In case you’re wondering, yes I was stupid enough to play offshore online poker for real money. Here’s what happened to me:
I registered at three offshore online poker sites, ParadisePoker.com, PokerStars.com, Judi online, and FullTiltPoker.com ParadisePoker.com were running a “Free Roll” “Texas Holdem” million-dollar tournament. “Free Roll” means you don’t have to pay the entry fee, but you can only enter once without paying an entry fee. I entered the tournament and sat down at my computer to play. I was winning for a while, then I was dealt with “Pocket 10s.” In “Texas Holdem” everyone is dealt two cards face down called “The Pockets.” After a round of betting, three cards are dealt face-up on “The Board.” This is called “The Flop.” The three cards in “The Flop” are common to everyone at the table’s hands. After another round of betting another card called, “The Turn”, is added to “The Board.”. After another round of betting another card, called “The River” is added to “The Board”. After another round of betting is finished, the cards of the last player who “Raised” or bet are revealed. If the next player in line has a better hand, his “Pockets” are revealed. If it is a losing hand the player can either reveal his “Pockets” or “Muck.” “Muck” means the player lost and chose not to reveal his “Pockets.”
With “Pocket” 10s I decided to make a “value bet.” A “value bet” is a moderate bet designed to get the other players to “Call” rather than “Fold” to a big bet. One player called and one player went “All In.” A pair of tens is very good “Pockets.” I decided to either win a big pot or “Bust Out” of the tournament. “The Flop” was King – 10 – 7 so I had three tens, an excellent hand. “The Turn” was a 7, my hand still looked good. “The River” was a Jack and my hand didn’t look so good. 10 – Jack – Queen – King made a “Straight” a good possibility. The first player revealed his “Pockets” for two pair, Kings and Queens. I revealed my 10s for three of a kind. The player who forced us “All In” revealed A – 5 for an Ace-high “Straight”, and two of us were out of the tournament. The “Lucky Idiot” who won the pot didn’t have, even a decent shot at winning the hand when he went “All In”, he only had Ace – 5. The Player with “Pocket” King – Queen actually had a better probability of winning than the “Lucky Idiot” had. What kind of idiot gambles his tournament life on Ace – 5 “Pockets?”
I went back to playing for “Play money chips.” This all happened before the law that prevents banks from transferring funds to the offshore online poker sites took effect. I found that the play on PokerStars.com was, in my opinion, better than the play on the other two so I played there. After turning 1,000 chips into 100,000 chips I decided to have my bank transfer $50.00 to PokerStars.com and use my “skill” to win some money. I played for real money, but my “luck” was terrible and I lost it. I played for “play money chips again and soon turned the 100,000 chips into over 550,000 chips. I decided to give it another try. By this time the law that prevents banks from transferring funds to the offshore gambling sites had taken effect so I bought a cashier’s check and sent it to PokerStars.com.
When the $50.00 was deposited in my PokerStars.com account I began to play for real money again. Again, my “luck” went south. There was a one-half hour or so stretch where I had “pocket” Aces twice and “Pocket Kings once and didn’t win any of the three hands. I remember thinking about what terrible luck I had. I don’t remember if the winner forced me “All in” before “The Flop” or not, but I dropped most of the $50.00 during that stretch.
The last hand I played for real money was “Pocket” Ace – 3 of diamonds. The Flop was 8 – 7 – 6 of diamonds. I made a bet and one player went “All in.” My first thought was “Damn, does he have a straight flush?” I decided to chance it since I didn’t have much left anyway so I put the rest of the money I had into the pot. “The Turn” was a “deuce”, and The River was an 8. The other player turned over 8 – 7 for a full house and beat my Ace-high flush. What kind of idiot bets “All In” on two pair when looking at a probable “Flush” on “The Board” when all he has is two pair? Recently it hit me! Not an idiot at all, what if the game is rigged?
My profession is a computer programmer and I should have spotted the “Ruse”, but I’ve always been naïve and trusted people until they give me a reason not to. I try not to trust people, but old habits are hard to break. The gambling sites could have special software that allows them to see what “Pockets” everybody has and can even choose what cards fall on “The Flop”, “The Turn”, and “The River.” They don’t even have to have a real person play and win. “The Ringer” at the table could even be a computer-generated player. They are smart enough to make sure that “The Ringer” doesn’t win every hand, but even if it’s only programmed to win the statistically probable one in nine hands, they have nothing invested in the game and end up taking money from “The pigeons” at the table. What if it wasn’t my skill at all that allowed me to turn 1,000 play money chips into over half a million? What if they were letting me win to lure me into sending them some money? A little bit sobering to realize that you are probably not as good a poker player as you thought you were.
And, what about the “Free Roll” tournament? Using special software would allow them to “Bust Out” the “Free Roll” players and lure them into sending in entry fees to try again. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the online tournament winners are “Rigged” to win before the tournaments even begin.
Even if the poker site is on “the Up and UP” there is another scenario that I have worked out. Buy a four computer router for under $50.00 and invite two or three friends to bring their laptops over to play online poker. All set in the same room with their computers hooked up to the same poker site and the same poker table. Just imagine what an advantage three or four players co-operating at a table have over the other players. Of course, you make sure that the cities that display when someone puts their mouse pointer on your “Avatar” are different. The other players would get suspicious if three or four players at the table were from the same city.
I’m sure that there are college students trying exactly that at their dorms “Fleecing” people who are stupid enough to play online poker for real money! I don’t believe it does them any good though. If the software the online poker sites are using is what I think it is, there is no way to beat the house. Conclusion: “It’s Stupid to Play Online Poker for Real Money!”