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I own a small tech firm and we have been approached by a team of professional online poker players. They want us to build a real time assistance software that helps them play poker.

It works by getting the information from the poker tables and using this information to interact with a third party software API, which tells you how to optimally play a poker hand after you input the hand details. Such query would return a strategy, or way to play the hand.

I see two problems with this:

  1. These kind of software is prohibited by poker sites. In their terms and conditions they clearly state that players using software like this will be banned and have their funds confiscated. (e.g. https://www.pokerstars.com/poker/room/prohibited/).

  2. While the information we are extracting for the table is public, the best ways to extract this information is by intercepting information from the poker site servers to the poker site client software and decrypting it. We would be using the software in a way in which it was not meant to be used (and which they might prohibit in their terms and conditions).

Is it any different if we sell the software to any poker player (openly, through a website and everything) than if we make a customized solution for the people who approached us?

The players that approached us are Russian and Ukranian, our company is located in Austria.

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At first blush: legal for you to write it, not legal for them to use it. Your software is applicable to any poker game. They are using it where it is not allowed.

However, things get ugly if you are targeting this for online poker rooms which generally outlaw it; e.g. If you add any code designed to harvest data from a website which has prohibited it.

The poker room vs you: They may be able to argue tortious interference, lwhich means you ae interfering with the contract/relationship between the poke room and its customer. This is a complicated and difficult tort to make stick. However, you should also look at Blizzard Entertainment's battles against bot companies - WoWGlider, and the Diablo bot mentioned here.

The customer vs you: If they get caught and lose their money -- and it is common for people to get caught, and the likelihood of them getting caught is high, and this is something you knew or reasonably should have known... Then you can be liable for failing to adequately warn them of their chances of getting caught.

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