A Twitter poll conducted by UK poker player Patrick Leonard reveals the vast majority of poker players are unethical. While the Twitter poll is by no means scientific or highly accurate, it does provide an interesting insight as to how most online poker players would respond to different scenarios.
The first question in the poll asked players what they would do if their opponent disconnected from an online game.
The two response choices were (a) to sit out and wait or (b) steal the blinds. An incredible 83% of the 7,531 responses said they would consider stealing the blinds. Only 17% would opt to wait for their opponent to return.
Other players justified their answers, with one person saying it is part of the game, while another said it is okay to rob the blinds because it is an online game.
You're playing heads up in a tournament, your opponent disconnects, what do you do and comment why if you feel strongly either way.
— Patrick Leonard (@plenopads) November 3, 2018
The second question asked players what their reaction would be if their favourite poker site encountered a manual error that paid them an additional 25% rakeback. There were three responses to choose from – (a) to tell the website something went wrong, (b) to continue playing normally, or (c)to rake in as much as possible. Out of 1,148 respondents, 56% chose the third option, 32% would continue to play normally, while only 12% felt morally compelled to tell the site about the error.
You find out that your favourite poker site has manual error on your account where they pay extra 25% rakeback
— Patrick Leonard (@plenopads) November 5, 2018
For the third scenario, players were asked if they would take advantage in the event that their opponent disconnected from a heads-up sit-and-go game (HUSNG), leaving 4 other games open. Players could respond through a YES or a NO. A total of 2, 517 players responded and the majority (56%) said YES, though a backup connection would come in handy when playing online poker.
You are playing heads up against a player in a HUSNG and he disconnects, he’s sitting 4 other games open, do you sit those tables to steal that ev too? If you don’t somebody will, maybe he would vs you too
— Patrick Leonard (@plenopads) November 4, 2018
Online Poker Has Changed Player Ethics
To sum it up, majority of the respondents to Leonard’s Twitter poll admitted to unethical behaviours. The results greatly surprised a number of prominent poker players, including American poker pro Mike Matusow. The four-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner said it was pretty disgrace to see that there are so many unethical players in the game today.
The ethical level of today’s generation of players is comparably lower than those of the past. One of the reasons for that is a decade or so ago, most online players played for fun and recreation. But things are different today – online poker has become an opportunity for players to win massive sums of money.
While a certain lack of ethics is normal in any environment, polls like this put the game of poker into question and prove that some players are willing to lower their moral standards as long as they can win.