Internet Poker: It’s a Different Game Altogether

By Keith ‘The Camel’ Hawkins / November 2005

A few months ago I answered a ‘phone call from a friend at 3.30am. The slightly surreal conversation which ensued went something like this:

"Hello, Bushy"

"Hello Camel, you’ve got to do me a favour"

"At this time?"

"Yes. I’ve got to go and do something. But I’m down to the last four tables of this tournament on Pokerstars. I need you to take over from me"

"But, it might go on for another two hours, I need to go to bed."

"Just do it please. You’re in for 20%."

And he put the phone down.

So, I managed to spunk away his big stack and finished about twelfth. I turned the computer off and went to bed. I never found out what his pressing appointment at 3.30am was.

The next day when I fired up the computer, I immediately logged onto ‘Stars for a $100 no limit tournament.

It wasn’t until the event started that I realised I was logged on as Garry. D’oh.

Garry soon rang up saying he couldn’t get into his account and he wanted to play some tournie or other in 20 minutes. I had to let him use my account. It was only fair.

But, as play got going, I noticed a strange thing. People were giving undue respect to my raises. I was stealing with almost total freedom.

It took a few minutes for the reason to dawn on me. All the other players at my table thought the player they were facing was Bushy! The player notes probably read "Tight as Rock", "Never bluffs" and "Fold when he raises, he’s always got the goods".

Meanwhile, in his tournament as "The Camel" Garry was getting paid right, left and centre every time he had a big hand.

We both made our respective final tables and had pretty decent pay days.

I didn’t think much more about the incident until while surfing the ‘net the other day I found an interesting article based on an online tournament:

Eaton reckons what Marcel and Noah did during an online tournament was wrong. Maybe it was, but what exactly can be done to stop such shenanigans? Nothing!

I have come to the conclusion that online poker is a totally different game to live poker and should be treated as such.

It’s like tennis and badminton. They are very similar games, but essentially different. There is nothing to stop team play so it should be allowed. (Obviously collusion is totally wrong and those who practise this should be punished). Similarly, your time bank during a tournament should be used to maximise your expected value, i.e. stalling near the bubble or when your table is likely to break. Everyone else does it, so why shouldn’t you? And if the software is poor enough to give advantage to players who use disconnects maybe even this strategy shouldn’t be frowned upon too harshly.

Online poker is a different animal to live poker. Let’s use the loopholes to our benefit.