Sunday, 4 December 2011

How I came to the conclusion is a SCAM

This is a rough draft, I just need to find time to clean it up.

I was refereed to by a friend, after having a look at the site I was surprised to find a gambling site that was purely skills based. With all gambling the odds are always stacked in faviour of the house (i.e Casino) with a purely skill based game this would allow someone to take the house for all they have.

I had a play with 3Blox and found it to be surprising easy to win (without money down). I decided that I would put some money down and see how I would go. After playing for a short while I was up 2 times my initial buy in. Everything was great... until... suddenly I just couldn't seem to win anymore. I decided to do some investigation.

As a software developer I decided to write a simple application to record a screen capture when I clicked the mouse to make sure I wasn't being cheated. I was... well at least I was fairly sure I was. The problem with recording a screen capture on a mouse click is that there is a possibility (although very slim) that the amount of time it takes to capture the screen could be long enough for the block to have moved passed the point that is was clicked. To put this in perspective running on my laptop I can capture 1000 screens in ~0.3 seconds. As I only need to capture 1 screen to be sure the probability is so small that its unrealistic and I'm almost certain 3Blox is a scam.

I decided to write a decided to modify my software to be 100% sure 3Blox was scamming me. I wrote a simple simple loop that would capture the screen calculate the location of the block and play the game for me. This gave me the ability to click the mouse at the exact moment the blocks were stacked on top of each other and then take a second screen shot after the click to make sure 100% sure it was clicked in time.


I have come to the conclusion that 3Blox is a scam, after have played myself and I had a friend play as well it appears that it would allow you to play to a level that you can win 20 pounds/dollars before something changes and it seems to constantly loose. I have emailed 3Blox and attached the replies below. If you have played 3Blox and lost money I recommend you email them requesting a full refund and report them to you can contact Consumer Direct on 08454 04 05 06

You can see from the images below a capture after the mouse (stop button) has been clicked, you will see that 3Blox has cheated and not correctly stacked the blocks up as it should have resulting the in the game being lost before the break even point.

SCREEN CAPTURES (No money bet)
You can see from the images below that without money bet there a a massive difference in the outcome of the game resulting a win every time

The software works by capturing the specific region of the screen that the blocks move in this exact region is is the grey area shown in the captures above. The area is is calculated as a fixed 380 pixels high by 190 pixels wide. To setup the capture region the top left most pixel needs to be entered into the application. To do this click the 3rd button (On) and you will see that the coordinates of the mouse pointer are written to the top left of the application. Move to the mouse to the top left of the 3Blox playing area and enter the values into the textbox's labeled "TOP (X)" and "LEFT (Y)"

For automated testing the coordinates of the 3Blox "Start/Stop" button needs to be entered this allows the application to move the mouse to this location and click when the blocks are stacked.

Manual mode records a screen capture every time the mouse is clicked this allows you to verify that you have click the mouse at the correct point to allow the block to stack correctly.

Once you have setup the application click the "Manual" button this will save a capture image of the screen region defined in the setup above to the same path that the applaction is running from. Saved captures are in in the format "Click_yyyyMMHHmmss.bmp" where yyyy is the current year, MM is the current month etc.

Auto mode will play the game for you stacking the blocks to the top. This works by monitoring the location of the blocks in real time and simulating a real mouse click when the block are correctly stacked. The application will try to stack 3 blocks to the top, if 3Blox cheats it works out how many blocks are left and continues on.

Auto mode is simple to use, once application has been correctly setup, all the user has to do is click the "Start" button on the 3Blox game, once you see the blocks start to move back and forth click the "START" button the tester, you will see that the mouse automatically moves to the "Stop" button on the 3Blox game. Make sure not to move the mouse as it needs to be on top of the button throughout the game to send the click. Auto mode also saves screen captures to the same path that the test application is running from.

I do not endorse cheating at all, the software was developed to confirm a suspicion that 3Blox was a scam. Software is provided as is and open source, all opinions are of my own.

Download (includes full source code):