|Keep on squeezin', my brother!|
With all of the proposed solutions to solving the, ahem, "problem" of the predatory nature of poker, one tiny, but not completely insignificant improvement that I have not seen mentioned is to target the "Player Search" feature found within most poker clients. As far as I can tell, this feature is just a relic from the pre-Boom days when players actually considered online poker to be a fun pastime and would choose to sit and play with their friends, had fun and meaningful chat, and said quaint things like "nh" without the slightest hint of sarcasm.
Yet what purpose does this serve in the modern game? Virtually all serious players eliminate themselves from the search by ticking a box within the settings. Since the pros are doing this, and yet a certain portion of the recreational players aren't, it only makes sense that either:
1) Hiding yourself from the search conveys some kind of advantage.
2) Not hiding yourself from search puts you at a disadvantage.
I actively participate in #1 and can't say if that makes a difference to me as a winning player, but I can say definitively that #2 makes me jump for joy. It means that I can find my new best friends wherever they are sitting, and even though I'm typically not a fan of playing 3-handed, I'll happily jump up a limit or two and seize the best seat to make sure I get a slice of that pie before it gets gobbled up if it just so happens that I like the flavor enough.
Clearly, this arrangement is ass-backwards. If the sites won't or can't (seriously doubtful) eliminate this, they should at least make this lame feature opt-in, rather than opt-out. At the very least, this minor improvement would be neither invasive, nor outright disrespectful to the regs and pros who hold the completely contradictory position of simultaneously being a site's best customers and most loathed patrons.
Removing this feature or having players choose to be involved should make a small difference, and certainly wouldn't ruffle the feathers of the regulars, who despite obviously being considered to be a burden to the site (which I don't necessarily buy, or at the very least understand, due to the fact that most tables are populated almost exclusively by regs), are consistently being pecked away at by sites who want to ever-lower their winrates, with the absolute scummiest banning them altogether.
I have no idea of whether or not this matters from a marketing perspective, but so much for selling the dream of becoming the next poker millionaire. This only seems plausible by promoting WSOP winners or having site-owning superusers steal easily from their players unnoticed and untraceable in the anonymous tables. Makes me wonder if there wasn't some internal scandal at iPoker which caused them to eliminate them to cover it up, but one thing is for sure: it hasn't done shit for their cash game traffic. Quite likely the opposite, it appears.
The never-ending squeezing that poker pros are subjected to is just one more reason why I expect legalized American poker to flub. Quite frankly, if they intend on copying the worst practices from existing offshore sites (which I fully expect), I am hoping that they fail.