Bodog provided a press release today that was distributed by PR Newswire. This press release stated that players could now request hand histories that show all hole cards from players dealt in the hand with them. What is interesting about this move is not how Bodog decided to give the information about what cards players flopped or folded in hand histories, it is how they went about it.
Typically, when there is some Bodog Poker software change, such as the “Note Taking Innovation“, there is a post on Calvinayre.com from somebody that does not seem to be a poker player, proclaiming how poker players will love their latest move. They go on to discuss their “Recreational Poker Model” and that every online poker room will follow in their footsteps. That did not happen this time. The only mention of this on that website is the same press release that has appeared on hundreds of PR Newswire partner sites, including the CBS station I linked to earlier in this post.
The press release itself is quite entertaining. Knowing Bodog, that is probably intentional. Bodog states that when they implemented their “Recreational Poker Model”, that “Almost immediately other poker rooms changed their rakeback structure”. They do not cite who those rooms were, or what the structure changes were. They also go on to state:
Microgaming upped the number of anonymous tables it offered and also made all Heads-Up tables anonymous.
Most recently PokerStars introduced the casual-player friendly ‘Zoom Poker’ to their product suite.
It seems like Bodog is trying to take credit for what other poker rooms are doing. Even though Bodog was not the first (or second) online poker room to use anonymous tables, they imply that they are the reason another network is expanding them. They also seem to want some credit for PokerStars introducing Zoom Poker. Players have been looking to fill the void left by Rush Poker and have requested PokerStars create a similar product to replace it. PokerStars is 25 times the size of Bodog. Somehow I doubt they are taking pointers from anyone.
I also do not believe Zoom Poker is recreational friendly like Bodog seems to imply. The Rush Poker games at Full Tilt Poker were full of rakeback grinders. The flop percents in those games would often be in the low to mid teens, and the average pot sizes were pathetic compare to the other tables. Fish would bust quickly in those games. Not just because of how tough they were, but playing four times the hands per hour would make for 25% of the play time before going bust. It was like injecting crack into online poker. Rush Poker made it harder to track players due to the datamining limitations, but hand histories were still available to players when the hands ended.
Having started this movement the Bodog Poker Network is now looking improve the product and listen to its customers. Once all the noise of whining poker ‘pros’ who could no longer use software allowing access to data on how you play your game against Bodog players died down the only credible complaint was the threat of collusion.
Let’s ignore the fact HH Smithy cracked their anonymous tables within a few days of release, calling your customers whiners is not how most businesses operate. There are several considerations beyond collusion as well. I guess they do not feel the need to listen to their whiny customers.
The latest release on the Bodog Poker Network now allows players, after 24 hours, to request not only their own hand histories but also the hole card information for all players in the same hand. The unique nature of Bodog’s anonymous tables means that the WHOLE hand can be requested by a player. No other poker room can offer such a service.
Note that the emphasis is theirs, not mine. I think it is clear why no other online poker room is releasing hand histories that show all hole cards of players dealt in. I am not sure that I would be bragging about this, but they seem to think it is such a positive move that they wanted to make sure it was in bold.
Jonas Odman, VP of the Bodog Poker Network, commented:
The fact that we can now offer players this information is another advantage of our anonymous tables and something nobody else can offer. Collusion is a natural concern for any poker room but this new additional feature puts the player in full control. This makes the Bodog Poker Network the fairest place to play poker online in the world.
So playing at a table where you have no idea who the other players are is apparently the fairest way to play online poker in the world. Forget the fact that the only way to police the game is to get hand histories over 24 hours later that may or may not disclose when players changed at the table, the information is mostly useless since players will have no idea who the player is, and likely not know when they were replaced by a new player. Players will be unable to put together patterns of suspicious play. Good cheaters can just sit for a few orbits at a time and leave. By the time 24 hours has passed, the cheats could already have their money cashed out of the poker room. How is that fair?
Bodog has the right to manage their poker room however they want, and players have the ability to vote with their wallet. That is what is great about a fair market. I completely respect Bodog and their wish to run their business as they see fit. It takes a company as eccentric as Bodog to put out the type of press release like they did today. I dissected it both to give my opinion about where we disagree, and to poke some fun at it in good humor. Knowing how Bodog works, they should take it in stride. I think they enjoy some of the critics speaking out, especially when it is just a whiny poker player.
In what other industry would the 18th largest business, with about a 1.5% market share, act like the top dog that influences the entire industry? That is part of why I love covering the online poker industry. There is never a dull moment.