A Sunday afternoon with some free time on my hands and I found myself thinking of ways to fix some of the problems associated with poker.
I should be working on my game, trying to plug the leaks that caused me to bubble my last two tournaments. But instead, my thoughts turn to the concerns of others and how best to solve them. Here, then, are three ideas that I’d like to toss out there.
Bank of Poker
Daniel Negreanu had his Bank of America accounts closed because the bank wanted nothing to do with a customer who earns his living at the poker table. Many of us in the poker industry find this appalling! Daniel did nothing illegal while earning his millions, he’s just an awesome poker player!
One of the poker sites that I used to write for that’s located abroad also had similar issues with regard to making payments simply because “poker” was part of the company name. A change of banks was required in that instance as well.
Somebody should open a “Bank of Poker” in the U.S. that would cater to poker players and those who make a living in a capacity related to the game. Roll out the red carpet for KidPoker and other high rollers! We’re talking millions and millions of dollars from potential patrons.
The main branch would be in Las Vegas, of course. You wouldn’t have to be affiliated with poker to be a customer. But the bank should let poker players and other industry veterans know that they are more than welcome!
Insurance for Unregulated Poker Sites
Far be it for me to suggest that anybody located in the U.S. should play at unregulated poker sites. But let’s face it, U.S. players who aren’t living in the regulated states want to play online poker too! The problem is, your money is not safe on such sites. Just ask any former UltimateBet or Lock Poker player.
How about an insurance company that charges monthly premiums and guarantees to pay off your account balance if something should go wrong at poker rooms like Americas Cardroom and Bovada? There would likely have to be a cap on the amount guaranteed – say a few thousand dollars or so.
But wouldn’t that give U.S. players piece of mind knowing that they are insured in case the DoJ decides to step in? Or if the site owners suddenly disappear with player account balances? Wouldn’t you pay $14.99 or so a month for such insurance?
Of course, a better solution is federally regulated online poker throughout the U.S. But there is no sign of that happening in the near (or distant) future.
If you want to know more about what states are doing to regulate online poker, check out January’s U.S. online poker legalization recap.
Attracting Recreational Players
Online poker needs more recreational players in order to keep a proper balance of skill levels at the tables. Where do you find those players? At the free-play poker sites!
The free-play online poker rooms are loaded with players who play for fun and entertainment. What keeps them from depositing and playing for real money? Probably a bunch of reasons, one of which is likely the belief that they are not good enough.
I would first appeal to the free-play players who are obviously winners. Send them emails stating things like, “You’re one of our top play-money players. Your win rate is phenomenal! Don’t you think it’s time to make the move to real-money online poker and use your obvious skills to make some money?”
Then send a few bucks their way to get them started. How about a short coaching session via email with one of the site’s team pros? Let the player know he is good and can get better! Turn that play-money champ into a real-money player!