Gimmick of the Week: Playing Poker with a Webcam

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11 February 2011, Created By: Matthew Showell
Gimmick of the Week: Playing Poker with a Webcam

The idea of playing online poker with webcams has been floating around for a long time but only recently has it been made a reality.

It seems like the most obvious way to bring the face-to-face aspect of live poker to the online game. But will it become the next innovation in online poker, or will it simply provide a public indecency opportunity of Chat-Roulette proportions?

In this week’s Gimmick we look at PokerView.com’s webcam poker.

The whole concept of webcam poker is that you MUST be online, on the webcam, to participate in the game.

There are two important ways this rule affects the online poker experience.

As a social component of the game: Players who prefer being able to see their opponents, who like to pick up reads and see the player they’re up against. Webcams add a human, albeit technologically-driven, facet to the game.

Right now PokerView does not offer audio. You can play up to eight tables at the same time and it will be interesting to see how they handle voice chat in the future.

phil laak 2
Put faces to names with webcam poker.

As a security feature: Bots don’t have faces, so it’ll be obvious if you’re up against a piece of software. Same thing goes for multi-accounting and people selling their accounts. The idea is that they’ll be able to verify who’s at the controls at all times.

The most common complaints with using webcams revolve around these same two concepts.

For one, not that many people love the social aspect of poker. In fact, many players seek refuge in online poker precisely because it’s relatively private.

Playing in your underwear, for example, doesn’t work so well in front of a webcam.

That mental image should work as a nice segue into the next potential problem on our list, people’s inherent need to take off their clothes whenever they find themselves alone in front of a webcam.

To help stave off that scenario, and ensure the integrity of the webcams, PokerView has a few simple rules.

WEBCAM ON FACE - Your face must be visible on the webcam at ALL TIMES while you are dealt in a hand. Webcams pointed at the floor, wall, body, toys, or blank screens are UNACCEPTABLE. You will be given a warning by an admin to adjust your webcam, if you don’t comply immediately your account will be suspended and possibly terminated.

ABSOLUTELY NO NUDITY - Players who transmit themselves naked will be blocked immediately and permanently banned from PokerView. NO EXCEPTIONS!

Hats – Are allowed as long as your face can be seen clearly.

Sunglasses – Are allowed.

Players who repeatedly break PokerView Webcam Rules face the risk of having their account temporarily suspended and/or permanently banned.

Making the rules is one thing but they won’t be worth much if they’re not enforced. And if this idea were to catch on it would take quite a team to monitor it, to say nothing of running the system itself.

Enforcement is especially important since the webcams are being presented as a way to verify that you’re actually playing against the person to whom the account belongs.

Honestly we find it difficult to take it too seriously as a security feature. We’re not going to lay it out here but, suffice it to say, if someone’s going to the trouble of multi-accounting or botting, they’ll be able to figure out a workaround for the webcam.

The Bottom Line

A poll was taken recently on 2p2 and one in seven players were open to the idea of granting a poker site access to their webcams. They had polled just under 700 players at the time of posting.

With those numbers in mind we do see a future for webcam poker. It will never become the norm and we don’t see it revolutionizing online poker, but it does seem there’s a potential customer base out there.

We could definitely see the major poker rooms jumping on the bandwagon and offering select webcam tables in the near future.  

Update! 888poker has introduced webcam functionality! Check out 888poker to play online poker with webcams.

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