Since I live at Lake Tahoe (South Shore), I was hoping to find a place to play poker that didn’t require me to drive to Reno. Harvey’s Hotel and Casino here in Stateline has a poker room, but it’s only got the same 6 or 8 guys in it every night, who all know each other. When you walk up you the table to play, you definitely feel like a combination outsider and meat being examined before put in the grinder. Plus, you’re obviously in someone else’s social club when you’re at their table, the conversation detours around you as things and people you know nothing about are discussed. Don’t get me wrong – they’re polite and nice and all! But you just know that, well – you just don’t belong there. They’ve turned to room into their little social club and strangers who swing by to play are there to help pay for their club.
That’s exactly how it feels online at wsop.com, too. Same tiny set of people every day, different tiny bunch of same people every night. But, amazingly, for socializing and meeting people, the WSOP online site is even less fun than Harvey’s. Heck, it’s even less fun than BINION’S – which is very similar in fun and excitement to a rock garden. There are a few nice, fun and friendly people playing on the WSOP site. But most of them never talk and when they do it’s to say something mean and sardonic. Especially the nighttime to early morning players, they’re mostly just flat out antisocial freaks who can barely hide their disdain for you and everyone else while they want you to play with them and give them a chance at your money. Their personalities are very similar to the hard core coders that used to work for me at Cyberstation, Inc. Which is to say, they don’t have good ones, if they have a personality. Since they never talk to you, it’s hard to tell if a personality is in there.
Now, at any poker room where it’s you, (the chum) and a hardcore set of nightly locals (the sharks), you always have to be on the lookout for collusion, chip dumping, signaling, and so forth. But with online play, the regulars can easily all be in a Skype group call or similar and be secretly playing as a team, sharing their hole cards, building up pots then abandoning them for their strongest hand, etc. With WSOP.com online poker, there is very good reason for you to be very concerned about this. For one thing, I know for a fact they have a skype group set up to communicate with everyone when there is a table with a “live one” that has opened up, so they can all come attack the poor slob. Now that, is not technically cheating or colluding, it’s just informing players of a juicy game. But it’s still disconcerting and a bit scary when no one has been playing for hours, you sit down, and within 5 minutes the table fills with sharky regulars. I know for a fact the WSOP night time regulars have a skype group for this, because I asked about it when I saw the above scenario happen and one of them told me they did it with Skype.
Now, I don’t know about the WSOP.com tournaments, because I don’t like to play in tournaments. For tournament players, it could be an absolute blast for all I know. But for fun and friendly cash games you can play without leaving your house, WSOP doesn’t have those.