarantee, which hit headlines last month when it was suspended and ultimately cancelled, after staff discovered counterfeit chips in play.
The counterfeit chips compromised the fairness and integrity of the tournament, and that’s why it had to be cancelled. The industry can do without these things from happening and will be able to avoid future re-occurrence of this kind of cheating with nonClonableID™ nano tags in the chips themselves. This will guarantee 100% safety for all involved – both players and organizers.
Of course, this is not the only time things like this have happened, and will continue to occur unless the poker industry steps up its security systems. The amount of money that is involved on a daily basis attracts all sorts of people, including the shady ones that are trying to outsmart the existing systems in place.
We need to be ahead of the game and protect the players and organizers to the best of our ability, so we can close any possible loophole, and learn from mistakes of being outsmarted and sometimes out-tricked in the past.
We also feel the registration systems in most live events need to be much more streamlined in relation to reducing the overall time it takes each a player to physically register for each event.
When, where, and by who do you expect the secure registration systems that result from this “teaming agreement” to be used?
The new nonClonableID™ will be used as soon as we can successfully integrate our technology into the current registration formats. We envisage opening up discussions with most of the leading poker event organizers, casinos, clubs, and any gaming organization that needs a transparent secure registration system. Our collaboration with Bilcare will produce a more sophisticated, more cost-effective and user-friendly mode of registering players that will appeal to venues that have been looking for a more efficient and quicker way of moving players through an event. It will also provide real-time information, so that all participants receive consistent and timely updates at all times, and can check their up-to-the-minute status within an event, as well as enjoy its many other features, making it a very versatile tool, that will even lend itself perfectly to unique events.
The time we will take to be on the market is expected to be six months. But they may be short or long months depending on some important issues that needs to be worked through prior to the eventual presentation of the prototype tool.
You’ve forged a world-class team of technical and legal advisers. Can you tell us a little about them?
Yes we have the pleasure of working closely with Dr. Adrian Burden who has a MA in Natural Sciences from the University of Cambridge and a DPhil in Material Sciences from the University of Oxford for which he won the International Pergamum Carbon Journal for best thesis in the field of Carbon Science. His many accolades include winning the Red Herring 100 Asia Award, ZDNet Asia Breakthrough Award, the Frost & Sullivan Innovation Award, A-Star Scientist Entrepreneur Award, and the JEMI UK prize for high technology entrepreneurship 2010. Adrian is our technical director and is currently Scientific Editor of the Royal Microscopically Society, the principal consultant at VorteQ Consulting, and local champion for the Start Up Britain's campaign at Malvern.
Our legal representative is Tobi Mathews. He was admitted as an English Solicitor in 1987, and has practiced in the offshore international transaction-structuring environment since 1988. A founding partner of Lovell Jackson Mathews which subsequently became Channel House Trustees Limited (now Capita Trustees Limited) Tobi is now providing his specialist knowledge and expertise in structuring and management in connection aviation, shipping, intellectual property matters and private equity and hedge funds through his own consultancy company, Lateral 4T Limited. Tobi provides his consultancy services to numerous aircraft manufacturers, aircraft managers, trust companies, banks and investment managers, and is affiliated with and a non-executive director of Bond Trust Limited.
Paul Dransfield is our business development manager. He has a vast knowledge of the gaming industry, co-founded Devilfish Poker, and took this company public. Paul also founded Innovate Pro plc and Brice Media plc. He is currently studying for his MA in Leading Innovation and Change at the Robert Kennedy College Zurich and York St James University.
A little off topic, but the “first card off the deck” caused quite the debate in the poker world last year. As the creator of FIDPA’s International Poker Rules, what are your thoughts on it?
This is very tricky, because the rule “first card of the deck" has been in the minds of the many who have been trying to improve the rules internationally for a long time, and has only just been brought into effect by the TDA.
The TDA has started doing a better job lately, I agree. Yet, they are still focused on the needs of Tournament Directors, despite making all the right noise about wanting player input, while quietly trying to hold their ground as the Tournament Directors Association. It’s important to note that because of the speed with which the poker market is growing, the demand for good tournament directors was, and still is a problem.
Lack of real knowledge of the game and its rules, along with the many various forms of different games that are out there, combined with the fact that dealers are being employed from all over the globe armed only with their own local poker rules, means that the international tournament scene really is a mess. Any visiting foreigner will have a problem to find out what rules are in play at any given tournament, unless these rules are clearly shown upfront to players, as well as instructing the newly recruited staff to make sure they all play by the same rules.
In my opinion, the “first card off the deck” is a great rule, because if players know that this is the rule upfront, it should stop them from running around and jeopardizing the integrity and fairness of the game. An efficient and enjoyable event needs rules that help it to be organized. I have never seen any soccer/football player walking in and out of the field when and however it suits him.
In a nutshell, it’s a great rule, so get used to it! No one player can now come from behind, grab his hand and raise you after seeing your hole cards - whether intentionally or by mistake. This is a good thing.
Can you talk a little bit about yourself as a poker player? Are you playing much these days?
I am still a sponsored poker ambassador for PokerStars, and obviously I play online some, as well as represent in live events for them. I also attend some events by invitation, such as the recent Tangier Millionaire Maker event in Morocco, or the Dusk Till Dawn events in Nottingham – both are run by longtime friends of mine and FIDPA Endorsed Members currently running their events with IP Rules.
Additionally, I always travel to play the WSOP, and I may do the PokerStars’ Macau event again this year; it’s a great tournament. I love Las Vegas and the Monte Carlo Final EPT.
Outside of poker, I try to enjoy a bit of privacy, some family time, and love supporting my son at his live performances; he’s in a band called The Waterside. That’s fun for me.