There are many that believe online poker is perfect as it is today. Bringing the game from the poker table (or even dinner table) to the computer indeed was a significant step forward, but there’s always room for improvement with anything. But, with online poker, where are the things that you could improve?
Some have said that you could improve by making the game three-dimensional, but every one of those efforts has looked false in its presentation. You can come up with new games, but everyone is trying to find the next “Texas Hold’em.” How about utilizing something that is pretty much on every computer nowadays to improve the product – the computer camera, putting live faces to the online play?
It’s Been Tried Before
Many years ago, both the 3D and the cameras aspect were tried. In fact, there was a 3D poker site, True Poker, as early as 2004. The more popular online site, PKR, would last until 2017, and “3D poker” does continue to exist in fits and starts in other arenas. But the usage of cameras has been overlooked, for the most part.
According to James McGeorge, the host of the Twitch program It’s Not Luck Poker, 888Poker has been one of those sites that used the webcams in the past. “When they were a feature on 888, half the fields used to turn them off or cover them,” McGeorge reminisced. “I used to play a lot of cam tournaments…they were great fun, especially with other players using them. There’s a lot of “face pulling” that goes on and daft joking about that really makes it fun.”
But the usage of the webcam hasn’t caught on, nor has an online poker site tried to push for its usage.
Online webcam usage for online poker would present a whole new tactic to online poker. It would present the live element of looking for facial reads – true, not always reliable, but useful sometimes – that would be presented by a player. They would also give out the fact that someone might be “tilting” from simply seeing someone’s face. And let’s be honest – poker is more fun when you can see who you are playing against.
What ended the usage of the cams? McGeorge thinks that there might have been an issue with the server costs for processing the video images, but he also believes the players had a hand in the issue. “Sadly, too many were just covering their cameras…888 should have jumped on that behaviour from the start and just locked people out of play who covered their cams. It should have been mandatory as part of the T&Cs (Terms & Conditions).”
Pros and Cons of Webcams in Online Poker
There’s plenty that might concern players when it comes to webcam usage in poker. Everyone is very attune to computer security nowadays and giving access to the webcam for online poker might not be a bridge that players want to cross. There are also the “rules” that would go into the usage of the webcams by online poker sites. Just what would they do with the video that comes in, for example?
On the other side, there would be several good points to using a webcam in your online poker site. A website would be able to confirm (at least in the camera) that a player is playing solo and, if they see a player looking at other devices and/or other people, they might be able to prove they were using software or “ghosting,” or having another person(s) watch and suggest plays while you are in action.
Then there comes the punishment for violating the rules…disqualified from the tournament? Tossed from the cash game? It would take a great deal of thought to balance out the usage of the cameras, the rights of the players and the security of the situation.
For his part, McGeorge would like to see the webcams return. “I’d suggest that online poker sites make it mandatory,” he said. “It could make the use of solvers a little more obvious and kill issues like ghosting. It should be mandatory and lead to an instant DQ if not used.”
It would definitely present a new world for online poker, but would players enjoy it? That is the bottom line for online poker sites, naturally, and they’re not going to offer something that either offends their customers or that they won’t use. Therefore, the usage of webcams once again in poker, especially by such major players as PokerStars, 888Poker (again) or even WSOP.com, probably isn’t going to happen, at least anytime soon.