Bodog Poker has unplugged itself from the Matrix. In a bid to preserve its reputation as a poker site that values recreational players, Bodog will no longer allow poker information portals to scrape listings from its site. Calling the scraping sites further evidence that “online poker is assisting its own demise,” Bodog is implementing systems to prevent the collection of data that he believes benefits only a small core of pro players.
“Nobody who is playing poker for fun visits these [tracking] sites, or even knows they exist,” explained a Bodog spokesperson. “They exist only to serve professional players and therefore we will be implementing a series of online blockades to further protect the crucial leisure poker player.” The move is the latest in Bodog’s campaign to persuade the industry that the narrow-minded focus on serving the needs of pro players is not only shortsighted but dangerous to continued growth.
To be clear, Bodog isn’t penalizing sharp players. They’re just ensuring that nobody gets to bring a gun to this knife fight. To the recreational player, online poker is a form of entertainment and there are many competitors for his entertainment dollar. If he’s immediately torn apart by sharks every time he enters an online poker room, he’ll inevitably decide there are better ways to spend that dollar, and the online poker business will continue its downward trajectory.
Scrubbing hand histories, preventing the use of heads-up displays, ending misguided rakeback schemes… In choosing to address the needs of recreational players and create a truly anonymous playing environment, Bodog Poker is laying down a trail that the entire online poker industry can use to guide itself out of the wilderness. With or without their technological crutches, pro players will still play online poker, and they’ll still win more than they lose. It’s why they’re called ‘pros’. But it’s recreational bettors that keep online poker in business. Fish in the sea are a renewable resource. Fish in a barrel are not.