I'm a high stakes live player living in the US. Previously, I played a lot online but have hardly done so since Black Friday. Nevertheless, I continue to maintain my game using PIO, Monker, this site and the like. I've recently been trying my hand at Bovada.
Going into it, I had reservations about whether the site works the way its supposed to. Having played on it, my views have only been reinforced.
Admittedly, I have made money. Nevertheless, I remain very concerned.
My first observation is that the quality of play is very low in both zoom games and mid stakes NL and PLO games, lower than I anticipated in fact. A lot of my winnings seem to be the result of blatant mistakes on my opponent, mistakes that I might not even expect from fish in bigger live games. Given my impression of online games generally, I was expecting these games to be tougher. I don't know how a lot of players would survive were they to come up against tough pros. This to me implies that these games are not viable in the long term. Therefore, it makes me suspicious of another prominent trend on the site.
Now, I don't currently have tracking software and even if I did, I'm not sure it would work on Bovada. That said, I'm very used to variance, even the online variety. Still, the frequency of preflop coolers I've experienced since my initial winning period seems extraordinary high in the NL zoom games, especially in situations where they're entirely unavoidable. For instance, I've faced the situation: BU open SB (me) three bet, BB cold call (which happens a lot on this site) and BU jam; many times on the site and every time I've had QQ and the BU has had AA. Since it's zoom I don't always get to see what the BB cold called with (although in generally it seems to be a wide variety of hands). I've also faced the situation the of AK vs AA CO vs BU or CU vs SB where I have AK and my opponent has AA. Notably, my opponents always jams in these situations as well, which is not consistent with theory and invariably ends up costing me more than I might otherwise lose. I have not won a single one of these spots despite the fact that I've faced them more than a dozen times within a few sessions. Although it happens far less frequently that I have preflop coolers against my opponents I definitely have held far less than 80% of the time. Very likely less than 50%, in fact. These trends seem blatant enough for me to call foul. Add that to the fact that I think the play is too weak to be viable in the long term and I see a lot of incentive to ensure that new players or weaker players are distributed favorable situations, particularly when they initially start playing.
This is the first time I've really thought about calling foul on a site; and I had previously played on Absolute (as well, of course, as PokerStars and Full Tilt). I'm typically less paranoid than most but feel it's prominent enough for me to reconsider playing. I'd very much appreciate any informed opinions.