Poker pro Patrik Antonius has made waves with his claim that online poker is no longer a fair game due to the widespread use of player tracking software.
PokerListings caught up with Antonius at the recent European Poker Tour Barcelona main event, querying him on his absence from the online poker scene. Antonius explained that “the technology has advanced so much that it’s become a totally different game,’ so much so that if you don’t use tracking software, “it’s not a fair game anymore.”
Antonius said the widespread use of tracking software meant that poker “has become more of a game of numbers.” Players were basing so many of their decisions on what the software told them to do that “it feels like you’re playing against a computer these days.”
Antonius, who insisted he’d “never used technology to get an edge,” said the ubiquity of tracking software meant he’d actually had to quit playing online Hold’em and PLO. Antonius said he still enjoyed playing online mixed games, for which no tracking software yet exists, but he expects that “some smart people are already working on it.”
Although he doesn’t play many tournaments, Antonius continues to partake in high-stakes cash games around the globe and said he’d “take my chances against any high-stakes player live, but online, I don’t like my chances anymore, unfortunately.”
Antonius’ statements have prompted the usual suspects to engage in the usual debate on forums like Two Plus Two, with many arguing that this problem is a tempest in a teapot because tracking software is readily available to anyone with a couple hundred bucks to spare.
But many – if not the vast majority of – recreational players aren’t even aware that such software exists, leaving them at a distinct disadvantage. And after they’re raped by the HUD-wielding hordes, they ultimately conclude that online poker isn’t all that much fun and walk away from the game forever, further contributing to the ongoing decline of the global online poker ecology.
Technological tools are increasingly becoming the bane of daily fantasy sports, which shares a lot of similarities with online poker, including its lopsided wealth distribution. Some recent number crunching exposed the ugly truth that a mere 1.3% of DFS players were reaping as much as 91% of player profits through the use of sophisticated modeling software.
Eliminating the use of poker tracking software was one of the key drivers behind Bodog’s decision to (a) block tracking software companies from scraping data and (b) implement its fully anonymous tables nearly four years ago.