Friday, November 30, 2007

More Online Poker Controversy/Online Card-Counting?

As you all know, the online cheating world has been dominated by the Absolute Poker scandal the last month, but other stuff has been going on despite its lack of press, Here is some of it:

The Absolute Poker scandal should have been enough. It remains unresolved, though most of the details of the cheating have been made clear, and the poker public still awaits the conclusion of the audit.

Back in early October, there was another mini-scandal on PokerStars. The winner of the WCOOP main event was disqualified, and “TheV0id” was stripped of his title and $1,378,311 in winnings.

And we have another.

This time it revolves around Bluff Magazine’s managing editor Chris Vaughn. On 10/21, he took down the $1 Million Guarantee tournament on Full Tilt Poker for $197,984. The following Sunday, he won the Sunday Million tournament on PokerStars for $240,633. Well, it seems the first one didn’t stick.

According to the second place finisher in the Full Tilt event, Soren “Kongsgaard” Kongsgaard, he received an e-mail from FTP stating that Chris - screen name “BluffMagCV” - had been disqualified and “Kongsgaard” was awarded first place money.

Reportedly, though unconfirmed at this point, Chris’ backer, Sorel “Imper1um” Mizzi, took over at some point in the tournament and played the remainder of it for him. Chris and Sorel have now been banned from Full Tilt. More details can be found on Sorel’s blog, though it’s not clear who is writing the blogs.

Ironically, Chris was just interviewed on 11/18 by Scott Huff and Haralabos Voulgaris on Big Poker Sundays, a radio show on Haralabos asked him if he’s ever been accused of ghosting, where a person’s backer plays for them, and Chris said, “I’ve been accused of that. I think it’s going to come with the territory when someone relatively unknown wins two in a row… But as far as having someone take over, that’s ridiculous.”

Online Card-counting at Blackjack...Is it possible?

Well, of course it's possible, but is it profitable? Firstly, deck-penetration in online games is bad. It ranges from shuffling every hand to 50% or so. At best this is really token penetration. Technically you can get an advantage at these games by card counting but the fluctuations are enormous. You would need a huge bankroll, maybe a million bucks, and you'd have to be prepared to suffer interminable losing streaks, perhaps periods of months if you play every day. I've heard that Global Player, one of the most popular online casinos, does have a slightly more attractive game. It offers a "Baden-Baden" 2-deck game with bog-standard European rules. They deal out only a third of the cards, which normally is a bad game, but unlike a real-world casino you can exit the game and re-enter with a fresh virtual shuffle. That means you can shuffle away negative decks without any noticeable loss of time. But this still will not do much to give you any significant online true counts, so my advice is to hurry back into your local brick and mortar casino and try to find some good blackjack games with real cards and real penetration.