Recently, I was involved in a “disucssion” about how Heads-Up games impact the poker economy. The entire discussion can be found here: Merge quietly eliminates most of limit holdem tables. (WARNING: the link is to NVG on 2p2.)
Cliffs: Merge takes away some HULHE tables, regular poster, player, respected community member, Gildwulf makes a post about it, I reply, “Awesome” and then I basically continue to be adamant and rather strong worded without any really back up to my words. I am also called some names (fwiw, I used strong language, was condescending but no names.)
OK so here is what I was really trying to say:
We live in the world of Big Data. This is an technology buzz word for what is really an emerging industry of analysis using computers, specifically algorithms to come up with some hypothosis to how to improve things.
Your every move is being tracked.
That’s just the way it is. And this will only continue to grow going forward.
This is almost certainly true for online poker as well.
The Merge network operators did not wake up, pour a cup of coffee, head to the office and throw a dart at a board and then eliminate these heads up tables.
What likely happened is that they analyzed the data. What data specifically? For starters:
All the data is collected by a computer and out pops and answer after months (or even years) of analysis. They then discuss how to do this with holding their customers happiness high, without making changes to fast, and without trying to make a big stir of things, etc.
Now, what I wrote here is just a snippet of what goes on. (Well, what *should* go on.)
The goal of the poker network is to make money. They make money by collecting rake. They need players to play there to collect the rake. They need players to play longer if they want to increase what the poker site earns.
I dont have any of the Big Data, but I can tell you that HU online players have been chewing up recreational players for years. I also played and still play some HU now and then, it’s easier money when you get the action. (Waiting for the action is s skill among its self btw.)
So HU players feel threatened when here are changes to this system. One of those changes was the publishing of information, specifically strategy, on how to play Heads up. This happened around 2006-07 when the online poker training sites, to which I am one of the founders of a major one, started popping up. There are about a dozen or so sites today, housing a few hundred coaches in a variety of games.
As the former COO of DeucesCracked.com, I had access to data. I cannot go into specifics for obvious reasons. But what I can tell you is that the amount of online professionals out there is tremendously small to the amount of players trying to learn how to play.
Poker is HARD.
It takes a lot of WORK.
I used golf as analogy for how poker coaching does not effect the poker economy as much as many of the retractors think it does. Yes, good players have been produced from online poker training. The regulars in the games have seen these players grow and get better. The regulars play with them everyday. They see them everyday. Why? They are GOOD at poker. This very small subset of players that succeed all know each other names, why? Good players do not go broke and stick around.
What they DONT remember is the amount of players that watched those videos and gave it a “try.” Those that took shots thinking just watching a video was enough. Just having a subscription is not enough, you have to WORK. We say this all the time at DeucesCracked, you have to put the work in.
Online poker coaches and video training is just another tool. You have to do the work regardless to succeed.
So why the golf analogy?
Let me say that again, only 255 players have won money on the PGA tour.
At this high level, all those players have physical skill sets where the average golfer could not tell the difference. If you played one round with the top 500 golfers in the world, you would be awe stuck on how they hit the ball. You would also likely not be able to tell the difference between them all. Yes, some do drive farther, putt better, ball strike better than the others but when it gets to that level the differences are subtle. A lot of golf is mental.
If you do not think so, just think of leading the British Open only to bogey the last four holes to lose it on the final day. Did Adam Scott suddenly not have the physical ability for those last four holes?
I think not.
That about ends my rant and with all that being said, I’m sorry for being a general douchnozzle in the thread.