Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Online Poker Data Mining...Is it Cheating?

This question has been a thorn in the side of the online poker industry for some time now. What do I think? Is it cheating or just an allowable online poker non-cheat advantage?

Well, most people who use Hold’em Manager and other poker trackers say that they do so simply to analyze their own play and the play of their opponents. Many swear that nowadays it is virtually impossible to be a successful online poker player without the aid of these programs, and, they stress, they must be used at an optimum level where all their features come into maximum play.

What it really comes down to in my opinion is that it's just another case of "everybody's doing it and if I don't do it, I will be playing online poker at a disadvantage, almost to the point of actually cheating myself." As this is the case, it is hard for me to look at data mining as online poker cheating. This is not the same as the case with poker bots, where only a small percentage of online players are using those programs. I think that poker bots are clearly a form of online poker cheating.

As well, data mining might actually be good for online poker on the whole. It helps players expand their strategies, which make the online games in general more interesting and complex. I guess data mining should be considered as part of the natural evolution of online poker and not online poker cheating. I think it increases the skill factor and decreases the luck factor.

What I do not approve of is the indiscriminate buying and downloading of hands and the using of data mining to further obvious cheat operations such as collusion play. This goes beyond data mining where people are still playing "fair."

If you disagree with me, I understand, but the real issue is that online poker sites can't really do much to stop data-mining players. Maybe they might try to prevent players from buying hands and not allow them to use HUD when they're at the table, but you know what?...doing this is not going to be in the sites' interests, so we might as well forget about that.

So in the meantime, keep mining you're way to online poker riches!