Webcam Poker: Hitting the Nuts or a Bad Beat?

Online Poker | estimated reading time
2011. February 16.
Introducing webcams to online poker has been being debated for some time in the poker community; some online rooms have already launched their tables utilizing this feature. Will the rooms hit the nuts with webcams or will it experience a bad beat from players holding on to their freedom and privacy?
With webcams, players are able to watch each other’s facial expressions, making online poker a much more personal experience and thus more similar to live games. In addition, the technology has several advantages, according to its supporters, primarily from a security point of view: bots, for example, do not have faces, forcing those who use them to show their own, sitting there during sessions. Even more notably, multi-accounting would virtually be impossible on webcam tables.

“Don't know how many people want to see me in my underwear, eating cheetohs. But if that's what I have to do to stop botting and multiaccounting, then sign me up,” was one of the more supportive remarks, posted by Heliflopter on 2+2. The vast majority, however, disagrees with the idea (only 15% of players support it, according to 2+2’s poll), at least as long as it is not optional only.



Many prefer the personal aspects of poker, but even more do not; they’d rather play exclusively in the safety of their homes, anonymous. Interestingly, the most problematic part seems to be chat roulette, especially nudity: “so people are gonna see me half naked drinking cofee while i 3b them. no” (theplux). Actually, introducing webcams to poker tables would undoubtedly come with strict regulations. For instance, PokerView.com (the non-PokerStars room, at which Daniel Negreanu seems to have played recently, see above) has the following Webcam Rules:

“WEBCAM ON FACE - Your face must be visible on the webcam at ALL TIMES while you are dealt in a hand. Webcams pointed at the floor, wall, body, toys, or blank screens are UNACCEPTABLE. You will be given a warning by an admin to adjust your webcam, if you don’t comply immediately your account will be suspended and possibly terminated.

ABSOLUTELY NO NUDITY - Players who transmit themselves naked will be blocked immediately and permanently banned from PokerView. NO EXCEPTIONS!

Hats – Are allowed as long as your face can be seen clearly.

Sunglasses – Are allowed.”

Bromsoft WebCam
This is what you are not allowed to do at PokerView.com. Photo courtesy of Bromsoft.

In addition, they warn that “Players who repeatedly break PokerView Webcam Rules face the risk of having their account temporarily suspended and/or permanently banned.” Fair enough, although having “player webcams monitored at all times,” as they state, must be a great burden indeed. Moreover, too many regulations are likely to kill the actual characteristics of online poker, including swearing once in a while after a bad beat or the ability to play in a room messy after last night’s house party.

At any rate, we believe the ultimate response to the question is most probably Dark_Mace’s (whose privacy would be highly endangered, was it not for 2+2’s lack of webcam support): “And while we are at it, everyone should also be required to shower, brush their teeth, wear clothes and behave like human beings...... LOL....we are poker players not people. Stop being stupid with webcam idea.”

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