Monday, January 30, 2012

Figuring it all out... A change in games within the Bodog structure

For the past 2 months, I've been dealing with the stupid changes that Bodog / Bovada made to their poker tables - primarily making the player names anonymous.  To me, as a grinder, that is the stupidest move they could have made; it makes the action at a full ring table simply impossible to follow.  How can I possibly keep track of whether player 4 got up and a new player 4 is sitting in his place?  I need to be placing my full focus on that particular window in order to have a chance of noticing - and probably not be involved in a hand at the time.  Expand that to the maximum 4 tables that Bodog allows, and keep tabs on players coming & going becomes very difficult at best.

From a business perspective, I can understand why Bodog has done what they have done.  Simply put, poker is less profitable to them than Blackjack or slots.  When you have an online casino which offers the full gamut of games, you don't want your gambler's money on the poker table where the casino becomes a partner with the winning poker players, taking a rake instead of outright taking the gambler's money.  You want that gambler sitting at a Blackjack table, or a Roulette table, losing their money directly to the house.  The question I ask myself, though, is why wouldn't Bodog / vada shut down their poker altogether?

Regardless, in dealing with the frustration of no longer being able to play full ring poker under anonymous circumstances, I've thrown in the towel on online poker.  I don't want to join Black Chip Poker, or some other third-rate site; I already have money on a third-rate site where I'm comfortable getting money off (they pay out immediately, and conveniently).  My understanding of the post-Black Friday poker world is the withdrawals have gotten far more difficult than even pre-Black Friday, with some players going to the extent of trading 80 to 90 cents on the dollar in order to get their money off those sites.  To grind online with an immediate 10 - 20% deficit like that, in addition to the cloud of DOJ looming at any minute, I'll take my chances with Bodog.

Back to the point of the article, though: changing my game.  I've thought long & hard about the solution to my inability to follow full ring games with anonymous players, and come to the decision that heads-up poker makes the most sense for me.  I'm not putting in hours like I used to - I have my graduate school to contend with now - but when I do, I can easily and quickly follow the action when I only have to deal with a handful of players.  I put in a few hours over the weekend and have had positive results at 25NL.  Either I'm incredibly lucky, or the players there have no idea about pre-flop hand ranges or when to play for stacks.  I've been coolered once, with a flush over flush, and sucked out on once to a chop, but other than that, I've been DOMINATING the play.  Playing against a single player, I'm able to focus on their play, and immediately notice a sit out or stand up.

The only problem I'm seeing now is the wait for a game to start and the high rake.  Basically, I have to sit down at an empty table and wait for a player.  Sometimes this can take 5 minutes.  The rake is quite costly as well - I think Bodog takes full rake from the heads-up tables.  However, in the appox. 2 hours of play that I've put in, I'm up about 3 buy-ins.  I expect it to continue.

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