Wednesday, November 23, 2005


Daniel and I are playing at our weekly no limit game in Atlanta, and the fish are biting. I won my first hand on a bluff, and Daniel racked up a bunch of chips with a set of Queens, pocket K and AK vs. two all-in short stacks. We're both sitting pretty.

Then this guy I call the Unabomber says he wants to play Ace-Three-Five for $100. Ace-Three-Five is a funny prop bet where one person bets that an Ace, Three or Five will come on the flop. It's a sucker's bet because the odds are in favor of at least one of those cards falling. I need to do the math, but I think it's somewhere over 60 percent in favor of the person who bets on the Ace-Three-Five.

"I'll take that bet, if I can take the Ace, Three and Five," I said. The bet is on, and a beautiful three comes on the flop. I collect my $100.

Daniel and I are talking about the changes in the online poker world. Eurobet was about to switch from the Party Poker network to the Poker Room network. They've offered a 100 percent up to $600 sign-up bonus, which I don't think I'll be able to pass up even though I hate the Poker Room software. I also mention that I heard Party Poker would be releasing a new platform sometime after the new year.

This dude to my right pipes up and says he had heard about that, and that the reason for the new platform is that too many people had hacked into Party Poker's card generating engine. Umm ... I don't think so. Sure, it's possible. But I haven't heard of Party being hacked like that, and if there were even a rumor of something like that happening, I would have heard about the controversy. It's much more likely that Party Poker, the largest online site, is finally getting around to making some much-needed upgrades (although I absolutely love the current format, in all its year 2001-esque simplicity).

I kept my mouth shut. Let the fish believe that online poker is rigged if they want.

Then the dealer, who's nice but always tells questionable tidbits about the poker world, mentions that $10/$20 limit is the main game of her friends in Vegas. She said they make $5,000 a week by sitting 40 hours in the casinos.

This time I had to say something. "I don't think they make $5,000 a week at $10/$20," I said. Let's see: that's $125 an hour, or about six big bets per hour. In other words, it's completely impossible for anyone to win at that clip. Either the dealer's friends are lying to her, or she's lying to me.

Whatever. I think she was sincere, and if she can't figure out that she's passing on a falsehood, then that's her loss. It's also the loss of everyone else at the table who believes her. What can I do but disagree and then smile when she reiterates the validity of her point?

There's a lot of bad information out there, and perhaps the ability to separate the truth from rumor is what contributes to the making of a solid poker player.


kurokitty said...

Yeah. I heard something also in the urban legend category last week at the Excalibur. One of the dealers swears that the PartyPoker programmers play using laptops that can tell what everybody's cards are. He also mentioned that most of them live in Las Vegas, which seems unlikely because the servers are based overseas.
I said it was unlikely (tap, tap, tap) but even if it was, there are 70,000 people playing that site. It's like the convoy system in World War II. They can't get everybody. Plus there's too much at stake for them to do this -- if you can make tons of money without clicking a mouse, why do anything else?
It's like invoking the boogeyman to explain why Rover died. Things just happen -- that's variance -- especially when you're a bad player trying to warp the laws of pot odds and equity on every street.

Victor_Enriq said...

If fish are unable to differ truth from rumour is a bad thing for the poker world. Specially about the "rigged" rumour.

"Collusion is a possibility" Barry Greenstein says about online poker in "Ace on the river"

I quote again:

"if you play on the internet and are never able to get away with a bluff against certain opponents, you may wonder if they have software enabling them to see your hands". In the book he also refers to the possibilities of multiple accounts.

In spanish we have a saying i dont know its exact translation to your language: "si el rio suena es porque piedras trae". I think its goes something like "if the river sounds, its because stones are within its flow"

I do think its a possibility, I dont think its being done all that often.

If so, what game is in danger?
IMO, NLHE gives much more opportunities to get away with such a thing. Which limits? Definitely not the highest. The middle limits (stakes for NL) give enough of population and EV to get away with it.

Again in my humnble opinion, as long as its profitable, its playable, regardless if you are being cheated or not.

Mark said...

Cheating (especially collusion) is certainly a possibility at any poker game, live or online. But I find it unlikely that Party Poker was hacked in this manner and that's the reasoning for their new platform.

Victor_Enriq said...

I agree. Not even close.
I guess that The Beatles said it best:

"Now give me money (that's what I want)
That's what I want (that's what I want)"

The reason is money, money, money.