The poker community had a golden opportunity to peer inside the inner workings of a licensed US online poker room when Bill Rini, the current head of online poker at WSOP.com, created an AMA (Ask Me Anything) thread at PocketFives.com last week.
You can read the entire thread here.
Below are some highlights from the discussion.
When asked about WSOP.com’s plans for future promotions, Rini responded:
What I can say is that I spent several hours this week in meetings focused on what we can offer people in terms of ways to qualify for WSOP packages and what we’ll have available to WSOP.com players at the event. But I’ll hold off saying more until we lock down specifics and make the announcements.
Rini stressed that WSOP.com is “aiming to have ways to earn seats other than just winning a satellite.” And, as Rini reminded readers in the thread, WSOP.com “will be the only site where players can earn WSOP seats.”
Rini in response to a question regarding Sheldon Adelson’s push for a ban on online gambling:
I think Adelson has his right to his opinion but facts are facts. The best way to counter his arguments is to demonstrate them not to be true.
I don’t think he’ll be very effective in the long run. The ship has already sailed. When online poker could be talked about in the abstract, it was much easier to make various claims about potential disasters. Now that it’s out there it’s much easier to show that many of those fears are unwarranted and-or exaggerated.
Bill was also asked about PokerStars’ New Jersey license application being suspended by the NJ Division of Gaming Enforcement and offered his reasons for agreeing with the DGE’s decision:
Geesh, that’s a dangerous question.
You can go back to what I was writing in 2006 and 2007 and see that I always felt their decision to continue operating in the US was going to come back and bite them one day. I said the same thing about Full Tilt even though I had worked there and had many friends there. And, yes, when I said those things they were not warmly received by many people but I’ve always felt that for this industry to move forward, everything has to be aboveboard. You can’t disregard laws you don’t agree with.
I say that so that my answer doesn’t seem to be solely driven by the fact that I work for the WSOP.
I think it’s a good decision. I applaud the DGE for considering all of the facts involved in the issue and arriving at a decision that I personally believe, ultimately, will be of the greatest benefit to the poker community.
On the topic of geo-location, Rini had some interesting insights into the scale and scope of the difficulties facing operators in New Jersey:
The geolocation failure rate in NV is higher than the failure rate in NJ. I think the problem appears greater due to the greater number of people who live in NJ vs. NV. Percentage-wise, it’s a different story.
The biggest issue in NJ is that you have many more people living near the borders and more people who live in rural areas that are not near other wifi networks. As far as the borders go, that is a decision made by the DGE in terms of how close they drew the digital borders. I’m sure as they become more confident in the accuracy of the technology they’ll adapt the rules accordingly
Overall, the Q&A was a relatively short affair.
There was one slightly contentious exchange when one poster was dissatisfied with Bill’s response to the recent WSOP.com tournament flub, although the person who originally asked the question seemed satisfied with the answer.