The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade held its second hearing today to discuss internet gambling. The house held its first hearing in late October. Unfortunately for poker players, Rep. Joe Barton’s bill which would give states the right to regulate online poker was not thoroughly discussed today. Instead the hearing focused more on the issue of problem gambling. Dr. Rachel Volberg testified that the internet makes people ten times more likely to become problem gamblers than traditional gambling at a brick and mortar casino. Rep. Frank Wolf from Virginia condemned internet gaming saying that the social costs of togel Singapore gambling outweigh any benefits by a ratio of 3 to 1.
The news for poker players was not all bad at the hearing however. Rep. Barton made sure to point out that his bill is only in regards to regulating poker, which is a game of skill, and in no way is his bill attempting to legalize other casino games, which are games of chance. Rep. Barney Frank argued that it is not the government’s role to regulate whether adults should be able to gamble as a form of entertainment. Frank further worried about the government’s restriction of internet usage.
In the end, it appears that U.S. poker players will continue to have to just sit and wait in limbo as no vote on Barton’s bill was held or scheduled.
Cake poker to allow use of HUDs
In a move that will be popular among multi-tabling players, the Cake poker network will now allow the use of Heads-Up Displays (HUDs) at their tables. Until now, Cake poker deliberately formatted their hand history files in a way that made it impossible to gather statistics on opponents. Programs such as PokerTracker and Hold’em Manager were still able to compile personal stats and allow players to review their own hands/statistics, but they were not able to track any statistics or results of their opponents.
The debate over whether to allow use of various forms of “tracking software” has been an issue of contention among different online poker sites. Generally the largest sites have bowed to the will of multi-tabling regulars who are more likely to rely on having these statistics at their disposal. Some smaller and medium sized sites have opted to prevent players from having these statistics at their disposal. The theory is that disallowing huds will keep players on a more level, more recreational, playing field by lowering the number of professional players and grinders (often tighter players) who frequent their poker room.
Recently, Bodog announced that not only are they going to continue to disallow HUDs, but also that they will make efforts to keep their tournament and cash game results from being tracked. Websites such as Sharkscope allow players to search for players and see information such as number of games played, average buyin and total profit/loss. Bodog feels that these statistics shouldn’t be accessible at the push of a button, as it can give players an unfair advantage over others. It should be noted that it is possible to block oneself from these types of searches. However, players wishing to do this must know about the websites who track this data, sign up for them and then request that their stats be blocked from searches.