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The Changing Face of Fashion Online

Over the past few years consumers have moved in droves from shops, malls, and High Streets to the Internet. Everything from designer fashion to electronics, books, telescopes, antiques and all natural beef can be purchased online. Shopping online has even completely replaced fighting crowds during the holidays for the most enthusiastic online consumers. As online shopping and the Internet overall have become more sophisticated, online fashion brands have constantly innovated new ways to present their products to consumers.

There are several challenges to shopping for clothing online that were not immediately addressed by the first online clothing shops. How do you know how the t-shirt will fit? What will the fabric feel and drape like? How will this skirt move when I walk and bend? Would this shade of purple look good with my hair color? These questions could hardly be addressed by the simple, 2D photos of early fashion websites.

Fashion Websites Step it Up

Since shopping for clothes online isn’t easy, fashion brands have innovated several ways to enhance interaction with their products and spawn online participation and community. Now, instead of a simple 2D photo of a piece of clothing, it isn’t uncommon to see zoom in features, multiple views of the item, or even a short catwalk video showing the clothing in motion. Isabella Oliver, a designer maternity clothing brand from London, provides short catwalk videos for every product on the site. Videos like these help women get a better idea of what they are buying, reducing the amount of returns because of unmet expectations.

Another way fashion brands are reaching out to customers online is by building a community and encouraging interaction with their brand. Whether it is by starting a “behind the scenes” blog about the designers, asking for customer reviews and testimonials, placing surveys and polls on the site, or becoming present on a social network, fashion brands are engaging and listening to their customers online. This has even enabled some clothing designers to run their shops solely online. By building trust, community and providing great service, some designers need never open a traditional store.

Videos Enhance Clothing Shopping Online

Online videos have become extremely popular with the boom of YouTube and other video sharing websites. Savvy fashion brands have picked up on this and transformed the online video medium to fit their needs. Videos are a great way to show off clothing, giving hints on how to wear certain items, or illuminating the newest trends. Difficult pieces of clothing warrant how-to videos, like this short and simple clip about wrapping a maternity top that can be found on the right side of the product page.

A Look to the Future

As time goes on and shopping for fashion online becomes more prevalent, the user experience is only going to increase in quality. This is an attempt to close the gap between the experience of shopping at the store, and shopping online. The more a customer feels like they are interacting with the product through videos, community interaction, and great customer service, the less they will feel the need to actually see something in person before they purchase. As shopping for fashion online evolves, online fashion magazines that are similar to offline media may combine with interactive content like blogs and surveys to mesh traditional offline fashion information and online shopping.

Online retail is sure to continue evolving. Innovative retailers will surely begin seeing the benefit of bringing shoppers favorite offline information sources into their online storefront. Online magazines, TV shows and clips, and related fashion tips are perfect ways to blend offline and online interaction. The Internet continues to make life easier, and the savviest retail shops will take advantage of all the newest interactive possibilities.

How to Beat a Poker Bot in Online Poker

The latest rage by poker aficionados and programmers is to create and use a poker bot that will automatically play online poker with little or no human interaction, with the ultimate goal of winning money. This recent craze has alarmed both online poker sites and players as the fear of a computer program with the capacity to win online poker will essentially be able to outsmart live thinking players of their hard-earned money and eventually rob the poker sites of quality players afraid to play against so many poker bots.

A recent industry study concluded that 12% of online poker players were apprehensive about or had completely stopped playing online poker in light of the recent poker bot craze. That essentially sends players offline rather than risk their money against these new computer-generated poker bots.

However, there are several ways to beat a poker bot in online poker, and knowing these methods will certainly give the human player back the edge against poker bots. One fact that makes a poker bot a better player is that they lack the human emotion or power of reasoning that a human must use when playing online poker. A poker bot is not apt to go on ’tilt’ or get angry when they are the victims of a bad beat.

In playing online poker, human players are up against two major advantages. One is the computer generated code created by the poker sites to determine shuffles, deals and outcomes of a hand, while the other disadvantage, just as dangerous to your bankroll, is the poker bot, that is pre-programmed with all the statistics and probabilities of the game.

Nevertheless, you can use the computer-generated codes of the poker sites and poker bots against them if you understand how they work. A poker bot is confined to making decisions based solely on the play of the game with regard to its statistical analysis of poker. In other words, a poker bot will only make decisions based on known patterns in the game.

Moreover, the online poker sites, which actively attempt to detect and thwart the efforts of poker bot programmers and users, have implemented a counter-measure to the poker bots, using the same known patterns. By implementing a counter measure to the poker bots, a poker site is able to ensure that a poker bot will not win since the poker bots actions are predictable and confined to a skill-set directly related to statistical odds and probability.

