Thursday, December 18, 2014

A Practical Solution to Poker Liquidity

Squeezing blood from a stone
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.


Arty Smokes said...

One "positive" use of the "Find a player" function is it that it enables viewers to rail their friends (or famous players) more easily.
While it's true that I could ask my skype buddies "What is the tourney ID and your table number?" it's often quicker for them to temporarily enable "find a player" so that I can automatically find them.

Generally speaking though, I think it's bad that recreationals don't know that regs are often using the function to see how many tables someone is playing, so opting out should probably be the default setting.

Lorin Yelle said...

Good point about inviting your friends to rail in a tournament.

I disagree though that this article applies to famous players, for a couple of reasons:

1) If they are a rep of the site, it should be turned on by default, or rather, the site should have the function to turn it off disabled for those players.

2) If they are famous enough (yet not signed) that people would actively be looking for them, presumably they would be easy to find, as they would be residing at the highest stakes.

Ofc, to recap, I'm not saying that there is any need to eliminate it, but rather, make it an "opt in" feature, rather than an "opt out" feature.


While writing this comment, something occurred to me that might actually change my position on this:

It might actually be helpful for keeping the fish alive. This is plausible, because if you are able to do a quick search on a fish and see him moving around the tables, this gives guys a means to chase him and fill up a table, which would cause him to bust slower than if he were just sitting heads up with another guy who could potentially drain his account in under a hundred hands.


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