Saturday, February 26, 2011

Greg Raymer is No Longer a PokerStar

Greg Raymer is No Longer a PokerStar

I ran across an article that Greg Raymer and PokerStars split company. The speculation is that PokerStars is cutting back its support of World Series of Poker winners as they focus more on non-US pros and online winners.

First, I've never played against Greg Raymer. Second, from watching him play on TV, Greg appears to be an excellent player who enjoys putting pressure on his opponents whether he has the goods or not. Of course, the best evidence of his skill is his winning the 2004 World Series of Poker. Third, he seems like a really nice guy and I am sure he will end up getting his support from another online poker site.

And, that's my problem. Online poker sites should not be paying star players to play at their sites. If they want poker stars to appear in their ads or promotions, that is fine. But, to give them money to play at their site is just cheating the game, and the players at the site.

I don't blame the players for taking the money. Heck, no matter how good a poker player you are, you are going to have long stretches of losing your money. But, giving players an edge like this, especially the "pros," is just wrong IMHO.

Personal Experience Being Sponsored, sort of.

I would like to come up with an analogy that helps illustrate my point, but I don't have one. Poker is gambling. It is skill and luck. And, the combination of these two ingredients weighs heavier on the "luck" factor than any other sporting competition I can think of.

Players who don't care about the money are going to play different than if the money was coming out of their own pocket. At least that is what I have found in my own play.

For example, I was visiting a friend and he said that he wanted to see me play a poker tournament at a local casino. I guess he gave me grief because I had a book on tournament poker, and he wanted to get a good laugh when some young kid knocked me out. I told him I wasn't interested in playing.

To convince me to play, though, he made me an offer I couldn't refuse. He would give me the buy-in for the event and I could keep whatever I won. I didn't realize it at the time, but that is the kind of deal these poker stars get from the online poker sites.

Of course, I took him up on his offer, and entered the event. I guess it was a psychological thing or something, because I took more chances than I normally would do in a poker tournament. I'd like to say I won the event, but I didn't win. I finished second.

This was not some major poker tournament. It was a local game with maybe 100 players. And, my friend thought some of my all-in moves were too risky. Maybe, probably, actually, yes for sure! Why? I wasn't gambling at all. I had no risk. I wasn't using my money.

Oh yeah, let me share with you how I got knocked out at the end...I am ashamed to say that I tried to bluff out my opponent pre-flop when he was holding pocket Kings. Now you know why I'm not sponsored by a poker site :-)

My point to all of this is that online poker sites should not be influencing the results of any poker event. But, by paying poker pros to play at their sites, they are doing precisely that. Pay these stars to promote your site in all the other traditional marketing ways--from PR to advertising to promotion. Just not in a way that effects the outcome of the actual events where everyone else is risking their hard earned money.

If you agree, please let me know. If you disagree, I am sure I will read your comments.

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Jonathan said...

yeah. I agree. I'm not sure things will change even if your opinion is shared by the majority because its such a cost effective way for the sites to sponsor players.

But there can be little argument that it does influence the game. Anyone who has played a freeroll will know that.

Mitchell Cogert said...

Thanks for the feedback!

I did not know that other players agreed with my opinion on this topic.

I did not know anyone else is up this early in the am on a Saturday.


Vera said...

I agree as well. The sponsored pros don't just play online though. So all the live tourneys the site wants them to play in is paid for as well.
Although they may have lots of pressure on them to place well or risk being dumped.
I think paying them a fee for wearing the logo or other advertisement is fine. Maybe give them 100% rake back but let it be their money that they play with. If you check Full Tilt you will see a couple of pros always playing in the micro stakes. I heard they get paid by the hour to play so what they are doing is cheating that system. They play .01/.02 or .05/.10 and make I think $16 an hour (that's what I heard, could be more) They are there way too much that they must have family or friends (or God forbid a bot) playing for them.

Mitchell Cogert said...

Great points, Vera!

Yeah, the same issue carries through to the live tourneys and the micro online games.

As to the pressure. I don't know about how much pressure there is in that situation. Especially since it sounds like a free roll to me.

Steve said...

I agree with you. If we are going to be equal at the game then I say let them post the money. I asked WSOP Academy to sponsor me, an amateur, playing at local casinos to advertise for them. Nothing doing. Lets be equal.

Mitchell Cogert said...

Steve, one day the WSOP Academy is going to regret that decision!

Thanks for your comments.

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