Monday, December 20, 2004

2004 Best of...Worst of (Poker Forums)

I thought about doing some best of, worst of posts for the year of 2004. I don't have much else to do, save a hopeful trip to Phoenix later this week, having found out that there is a 15/30 mixed game at Fort McDowell which sounds promising.

Anyway, I guess I'll ease into this thing. If I just jump into the "worst of..." regarding bloggers, I'm sure to get a ton of hate mail. So I'll pick on the poker forums first, then maybe follow it up with poker rooms.

Best Online Poker Forums:

Two Plus Two (2+2)

David Sklansky and Mason Malmuth started 2+2. They began an online poker discussion group back in 1996 and it is over 25,000 strong today (not including lurkers). Some highly skilled professionals post on 2+2, some from the early days (like Greg Raymer). 2+2 does not tolerate a lot of abuse, spamming or inappropriate posts. They are not "censored to prevent posters from disagreeing with the authors," as some have suggested. I have seen Sklansky, Malmuth, Zee, Miller and Schoonmaker all raked over the coals in my time.

This is the very best place for high limit and highly skilled poker discussion, bar none.
The Hendon Mob

Although there are a lot of off-topic posts, and the set-up is not up to snuff, there are some fabulous posts on THM. Top European players regularly post there, as well as some of the brightest and best unknowns in the poker world.

Brits aren't afraid to tackle even the toughest issues surrounding poker. THM is where you will find discussions including rake, juice, cheating and other of today's most pressing poker topics.
Worst Online Poker Forums:

United Poker Forum

Once UPF was one of my favorite haunts. Then somehow Cooke and Caro stepped back, allowing a self admitted lunatic to take over their forum (Adam the Expert). When legitimate posters realized that nothing would be done about the quality of the posts on UPF, they, too spiraled into a free-for-all of flaming. All day, every day, constant, unchecked flaming ensues at UPF. The best posters have been silenced, and have either left the forum or rarely post anymore. Such a waste.
Victory Poker

VP was always about friendship and camaraderie in poker. In-depth discussions were rare and often ignored. Posters would rather gossip about players and other posters. There was a nice bond of players for a while, but then they allowed a man named Edward to take over their forum, a la UPF. Another man who talked about being institutionalized in order to excuse his behavior, Edward posts were racist, sexist and completely off color. Not many could escape the wrath of Edward, so the owners and/or moderators finally just gave up and allowed him the forum altogether.

I have since heard that Edward was finally given the boot by VP, but I heard that at least two dozen times in two years, so I just chuckled and said, "um hmm."
Wednesday Poker Discussion Group

Never have I seen an online group that contrasted so badly with it's live counterpart.

Several years ago, Dr. Schoonmaker and Dave Adams were living in Atlantic City and formed the WPDG. The group was relocated to Las Vegas and has remained there since. It is a strong live group, with great discussions, but the online group turns into a flaming frenzy due to one poster, Timmer, who is allowed to remain on the group despite repeated threats of physical violence and an overall personality which reeks of criminal insanity. This provokes ongoing flame wars, which leaves the group disjointed and broken.

Although there are some excellent discussions in the online group, the overall feeling is one of, "Who will Timmer attack next? Will it be me, and if so, will the group just hang me out to dry like they have everyone else he has attacked?"

Why they allow this behavior is beyond me, but then I see the above groups, both which prominently feature an insane poster, and I guess that is something common in most online discussion forums which aren't heavily moderated.

RGP deserves a best AND a worst award. Most of it is pure junk, because it is not moderated and so huge. But the best posts in poker will also be found at RPG, if one looks hard enough. Buried deep within mountains of trash, a bit of gold will be discovered here and there. It is also the fastest group to announce winners of big tournaments, other poker news and gossip. RGP posters usually post these things days before they will be seen on 2+2 or other groups.
So there you have it. Not my best writing, nor did I do a ton of research (haha), but I have kept up on the forums, and investigated many others that do a good job, but simply aren't big enough to compete. Poker Clan is a good forum, as is Andy Bloch's WPT fan site. Internet Texas HE is a good forum, whereas Gutshot has taken a dive in the past year. I could literally review 100 or more forums, but you have the best of the best, in my opinion, and also the worst.

The main theme in the worst is the presence of one or two "bad apples" who are allowed to take over the forum and completely ruin the tone of the group. Perhaps those forums could recover, given the right circumstances.

The best are forums which are moderated heavily, not allowing spam, out of control flaming and constant off-topic posts.

There you go. Enjoy!