A huge row has erupted on social media over a popular poker training tool provider deciding to remove a time delay. The change is thought to be a dangerous move for online poker as it will more easily facilitate real-time assistance by unethical players.
Who Needs to Take Responsibility?The ongoing threat of real-time assistance (RTA) in online poker has raised a critical question - who is responsible for detecting and preventing cheating in the online poker space? This question sparked a heated debate amongst several prominent players. The controversy centred around Odin Poker's decision to remove its 20-second delay, which many critics believed will encourage cheating by allowing users to see outputs in real-time and make optimal decisions.
Odin and Prometheus Poker founder Rory Young defended his reasoning for making the unpopular change, claiming that other poker training tools have always operated without a delay. He also pointed out that he had tried to negotiate a gentleman's agreement with other GTO software providers to agree on having the same delay on their respective products, but no deal was forthcoming.
"No one got back to me. People responded, but they basically said, 'No, not interested.' And then despite this, I still chose to keep on the delay for nearly two years, obviously to the detriment of revenue and customer (user experience) and everything."
Odin is a poker training software that offers unique GTO simulations to help players analyse different boards and betting actions. The software launched in July 2021 and had a large marketing presence at the 2021 World Series of Poker, even picking up a high-profile ambassador in Fedor Holz who over a month ago switched to promoting rival product GTO Wizard.
In its first two years on the market, Odin operated with a 20-second delay to prevent RTA. However, on Feb. 28, Odin removed the delay, causing an uproar amongst some poker players and fellow training site operators who felt that the decision prioritised profit over the integrity of the game.
Young defended his decision, stating that the delay was causing user experience problems and with no deal possible he was simply following suit with the rest of the industry.
Vanessa Kade took a more balanced view: “I think you're all equally the problem. That doesn't absolve you though just because others are doing it. It's important to act ethically regardless of what everyone else is doing. That's why people have so much respect for people and companies who consistently make an effort to do the right thing - when it's not just lip service it often has a real personal cost and the reason it's hard is *because* it puts the welfare of the community above your own self-interest.”
Aussie pro Kahle Burns was unimpressed with the change and declined to continue promoting the product.
Vegas Slots Online reached out to Matt Berkey and K.L. Cleeton following a podcast in which the pair discussed real-time assistance being online poker’s biggest threat.
Berkey said: “I think my opinion has quickly turned on these companies. As an industry, we pretend to hold integrity to the highest standards, and it’s true, having integrity in this industry will get you respect amongst your peers. But in honesty, our history is riddled with the lowest integrity people collecting the biggest pieces of the pie.
“I feel that this is often because we are expected to self-police due to no regulatory oversight and the general disregard at the operator level of widespread issues, such as RTA.”
Cleeton added: “My real thoughts are not fit for printing, but what I will say is these companies are murdering the ecosystem for short-term profit. Also, there are smart people behind these companies and they absolutely know what they’re doing. They’re complicit in cheating and should be treated no different than Ali or Jake.”