The discussions are always vibrant on the poker forums when it comes to which poker sites are best. I think that it all depends on what you are looking for and your own individual situation. If you want to multi-table and want good rakeback and good games then your needs will be different to the players who just want a good PLO game at $100 and above.
I have been watching Full Tilt Poker a fair bit over the past few months and I can only relate what I have learned. When people say that online poker sites have become tougher then they are generalizing. You may not have the absolute novices playing for decent stakes like you did five years ago but value comes in different shapes and sizes.
Full Tilt Poker does seem to be one of the best sites out there with regards to the average skill level and that is probably to do with their overall calibre and the deals that they have with respected coaching sites. But when a player says that a site is getting tougher I want to know what type of player is actually saying that.
You may see some online pro that has been making $100k a year complaining about tougher games and short-stackers but does that mean that the game is going full steam ahead towards Armageddon? I don’t think so and a close observation of Full Tilt Poker has only hardened my view. FTP offers a 27% rakeback and when you couple this with great software and plenty of action then the site is always going to be popular.
But just how good are players who multi-table? One might answer that they are often the best in the world, just look at Tom Dwan. But how many players fit into that category? I haven’t played on FTP in ages but I was sitting with a colleague a few months ago who played NL400 and watched him take a multi-tabling respected Red Pro to pieces. My friend simply single tabled and found a couple of spots that he could profit from.
Well actually the term “to pieces” may be a wild exaggeration because the Pro was still playing a very solid game despite playing so many tables. With good rakeback deals and huge action multi-tabling is going to be the norm for many players. However, you simply cannot play your A game playing multiple tables. Obviously you are hoping that your B game is good enough to increase your hourly rate if you can replicate your B game or your C+ game on many other tables.
The fact is though that your A game may not be good enough to compete with the A game of someone else but if they are playing their C+ game due to multi-tabling while you are on your A game then you are in business. If you want to multi-table and get rakeback like everyone else your C+ or B game may not be enough to win unless you are an exceptional multi-tabler then.
So if you want to argue about FullTilt Poker or any other site getting harder then what do you expect if you are doing the same as everyone else? If you are constantly playing your default game and looking for rakeback and playing slightly tighter ranges then you are in serious danger of replicating too many other players.
The fact is that a player could be the best in the world but if the best in the world is playing too many tables then a lesser player will beat them. This principle is akin to a Chess Grandmaster who does a simultaneous exhibition. They may play 50 or even 100 players at the same time. Usually there will be at least one or two players who either beat the Grandmaster or get a draw with them.
These are results that simply would not have happened had the Grandmaster been concentrating and focusing on only one game at a time or even three or four. I remember a few years ago, the then reigning World Chess Champion Gary Kasparov and probably the greatest ever player played a match against six very strong players from the USA where he played all six players simultaneously. The players ranged from Masters to International Masters.
They were all top quality players but none of them could have so much as drawn with Kasparov if they played him head on. Kasparov won the match 4-2 but he lost one and drew two of the games. So the lessons here are clear, when players who are technically your equal (or better) are multi-tabling then there is definite value switching to single tables and compensating by playing at a higher level. To find value you must adjust and then re-adjust.
Carl "The Dean" Sampson can be seen at his blog http://www.pokersharkpool.com