Beware pitfalls
of online poker

Feb 20, 2006 11:49 PM

Carol, I know that you like for me to always be positive and not talk to the folks about bad things in poker.

But from time to time I do see things that I think should be reported to the poker playing public.

First, let me tell the folks how I feel about poker.

I think that poker is an honorable game, and that all players should conduct themselves like ladies and gentlemen when they play.

I think that the best hand should win the pot and that the poker room that takes a rake for profit, has an obligation to protect their players.

Which brings me to the following: I do not think that all online poker rooms are evil or badly run, but there are some big problems with some online poker rooms.

I play in online poker rooms for fun and recreation only. I recommend that you do not play online poker to win money.

Play small for very small amounts, and in the free tournaments and small satellites and you will not get hurt very much.

The bad people are playing in the higher limit games and most of the time will not bother to gang up on a small game.

Now, here are just some of the reasons that I do not recommend that you play high limit poker on computers.

First, it is not controlled and regulated like our poker rooms here in Nevada and other legal locations.

Next, the game is fast and if it were perfectly honest and honorable you play many more hands per hour. In a legal, land-based poker room, you will play an average of 30 hands per hour.

If the rake is $4 per hand on average, this amounts to four times 30 or $120 per hour.

If you are an average player and there are 10 players at the table, your average cost per hour will be $120 divided by 10 or $12 per hour.

Then if you play 40 hours per week, your cost is 40 times $12 or $480 per week.

You must be a good player to overcome this overhead or cost of doing business.

Now let’s take a look at the same scenario online.

Some poker games are played at a rapid rate of 100 hands per hour, but let’s just say the average rate is 60 hands per hour.

The rake is a little lower — figure the online maximum at about $3.

The cost then becomes 60 times $3 or $180 per hour; and your average cost would now be $180 divided by 10 or $18 per hour: 50 percent more than the cost in a legal card room.

So if you play the same 40 hours per week, the cost becomes 40 times $18 or $720 per week!

Very few poker players play well enough to overcome an overhead of $480 per week in a legal card room; now you are paying an average of $720 per week if you’re playing the same limits online.

You must now be a very good poker player to break even.

But here is the real problem. In the legal card room, which is controlled and protected both by the casino and other governing agencies, you seldom have to worry about being cheated.

Playing online often includes many things that could make it an unfair contest. At best you’re not playing on a level playing field.

It has been reported to me that as many as 18 computers could be working together on one online poker room. Thus, these 18 different computers can share information about the hands that are in play!

In fact there is no limit to the number of link ups that can share information about online poker games. Imagine being up against players or system of players that are connected and conspiring against you!

Well, I think you get the picture. That is enough of that.

I know, Carol, you are afraid for my safety in light of what I tell the folks. But poker is good and honorable and we must protect it. Email me if you want to know more.

Oklahoma Johnny’s Poker Tip of the Week

Daddy told me, son, if it smells bad and looks bad, do not pass go and do not even try to collect $200. Just run like hell because it may be bad, and even if it is not a bad game for you to play in, it will cause you to play bad.

If it waddles like a duck and quacks like a duck, it may not be a duck but that is the way I would bet!

Until next time remember to stay lucky.