Cyberspace gambling sites are popping up all over the Internet like wild flowers along side a highway. And like wild flowers, some are wonderfully attractive while others barely survive. Having been teleported into several of these virtual rooms full of mystery and wizardry, I thought I’d provide a capsule look at what galactic adventurers’ just might find!
Most sites offered free play, while others (mostly off-shore enterprises), allow you to establish an account and a chance to win real money. Of course your credit card (check, money order, or electronic transfer of funds), authorizes your entrance and continued play. Some sites permit free play and one site currently offers a chance to qualify into this year’s WSOP. Yes, the ultimate winner of their current online WSOP pre-qualifying tournament matrix will be playing at Jack Binion’s grand daddy of them all- right along side the likes of Phil Hellmuth, Scotty Nguyen, TJ Cloutier and the master, Doyle Brunson. Other on-line sites, like PokerSpot.Com, offer freeroll prize money tournaments every week, allowing players an opportunity to hone their skills against players from all over the world.
Corporate advertising has become a mainstay to pay for developing a new site and its upkeep, and the usual “merchandise” store is only a mouse click away. These sites traditionally offer a variety of books, videos and clothing I wouldn’t be caught dead in. Some sites are developing on-line poker schools and plan to impart the basics of Qiu Qiu Online poker to new players and advanced strategies for seasoned veterans who are interested in seeking an on-line, discreet, private tune-up of their game. Many say the game has changed, and the new players are employing a style unlike champions of years gone by. New strategies and approaches have been rapidly incorporated into today’s game and players are seeking an added edge to combat the aggressive style and sharp minds of multi-talented opponents fast appearing in ring games, tournament play or on-line.
But I’m digressing; let’s talk about playing cyber-poker. A player’s options are endless, with games ranging from 2-4 and up. Stud, Omaha, Holdem’, you name it and someone is out there waiting for you to drop-in and deploy a virtual felt check-raise. And this is where a number of new players express their cyber concerns. Many questions are posed and not always answered to the satisfaction of the player. Here are just but a few I repeatedly heard: How can I be sure my credit card information is secure? How do I know that I’m not playing against a machine programmed to give certain seats (possibly occupied by a company employee), the best cards most of the time. Could there be seven, eight or nine conspiring players at a particular site, in the same computer room, watching and logged into the same table, just waiting to take down another unsuspecting victim? How can I be sure a level playing field really exists?
There in lies the problem with a potential cyber shakedown; err, I mean, cyber sit- down. Confidence in plunking down hard earned money is not high with most beginning players, and a great deal of marketing will be needed to legitimize and bolster the integrity of on-line sites before users swell in size to the expectations of site owners.
Recently, while winning a weekly PokerSpot freeroll tournament, I too found myself questioning who would be randomly “selected” to begin hands with pocket rockets (more than once). It certainly was not me; I hadn’t seen anything better than QQ all afternoon and fortunately made a huge move late when I flopped a queen for a set and secured a seat at the final table. These on-line tournaments consisting generally of 200 players, last approximately 4 hours, and I did take note that a particular seat at my own table received pocket aces on at least three occasions. Again, random selection, or computer predetermination? How was I to know, how was I to know whether the person sitting in that seat was an employee or a regular player like myself? Was I too paranoid, does it matter, should I dare ask for an explanation? All of these questions crossed my mind, yet I set aside these thoughts and continued to play and finally busted out the last player with my favorite new hand – K9 from the small blind in a two-handed game. A hand Nolan Dalla recently and correctly discussed having premium value in the right spot. Thanks Nolan! Just like that it was over, the computer was declaring me the tournament champion and electronically depositing the first place money into my newly established account.
Well now, based on my recent play in cyberspace I’d better rethink my opinion of playing on the virtual felt; if I can win, maybe these cyber sites aren’t tainted after all!
Oh Cyberman, I need a Portal Change