New Online Poker Hall of Fame OPHOF.ORG – Legit or Scam?

ophof - online poker hall of fameA recently launched website that invites visitors to vote for nominees for an Online Poker Hall of Fame has been questioned about its legitimacy. Readers are advised not to register to vote yet and, if you already have, be careful about clicking links in emails or social media posts received from ophof.org.

Recently we became aware of a website (ophof.org) that invites visitors to vote for a selection of online poker players for inclusion in an Online Poker Hall of Fame. The website has no information about who is behind the project, as the “About Us” page only carries the logos of PokerNews, PocketFives, WSOP.com, CardPlayer, the Global Poker Index and PokerProLabs – implying these sites are involved.

Immediately we had suspicions about this website inasmuch as, if the Global Poker Index was involved, we would have heard about it through Alex Dreyfus´ social media channels. Although there is a small thread about ophof.org in the PocketFives forum, news about the Online Poker Hall of Fame appears nowhere else on the PokerNews, PocketFives, WSOP, CardPlayer or PokerProLabs websites.

We´re Not the Only Ones with Concerns

As well as the “About Us” page lacking information, the “How it Works” and “Virtual OPHOF” pages are “Coming Soon”. The “Contact Us” page consist of an anonymous web form, which – according to Twitter user Billy “TheAle8Kid” Benningfield – doesn´t even work. Other Twitter users have also been less than impressed with the website and the possible motives behind it:

So, is the new Online Poker Hall of Fame legit or a scam? We did a WHOIS lookup to find out who owned the site and, despite the registration details being about as sparse as the website itself, we traced it back to Poker Players International – a player management agency with strong affiliate links to the Asian-facing poker site GGPoker. Unfortunately, further digging around was inconclusive.

ophof.org Whois - contact info

Has the OPHOF Never Heard of GDPR?

Unusually, visitors who want to vote for their favourite players have to create an account using an email address and an auto-generated password, or have to sign in via their Twitter, Facebook or Google+ accounts. We have nominated players for the WSOP.com Poker Hall of Fame previously, and have never had to create an account. You simply provide an email address to prevent multiple nominations.

For the purposes of this article, we started the account creation process using a “spare” email address. Once you enter an email address, you are sent a reply email (which got caught by our spam filter) inviting you to click on a link to set your password. Despite our concerns about possible malware downloads, we followed the next step of the process and landed on a page showing a very strong auto-generated password. This is the point at which we felt we had taken enough chances and pulled out.

We also investigated the Twitter, Facebook and Google+ sign in processes, and these seem to give a significant number of permissions to ophof.org – for example on Twitter, ophof.org will be able to:

  • Read Tweets from your timeline.
  • See who you follow, and follow new people.
  • Update your profile.
  • Post Tweets for you.

Just in case we had overlooked it, we did a search for the OPHOF privacy policy. There isn´t one. There is no information about what your data is collected for, how it is used or with whom it is shared. If you have played online poker since the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation in May, you will have been inundated with pop-ups informing you to review and accept a new privacy policy. In fact, if you have been on the Internet at all since May you have probably experienced annoying pop-ups whatever site you have visited. It doesn´t happen when you visit ophof.org.

Too Spooky to be Trusted in its Current State

It may be the case that the Online Poker Hall of Fame is a project under development and that we may hear more about from official channels in the future. In which case it may be perfectly legit. However, we are no online data security experts, but there are too many spooky things going on for us to trust this website in its current state.

Readers are invited to conduct their own investigations and decide for themselves whether ophof.org has been set up as a data collecting and email harvesting site as suggested above, or whether it is a legitimate site. As ever, be careful with the information you share with any website and take appropriate online security precautions – especially when visiting ophof.org!