I’d always been a bit leery of Bodog, mostly because of the way Bodog pushes the “image” thing a bit harder than most. Sure, all sites target that younger male demographic, but Bodog always struck me as trying just a bit too hard. I remember back in January CardPlayer had one of those advertisement-slash-features on Bodog’s owner and CEO, Calvin Ayre, identifying Ayre as “poker’s lifestyle architect.” The article (by ex-Circuit host Scott Huff) breathlessly described the “adrenaline charged world of the Bodog Entertainment Group,” lauding Ayre as a “true renaissance man” out there “living the Bodog lifestyle.” What the hell is this, I thought. Not looking for a lifestyle, really. Just want to play some cards.
Then there were the ads, all promoting this tough-guy, “We Don’t Believe in Fear” folderol that must appeal to somebody somewhere. The faux-Jay-Z-ish “New American Dream” campaign (“They Gave Me Their Money, Their Dignity, and Some Bling . . . This Pimped Out Ride Was an Added Bonus”). The varietes of “poker predators” prowling around the poker “jungle” (the Ringer, the Wildcard, and, of course, the most envied of the lot, the Founder). The Freudian directive to “play hard.” The silly self-censoring (“No Bullsh#!t”). And so forth.
Speaking of advertising, I’m not so sure Bodog doesn’t believe in fear. Check out these two, nearly identical ads that have recently appeared in CardPlayer. Notice any difference?
Bodog recently announced their plan to to censor themselves right out of the American advertising landscape, actually.
(See Falstaff's Poker Works article.) They’re not going to block U.S. customers, apparently.
But they are no longer going to solicit them, either.
Can’t say I’ll miss the ads, which always struck me as more than a little adolescent. For me, the stories and ads together together formed this impression of Bodog being a goofy, not entirely well-adjusted teenaged boy. Sort of like that dude who sat in the back row during study hall. Must’ve flunked a grade somewhere along the way, ’cause he was older than everyone else. Maturity-wise, though, he was still a step or two behind. Dressed and acted tough, but was mostly harmless, and in fact turned out to be kind of a jokester once you got to know him. Could easily be talked into all sorts of transgressive behaviors. Tell him to hide the chalk and erasers, he’d do it. Thumbtacks in the teacher’s seat? He’s your man. Plant a centerfold on the rolled up map of the world at the front of the class? Bodog’ll do it. He doesn’t believe in fear . . . . (At least that what he’s always saying.)
How does the site play? Well, I’ve only logged a few hundred hands so far, but I’ll go ahead and say the interface is terrific -- best layout and feel of any of the sites except for Poker Stars, in my opinion. Not crazy about the multitable view, but I’ve only been playing one at a time here as of late so that’s not so much of an issue for me at present. I’m also not at all happy with the way Bodog handles hand histories. Unlike every other site on which I’ve ever played, Bodog does not save them to a file on the hard drive. That means I cannot import the hands into Poker Tracker (or use Poker Ace, which I’m currently trying out) unless I do some additional monkey business with the CPU. I could install yet another program -- something called “Dogwatch” -- which apparently doesn’t function unless I also install Microsoft .NET Framework Version 2.0. Too much extra hassle for me . . . I’ll just have to fly without a net when I play on Bodog, I think.
Have tried a couple of low buy-in SNGs. They have some novel payout structures for these -- e.g., a 10-player $3.50+$0.30 SNG that pays $26.95 to the top spot, with second and third each getting $3.85; a 10-player $4.00+$0.40 SNG that spreads out cashes among the top five spots ($12, $10, $8, $6, and $4). Tried the latter variety and cashed both times I played (a second and a fourth). Don’t know if I like those structures better or not, but they are different.
We’ll see if Bodog bails on us Yanks here in the new year or sticks it out. Meanwhile, I’ll continue with this experiment. Speaking of experiments, I’ve taken a woman’s name as my screen name on Bodog -- probably an unconscious response to all that “lifestyle” applesauce. None of those predators has tried to hit on me yet. Maybe once I’ve uploaded a photo . . . .
Labels: *on the street