Bodog: Our Network Employs “Absolutely No” Segregation Technology
The Bodog Poker Network, which is home to both the Bodog and Bovada online poker brands, recently clarified their policy regarding player segregation on their network.
While segregation is becoming more and more common at competing rooms, the Bodog Poker Network’s official policy on separating players by skill, account age or any other metric is simple: the network employs “absolutely no” segregation of any kind.
Bodog representative clarified the issue in response to player questions
The announcement was made by a Bodog representative on the TwoPlusTwo discussion forums as part of a general question and answer session about Bodog and Bovada.
A player asked if player segregation was the reason that player levels seemed to dip and grow at the network with U.S. peak times.
The representative from Bodog was emphatic and unequivocal in their response, making it clear that there is “absolutely” not a segregation policy in place at the network, and further clarifying that all players from all skins participate in exactly the same player pool.
Segregation remains controversial topic among online poker players
One of the reasons the representative from Bodog was so eager to be be direct on the issue is because segregation remains a very controversial topic among online poker players.
Some players believe segregation to be a necessary evil, recognizing that many casual players need a bit of space in order to get settled in their online poker experience. If these players sit down only to be pounced upon mercilessly by more experienced players, many of whom have the benefit of advanced tools that help them identify and exploit unknown players, then the new players are likely to lose quickly and may decide not to return.
Segregation, the argument goes, “protects” these players until they’re a bit more prepared to tangle with those playing online for a living.
But on the other side of the spectrum are players who feel like segregation goes against the basic ethic of poker – players pitting themselves against other players. Opponents of segregation policies also like to point out that protecting players doesn’t necessarily protect their bankrolls – after all, there are significant skill disparities between inexperienced players.
Finally, opponents argue, separating new or weak players from the player pool only has the effect of creating a new “weak” class at the bottom of the non-protected player pool – namely, those regular players who relied on access to new and weak players in order to stay profitable themselves.
Several major rooms employing some sort of segregation policy
The issue is far beyond a hypothetical one. Several rooms across various segments of the online poker industry employ some form of segregation.
Party Poker, for example, has admitted to employing a formula that limits the games players can access based on some (unknown) assessment of their skill and experience. Players will also find similar policies in place at the Revolution Poker Network, where skins such as Intertops will display a much different lobby that skins such as Lock Poker. The Merge Poker Network – headed by Carbon Poker – employs a similar policy from skin to skin.
Even Full Tilt Poker employs a “soft” form of segregation via their “New to the Game” tables for cash game and tournament play, which are limited to new players who can access them for a certain number of hands or entered tournaments.
Questions about the prevalence of similar policies once online gambling is regulated
With the growing prevalence of player segregation in the international market, many are wondering exactly how the issue will impact the rapidly regulating American market for online poker.
For example, Party has already struck a deal with land-based gaming concern Boyd that will see Party provide the platform expertise for the pair’s online poker and casino product. Will segregation be one of the tactics Party carries with it across the Atlantic? And if so, should we expect other rooms to follow?