Rant: Let's Get Real About Online Poker Hearts and Minds

Screen Shot 2014 05 09 at 3.01.04 PM
Let's get real about getting trust back.

Do recreational poker players think their money is safe when they play online poker?

I don’t think that a lot of them do.

During a recent card game in a Welsh casino I had the opportunity to play some poker with poker pro Roberto Romanello’s father. He’s a lovely man who is the salt of the earth.

I could see where young Robbie got his gambling gene as his father was multi-tabling his live tournament with a spot of online action.

“I used to play online poker but not anymore. It’s fixed. There’s no way that I can lose as many times as I have with aces,” came one comment from across the table.

“You can’t trust your money in these sites anymore,” came another voice.

This worrying experience isn’t an isolated one. I hear this shit all the time, and we should worry about it because where are we going to get more recreational online poker players from if we can’t get them from our local live card rooms?

Can We Blame Them?

Online Poker from Paddy Power Poker Mozilla Firefox 4222011 105046 AM
Paddy Power security breach doesn't help.

But can we blame them for their pessimistic attitude?

I love everything about Paddy Power. I like doing business with them because they make me laugh.

They are a member of gambling’s version of the Inbetweeners. This pally-pally approach that they have makes me want to trust them. It’s how they get my business.

However the Irish funsters have just come clean on a data security breach that has led to 649,055 of their customers having some of their personal details stolen. I'm not sure how much I trust them anymore.

Paddy Power is one in a string of online debacles that has led to this lack of trust. Think Ultimate Bet (UB) and Full Tilt Poker (FTP) and that should be enough to convince anyone that playing online poker is akin to jumping into a bathtub full of piranhas.

But let’s get real here. I am one of those Paddy Power customers who has just had his personal data stolen. As far as I am aware, my identity still remains intact.

My bank balance is still zero, my credit cards have not been activated and I never had any money in my Paddy Power account anyway.

More Woodman than Jungleman

What made me laugh about the comments flying over the top of Roberto Romanello’s father?

daniel cates 3
Until you're playing Jungleman-sized pots, security isn't a worry.

The people voicing their opinion were more likely to get followed out of the casino, cracked over the head with a bunch of leeks and robbed than they would to be victimized by any outlandish Trojan horse story.

As far as rigging the software goes?

I can understand the concerns after the UB scandal, but do you really think that PokerStars has rigged its software so it can steal a few $10 pots off you?


You’re more Woodman than Jungleman, and until your pots reach the same size as the man who doesn’t know the way to San Jose then what the fuck are you worrying about?

They might steal your money? What have you got money in your account for anyway?

Treat your account like a good shag. Put it in, play with it and then withdraw it as quickly as you can.

Spend Some Money on Hearts and Minds

Why not enjoy a spot of multi-tabling?

This is not a rant directed at professional grinders. It’s directed at people who think their $50 is going to get stolen by online pirates. Recreational players who need help to allay their fears.

Are online poker sites doing a good job assuaging the rec player's fears in this department? It seems not.

If they were then I wouldn’t be meeting these doubters with such regularity.

Online poker sites should spend more time explaining how its algorithms work.

How is random random, for example? Spend some money on a hearts-and-minds campaign. Make people trust your brand again.

It cuts both ways. Players need to be sensible when managing their money. Unless you're playing at uber high stakes then what’s the point of keeping your money on the site anyway?

Getting money on and off sites has never been easier, so take advantage of it. Invest a few bucks, play with it and when you're done withdraw it.

Then you too could enjoy a spot of multi-tabling just like Roberto Romanello’s Dad.

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Jimmy 2014-08-12 09:51:27

I think the fear from online comes from when playing live and say we're a marginal winning player - online - you will get creamed. I think multi-tabling and poker software give the pros a huge advantage over rec players.

Collusion - I think it's somewhat prevalent with the younger crowd out there - staying away from each other and preying on the rec player. How many rec players want to invest the time - if they don't - not going to last long.

This is my experience:

Paradise poker - if I could back and review hand history - it would have been a remarkable find - I never got paid off with the goods and got creamed.

Planet Poker - was by far the most reputable site I played on - it seemed to run out totally different than he Paradise - great customer service and nice rakeback - they proved their mettle by getting out when the government told them to leave.

Eurolinx - total fraud - the story is documented

Fulltilt/Pstars - again I think you have to take it extremely serious even at micro stakes. Of course the Full Tilt story
is a horrible story and the amount of $$ that went to the small circle of pros with stipends was sick.

So if you add all that up - I'm a 50 year old player - been playing for 30 years , played in the WSOP, travel to Vegas, love the game and I don't play online - I think the reality is - I don't think I can beat it unless I invest a crazy amount of time and effort and even then - I would not have any gurantees to be a winning player or even break close to even.

I don't think I'm the exception.

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