Are Data Mining Sites in Poker Truly Harmful?

We know that poker is a pretty big game online, with millions of players logging in to play. They want to know the ins and outs of what they’re up against, including the competition. You can pick up statistics on individual players and even general statistics. These are stats that can give a pro serious advantage over other players.

Yet Bodog, a top casino, has decided to take a stand to block data mining sites. The policy is about a year old at the time of this writing, and it’s designed to protect the causal poker player. Contrary to popular belief, not every player really wants to be a rockstar at poker. They want to log in, play a few casual games, and otherwise have a good time. They want to be able to really make sure that everything is in order. Some people disagree with this, but you have to understand what the casino is thinking.

The top players on a casino site aren’t depositing as much as causal players. Why? They don’t have to — their winnings on the tables actually cover them quite nicely. The ones who have to refill their online account more often are casual players. That’s the whole point — you’re going to need to look into the type of player you’re attracting to the tables. Casinos do this day in and day out, and they want a high ratio of casual players to “sharks”. That’s how the money keeps flowing in.

The casino really wants to have recreational poker players feel like they are at home, but will still upset players over time? A lot of players eventually get better and they want to make sure that they can really check out the competition and refine their strategy. It just depends on the casino — some casinos seem to be friendlier to sharks than others.

One of the sites mentioned by Bodog for its data mining, PokerScout, decided to comment on the record about it as well:

“Despite Bodog’s assertions, PokerScout does not give any advantage to some players at the expense of others. Unlike some other websites, we do not track or publish individual player statistics. Many of our readers treat PokerScout as an industry scorecard, showing where the sites rank relative to each other and who is outperforming whom. Other readers drill down into more detail to see what games and limits are popular at the various sites. The data is available freely to everyone, and none of it gives any particular advantage to winning players. Bodog is the only operator to suggest that it does.”

PokerScout continued:

“We continue to maintain close, cooperative relationships with many online poker sites. Some 19 operators, from major companies like PartyGaming and Playtech down to the smallest providers, voluntarily provide us data to improve our tracking of their site traffic. This includes both US-facing and non-US operators. These companies clearly have no problem with PokerScout. In fact, executives throughout the industry have repeatedly expressed enthusiasm and gratitude for the service we provide.”

There’s always going to be sharks, and being critical of sharks isn’t doing you any favors. If you’re going to play online, you have to realize that sharks are part of it. Don’t get caught up in being unable to take care of yourself — you can do anything that you set your mind to.

We think that Bodog means well, and this is their way to carve out a “difference” in the market. Whether players feel comfortable or not is up to them, in all honesty.

Keep playing, keep learning, and keep having a good time — that’s what poker is really all about.

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