Thursday, May 05, 2011

How Can it Be?

Seriously. Who are these people still playing poker at any online site that still allows play for U.S. players? I mean, I am certainly no stranger to addictions, and I understand how that all works, and I guess that is a lot of what is at work here. But I mean, I've probably spent as much time playing online poker as anyone reading this over the past five years, and if anyone was going to be feeling the itch to find a way to play after the sudden and final actions of Black Friday a few weeks ago, it would probably have been me. And in fact, I've spent a good deal of time thinking about my summer plans, and other opportunities I might be able to make for myself to play some live poker, be it in New Jersey, Connecticut or otherwise. But nowhere along the way have I even spent more than a few seconds debating playing at UB or Bodog at this point -- even though they are theoretically permitting U.S.-based players to still access their servers -- nor downloading one of these smaller skins like Carbon, Cake, Titan, etc. who are still apparently open for U.S. players. And I am realllly struggling to understand what goes in to anyone out there making that decision.

Let me put it this way. Bodog has always been run by known scumbags in Calvin Ayre and friends, and with how hard it has pretty much always been to deposit into and withdraw from Bodog, playing there at this point seems like a complete waste of time. And UB is even crazier, as they are apparently allowing U.S. players to play, but will not process any withdrawals to any U.S. players, and what's more, UB continues to fail to enter into a domain name agreement with the U.S. government as have full tilt and pokerstars, so there seems to me to be a good chance that UB has no intention whatsoever of returning any of the funds in anyone's accounts on that client. And with the smaller sites, how can anybody feel any comfort whatsoever that they will ever be able to get money in to, and in particular out of, those sites, given what has happened to online poker regulation in the U.S. over the past few weeks?

I mean, I'm all for playing poker for low stakes if that's what you like, but I'll say again now what I've said since the very first time anyone ever asked me about playing poker for play money -- poker is simply not actually poker if there is absolutely nothing at stake. There's just no way to get people to play the game with 100% the same care, attention and simultaneously the same measure of caution if the player ultimately stands to lose (or gain) no real money from his or her moves and decisions. And, a corollary of this is that, if you can't actually ever get your hands on the money, then what the hell are you really playing for? The "sport"? The "fun of it"? What's the best that can happen? You win some big tournament, say it's even your biggest all-time online poker score, and then what? You already know you can't ever get that money!! So I ask again, how the hell can you be playing for "real money" at that site to begin with?

Face it, guys. I know there is a lot of desire out there, in particular among those reading this blog, to get back on the virtual felt and play some online poker. And I know a lot of you never really played for particularly high stakes to begin with. But playing at the remaining sites that still offer access to U.S.-based players in this environment is more or less the same exact thing as playing for play-money on stars or full tilt, in terms of what cash you could ever actually get out of the site. The only difference is, by playing on a place like Cake or Carbon at this point, you're putting up real money to do so in terms of deposits, while in terms of withdrawals you're still basically dealing with play money as you'll never actually see a dime. Not to mention that you're playing on a site that is subject to being shut down and taken over by the U.S. government at any time on no notice.

Given this, I think only a chump would put actual money into online poker at this point if you're coming from the United States. Is there any other reasonable conclusion?

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Blogger Josie said...

Speaking of Connecticut, I'll be at Foxwoods Sunday/Monday!

1:39 AM  
Blogger lightning36 said...

I'll take a stab at answering.

I do not like Cake, Carbon, and Bodog very much. However, I do have a small bit of money at these sites so I have played them on occasion.

I have been playing a little at UB the past week or so -- certainly more for the sport of it. The recent Cereus news means that almost certainly I will get no money from UB. The real money there is sort of like enhanced play money.

Strangely enough, I did not feel quite right playing the Sunday night BBT in Exile tourney at PokerStars. I did have a last longer bet to motivate me, but I just didn't seem that into the game.

Online poker, for me, has always been more about the competition and, in the case of blogger tournaments, the banter and the friendships.

1:46 AM  
Blogger edgie212 said...

I disagree. I've already had hassle-free deposits AND withdrawls at both Carbon and Bodog. And last I checked, I live in NY.

5:08 AM  
Blogger OhCaptain said...

I will most likely be freerolling a Ferguson bankroll. It will always just seem like other people's money any ways.

8:59 PM  

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