Monday, July 19, 2010


Paulius's Law : "In any given multiplayer scenario, there will always be players who will game the system and ruin the whole experience for everyone else."

In the past I've written about my frustration at idiotic online poker players who insist on going all in on the first hand before the flop. It's a bullshit tactic.

It makes non-tournaments absolutely unplayable, because a player who busts out can buy back in immediately. The result of this is someone goes all in on every single hand. In other words, you have to risk your entire stack if you actually want to play. In essence, it takes an extremely complex game about tactics, deception and calculated risk and turns every hand into a coin toss. It removes every ounce of skill from the game and winning comes down to pure luck.

It's not quite so bad in tournament play, because once you're busted out, you can't buy back in and only the final three players get a share of the prize pot. It doesn't completely ruin the game, but it does spoil it.

Here's what happens: The first two cards are dealt, and at least four idiots immediately go all in, regardless of what's in their hand. All the normal players fold. The rest of the hand is played out and three of the idiots get eliminated. This gives the remaining idiot four times the amount of chips as everyone else. Then, with a massive chip lead, the remaining idiot just folds every hand and waits for the remaining five players to play normally and bust each other out. As long as he comes in third or better he gets a share of the prize pot…which funds the next few tournaments.

Then, today, I discovered an even more bullshit tactic.

One online poker site allows you to 'sit out' during tournaments. The reason for this is if you're playing a long tournament and the phone rings or you need a break, you can sit out a few hands. Technically it's fair, because while you're not having to pay any blinds, you're not able to win anything and grow your stack. Unfortunately, I tried to play in three separate tournaments to find, in each, around three or four of the nine players sat out the entire game. In other words, you let everyone actually playing poker bust each other out, but still gives you a good chance of surviving to the final three and getting a share of the prize pot.

It's something I just don't think I'll ever understand. Sure, by gaming the system, you get a better than average chance of winning…but what does 'winning' actually mean if you've not earned it?

Surely the reason winning means anything is because it proves you're better at something than someone else. If the only way you can win is to game the system or out and out cheat, isn't that the same as admitting you're incapable of winning normally?

Basically, if you're cheating, there's no point in playing because your victory doesn't mean a goddamn thing. When you cheat or game the system, all you're doing is letting everyone know you're useless at the game.

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