Phil Galfond advocates sweeping changes to online poker

Posted by Steve Ruddock on Jan 23, 2012 Posted in Poker News | 1 Comment »

One of the most respected and talented poker players has just spoken out on his blog regarding the current state of online poker, and the changes he feels are long overdue and necessary. As Galfond expected the Twitterverse and poker blogosphere has blown-up in response, with people falling on both sides of the argument.

Granted, most of the issues discussed tend to affect only high-stakes poker players, and the overarching debate has been between members of that exclusive fraternity, but Galfond’s complaints can be seen as part of an overall narrative since Black Friday calling for widespread changes to the online poker world on a number of different levels.

So what is that Galfond feels are the most-pressing issues for high-stakes poker players?

* Make playing poker an easy and fun experience for both pros and recreational players

* Close loopholes that allow unethical players to gain an advantage over those who choose to be more honest

* Promote the play of more hands

It will be interesting to see what type of weight a player of Galfond’s status will carry with the online poker sites themselves, but it’s quite likely that Galfond’s words and comments have not fallen on deaf ears.

Among the many points Galfond raises in his blog post is the notion of tracking websites and HUD’s, and how they affect casual players at the tables. Galfond offers two possible solutions for this issue: Make all online poker tables anonymous (which Bodog has already done) or allow players to change their screen-names often enough to stay relatively anonymous. It’s the second idea that strikes Galfond as the better one.

One of the more interesting ideas, and the one I think online poker sites should address in the very near future is the idea of must-move games for tables that develop long-waiting lists. This is something that brick & mortar card-rooms have employed for years, and would be a welcome addition to online players. Basically, once a waiting list reached a certain point the waiting list players would be sent to their own online table, and would play at this table until they were called to the main game. This would not only add more tables, but it would disallow players from entering dozens of games on the waiting list, but never taking a seat.

Other topics covered were Heads-Up games and some players’ outright refusal to play 90% of the players that sit with them (here Galfond advocates either fewer tables in the lobby or a King of the Hill type format), as well as “bum-hunting” which he feels has gotten out of control:

“Game selection and seat selection are part of the soft skills that make a professional, along with tilt control, bankroll management, and all other kinds of work ethic. I thoroughly respect and endorse playing within your means and your comfort zone. I have no problem whatsoever with people who choose only to play in great games. It’s starting to go much further than that, however.

“As soon as a “spot” leaves a game, zero to one hands are played. It literally instantly breaks. It’s worse when the player hasn’t even left the table, but has simply busted his stack, or clicked sit out. Everyone sits out with him, and when he reloads, everyone sits back in. How would you feel if you were playing poker for fun, just lost a $10k stack, and the 5 people at your table instantly sit out? Takes a little bit of the fun out of poker, I would think (…) Some of this issue stems from people having an unreasonably sized fear of playing in a –EV game. Ignore for a second that playing with tough players will make you a better player yourself, or that poker is a sport-like game that you were attracted to because of your love for competition. How many BBs will you lose in EV playing 30 hands with a few regulars? (…) -2bb/100 is a pretty high loss-rate for any regular in a game of regulars. So if you stayed another 30 hands, you’d lose two-thirds of a BB EV at most, if you’re the worst Reg at the table. If you can’t afford that risk, you’re playing above your bankroll,”

For whatever reason the blog post is no longer available, but it was located at the following web address:

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One Response to “Phil Galfond advocates sweeping changes to online poker”

  1. I completely agree with Phil Galfond. I think that if we will work on all the issues and aspects which he has mentioned in the article, then it will be very beneficial for all the poker players.

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