In Part 1 of this series I discussed three live poker fixes I would love to see implemented, if only I was living in a perfect world, and now it’s time to move on to Part 2 of this series where I’m going to tackle three thorny issues I have with the world of online poker.
I understand these changes will be abhorrent to some, but in my opinion they would greatly enhance the overall poker ecology. And again, just like in Part 1, I’m not kidding myself into thinking that these changes will ever take place, but it’s my column and if I had the power this is what I would do.
Cap the Stakes and Online
I’ve been on this crusade for a long time now and I’m happy to report I’m starting to see some results (partypoker is one major site that has capped their stakes at the $10/$20 level I believe), as more and more sites eliminate high-stakes games from their offerings –I’ll just assume it’s my yearly column on the matter that is forcing the hand of poker sites to take action and cap their stakes.
What’s my problem with nosebleed games? Aren’t they exciting?
Sure, but high stakes games cause all sorts of unintended problems, from sophisticated cheating that just wouldn’t be worth it at lower stakes (laptop hackings, high-level collusion, etc), to giving the anti-gambling crowd’s mantra of “click a mouse lose your house” some legs, considering there are online games with people buying in for $200,000.
The couple hundred fanboys that can’t wait to see the latest exploits of Dan Cates and Isildur1 probably don’t even play real-money games, so why are we trying to keep them happy? I understand there is a segment of the poker world that closely monitors these games, but the vast majority of the poker world could care less what goes on in these games.
And as for the players in these games, I’m sorry, but if you really need to play that high I’m sure you can afford a plane ticket to Vegas or Macau; the idea of people being able to lose a few million dollars from their home in a matter of hours even gives me, one the biggest online gambling advocates you’ll find, the willies.
If you absolutely must play online, you could always crossbook your action or settle up some other way between yourselves.
Can we also cut down on the number of tables players are capable of opening up at one time? I’m sorry, but if four tables aren’t enough to keep your interest than maybe you should ask your doctor about ADHD medication.
Here are 3 reasons I hate mass multi-tabling:
- Mass multi-tabling slows down the game when they time out on inconsequential tables while making decisions on tables where they have a playable hand. Even worse is when noobs try to do it.
- Mass multi-tablers are playing for rakeback, so they play super tight (generally speaking) and implement a style that without rakeback would be breakeven at best. Let’s not reward people for playing a losing style.
- Mass multi-tabling keeps people from moving up and playing higher stakes. Instead of playing four $5/$10 tables they fire up 16 $1/$2 tables.
Expose the Charlatans
You’re probably thinking I’m talking about the scammers and shady characters in the poker world, but even though their exploits could use a little sunshine shone on them, what I’m actually talking about is a different group of snake oil salesman: poker players masquerading as thriving pros.
It’s time to invoke the “Nuclear Option” on sponsored pros.
Sponsoring players was a viable business model when poker was popular with the general public, and casual viewers were tuning in to watch the WPT on Travel Channel or the WSOP on ESPN, when seeing patches for a site might pique their interest. But in 2014 it’s an utter waste of money, and allows this vicious cycle of putting a huge emphasis on live tournament results to continue, where we reward players simply for a big win or a single good year, whether they were actually profitable or not.
So why are sponsorships so bad it made my list? Basically we are turning these people into the face of poker and many of them are broke, struggling, or unscrupulous, and sooner or later it all comes to light and poker gets another black eye; a self-inflicted black eye because we are the ones who prop these people up after a good season or two!
Furthermore, it also aids them in getting staked (usually at a higher markup than they deserve) or selling a book or themselves as a coach.
There are a couple of dozen players who probably deserve sponsorships; who have the longevity, the results, and the personality to act as a representative for poker. Most of the rest of these people are simply untested players who’ve made a couple big scores.
*this is 99% directed at live tournament players, not people like PokerStars Team Online*
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