Tuesday, February 05, 2008

CardPlayer Sez Go On & Play at Absolute Poker

A proposed boycott of Coca-Cola products in response to Bill “UIGEA” Frist’s appearance in a Super Bowl commercial? Yeah, that ought to make everything right.

Speaking of boycotts . . . or the lack thereof . . . .

Was listening to the 2+2 Pokercast last week and heard the hosts discussing CardPlayer’s system for ranking their Online Poker Player of the Year. Now there are very few things in the world I care less about than the race for CardPlayer’s Online Poker Player of the Year. Pictures of eccentric poker authors with their pets are more interesting, if ya want my honest opinion.

Still, there was something about what the hosts said regarding the OPOY that got my attention.

According to CardPlayer’s “Online Poker Player of the Year Rules,” the OPOY is determined by ranking how players perform in tournaments of at least 100 players, with minimum $100 buy-ins, and minimum $100,000 prize pools. That reduces the number of tourneys in play considerably. Also, only results from five sites are included: PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, Ultimate Bet, Bodog, and Absolute Poker.

Obviously CardPlayer has selected these sites because all five allow U.S. players. That much makes sense. However, the inclusion of Absolute Poker strikes me as a clear affirmation that AP is as legitimate a site as any other when it comes to integrity and fairness. Implies a similar endorsement of Ultimate Bet, a site owned by the same pack of rogues who run Absolute and currently experiencing a host of serious problems affecting its integrity and fairness.

Of course, CardPlayer has continued to sell advertisements to both Absolute & UB all along, both on their website and in their magazine. We’re all familiar with the myriad of conflicts of interest that dominate poker “journalism.” An operation like CardPlayer depends heavily on online poker sites’ advertising and related affiliate programs, and so it isn’t surprising to see those ads remain. (Nor is it surprising to find a hopelessly soft editorial touch from such outlets when it comes to covering scandals like the one at Absolute.)

Still, does CardPlayer have to include Absolute Poker in its list of sites being considered in their OPOY ranking system? Do they have some advertising agreement with AP obligating them to do so? If not, they should, as CardPlayer is directing a considerable amount of traffic toward those sites whose tourneys count for its fancy pants OPOY.

For funsies, I shot an email to CardPlayer inquiring about their decision to include AP & UB in their rankings. (Hey, I am a subscriber.) No response as yet -- if one comes, I’ll append it here.

Meanwhile, best of luck to all of this year’s competitors. Here’s hoping you get through the year without having to dodge too many superusers, multi-accounters, or colluders.

Then again, maybe those are precisely the folks who go for things like the Online Poker Player of the Year . . . ? (Too cynical? Srry . . . .)

[EDIT (added 2/27/08): Finally got a answer from CardPlayer on 2/25. Here is an excerpt:

“In our role as an objective media source, it is not our place to tell players what to think about a poker site. We published several stories on the Absolute situation to alert the public and will continue to provide as much up to date, substantiated information about all poker sites as possible. Ultimately, it is up to the poker-playing public to decide whether or not to patronize the business at that point.”

So not everyone sees the decision to include Absolute Poker in the Online Poker Player of the Year race as implicitly supporting (indeed, promoting) that online poker site. All a matter of how one views these things, I suppose . . . .

Meanwhile, for more on that claim of objectivity, see my 2/20/08 post “On Poker Mags.”]



Blogger Christian said...

I don't know how many other pros share this viewpoint but Rizen explains why he still plays at AP here. While us average joes can't fathom why anyone who knows about the AP scandal would still play there, online pros (or at least this one) see too much value there to pass up.

2/05/2008 4:54 PM  
Blogger OhCaptain said...

I'm not much of a fan of "Of the Year" awards. I find them as important as the Oscars, the Tonys or my personal favorite - The American Music Awards.

I'm not surprised by CardPlayer, they get a significant portion of their ad revenue come from these sites.

To me, the best measure of a poker player is winning the WSOP HORSE event or even bigger...winning a Mookie ;-)

Great job! I can't wait to hear the response from CardPlayer. I see they are members of the PPSN. Even Kristin Arnet is their.

2/05/2008 9:49 PM  

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