London Olympic Stadium 2012
With the disappointment of not getting a Olympic style freeroll going, one’s thought turns to the idea of why online poker freerolls are such a bad idea. The main one is that players tend to be silly and go all in on rubbish hands and create bad vibes, arguments and rage. Although they are free to play, competitive and sanctimonious players, such as myself, get infuriated when we lose to mad strategy and confused to why we bother with these formats.
The other problems with freerolls is that they are usually populated with bots. When playing online poker at lower stakes it is clear that you are playing with bots and if you can think laterally you can sometimes out fox the bot or at least learn how they been configured. When playing in freeroll tournaments this is surprisingly harder to do as the people running the bots are usually trying new ways of playing. This brings me to the main argument of this post and it is this. Someone should organise a tournament solely for bots to see which bots are the best!
Now, it is a assumed that some networks run their own bots so that there are always ‘players’ registered to play in tournaments or Sit and Go’s (SnG). Clearly this would not be useful in a solely bot tournament. So the tournament should consist of bots which are developed by outside programmers to be used on several networks. This would make it easier for people like me who have not got the time or inclination to play with bots to see why we should or should not learn to use these machines.
It would also lay open the whole debate of the use of bots in online poker. Since it is clear to anyone with a modicum of sense that bots are being used, it begs the question on why online firms tolerate this. It is like the International Olympic Committee saying they are against drugs and doping but letting it happen because if they didn’t, the amount of participants would drop and the spectacle of an Olympic games diminished.
It is a battle for people such as me who like online poker but wish that it was clean of bots so that recreational players can at least have a fairer chance. Hopefully when the US get over their problem of the morals for online poker they will encourage a regulation in which the online poker networks will be discouraged from using and/or tolerating the use of bots. When the US elections are out of the way maybe the Americans can once again do their traditional role of helping to save the world – in this case the virtual world of online poker – from themselves.
Is online poker dying?
This is a serious question because it seems that there is less fun poker players playing and more live games taking precedent for the casual player. The opposing argument is that companies such as 888 are posting big profits so the game must be doing well. This maybe good for them, but, a lot of other comapnies are seeing a decline in profits.
The reason for this is that many recreational players are getting weary of online poker because of bots, scandals and silly laws in the US.
Lets deal with the US first. It seems that slowly but surely the US is inching its way to making online poker legal. It is taking ages but when the horse is screaming and kicking when being led to water then you have a problem. The US government is losing big time on easy revenue. The argument that it will lead to mass poverty due to people going nuts and losing their pension fund in cyber space may work if talking about bankers but it hold no water at all when it comes to the greatest capitalist game ever invented.
The next is scandals, which happen everywhere, it just shows up more in online poker. Yes there is the potential for a dodgy online poker firm not honouring its obligation to pay out when asked to, to go missing completely or even run a scam site in which people get ripped off chasing that bonus for depositing cash. The biggest scandal involved the US government and is still ongoing. Also the FBI raid on certain poker schools caused ripples of excitement amongst the world of online poker which will fully play itself out later in court.
Which brings me onto a very sore item after the last two – bots. After a while playing online poker it is quite clear when you are playing a bot. This can lead to the old ‘hit and run tactic’ which everyone hates but works in cash games. In tournament play it is almost impossible to play against these machines. as machines are good at grinding out results. I used to use the tactic of ‘irrational play, but even that is beginning to lose its potency. The problem of the machines will not go away.
Also another problem for online poker is what has happened to ‘Online Poker 2.0′? We seem to have got Online Poker 1.5 at the moment which is semi 3 d and anonymous poker. Not desirable but a slight improvement. If those who manage online poker, develop online poker or are entrepreneurs in online poker do not pull their fingers out I can see a new scandal finally sending the game into a death spin which would be a shame.
There is a great article in The Guardian about poker bots , and, there use with online poker. It is a very good read and very informative.
Basically poker bots are a waste of time for the punter but are a god send for the poker firms because of liquidity. I will be doing more research on this for later issues.