This, as confusing as it may seem, actually works to the advantage of the human player. While the poker site’s software is actively seeking the poker bot patterns and attempting to detect who is a human and who is a computer generated bot script, they also inadvertently implemented a flaw which allows a human player to take advantage of the online poker sites weakness.

In reality, this has resulted in a human player having the ability to not only beat the poker bot, but beat human opponents as well. By following a set pattern that the online poker sites are using, an advantage is created for anyone who is aware of that pattern. This pattern is known as a sequential algorithm and that algorithm dramatically has changed the poker game online to force wins and losses in a set, specific and predictable pattern.

It is not only plausible to beat a poker bot; it is easily accomplished by recognizing the patterns used by online poker sites. These patterns are simple to learn and require little skill by a human player. So the next time you think about playing poker online, consider using the codes and algorithms created by the poker site to your advantage. They are there to prevent the poker bots from winning, but not you!

10 Reasons Not to Play Online Poker

1. Online Poker Sites Are Not Regulated or Licensed in the US.

Without some type of oversight, poker players can not be sure if the sites are cheating them. Some argue that it is not in a poker site’s best interest to cheat, since so much money is coming in anyway. Unfortunately, greed can corrupt. And unregulated companies have proven time and time again, where there is a will (to dupe the people to make more money), there is a way.

2. The Online Poker Sites RNG (Random Number Generator) Ain’t So Random.

RNG’s are complex computer programs. However, software can be altered to create subtle changes that effect play and results. Are there more bad beats online? Are there more big hands, like quads and straight flushes that occur online? Does it seem that there are too many heads-up situations where one premium hand loses to another premium hand to create more excitement? Yes, yes and yes.

3. Online Poker Sites Support Their Integrity Claims by “Independent” Audits–Are They Really Unbiased?

The sites audits may be independent, but they have to be biased. Why? The firms who audit a poker site get paid by that site. In recent history, a top ten accounting firm closed down to their “independent” audits. And major US corporations have also been forced into bankruptcy due to fake accounting; e.g. Enron.

4. There Have Been Major Cheating Scandals Online That The Online Poker Sites Never Caught.

There have been a handful of major, public cases where poker players have been cheated by outsiders. Did the online poker site catch this cheating? No. The only reason that these cases became public is because other poker players did their own analysis of what had happened and reported it.

5. Other Cases of Cheating Are Happening Online, But No One Gets Caught.

There is so much money being gambled every minute, it is too juicy for unscrupulous people to take advantage of other players. For example, do you think collusion has ever occurred at an online poker site? What about other forms of cheating, like playing in the same event under different user names? Or, a top player who plays under a friend’s user name to help increase his bankroll? It happens. It is usually transparent.

6. What About The Frequency of Stories Regarding New Players Getting An Edge or A Player Losing After Withdrawing Money From A Site?

It would make business sense to help new players have an edge. If a new player wins, s/he is more likely to keep playing–even if s/he loses it all a few weeks later. There are also complaints on how a player who withdraws money after winning at a poker site, seems to forget how to play and now loses.

7. The Sponsoring of Poker Players Results In An Uneven Playing Field.

Do sponsored players risk their own money? Reports are that sponsored players get 100% rakeback and get paid hourly at an online poker site. Is it fair that you risk your own money, while a sponsored player takes no risk?

8. If the New UIGEA Regulation Goes Into Effect, Will Your Bank Cash Your Poker Site’s Check?

Now you have to worry about what will happen if you do win money at an online site. Assuming you play at a legitimate site and win, the site will pay you. It won’t be able to transfer money into your bank account. It will have to use another method, which is most likely going to be mailing you a check. Will your bank cash that check if the new law goes into effect?

9. Are Online Poker Sites Causing A Brain Drain in Teens and College Students?

Joe Cada admitting to playing online poker before he was 21 and even dropping out of school to play poker. It worked out for Joe, but what about the majority of teens and college students who won’t be winners at poker? The seduction of winning millions playing poker is strong for everyone. It is no doubt strongest in teenagers and college students, given the millions won in poker by 20-somethings. Online poker sites should not allow underage players.

10. You Play Online Poker Naked And You Are Not A Beautiful Woman.

You know who you are…so stop it! I realize this list will eliminate my chance of ever being sponsored by an online poker site. And I also realize that whenever I say anything negative about online poker, a few readers write how I am an idiot or worse.

Whether you do or do not play online poker, there is one thing I strongly believe. That is, that every adult in the US should have the freedom to play online poker and win or lose as much money as s/he wants. The politicians who strive to stop this freedom will be voted out of office, as many were in the last election.

After all, there are only 40 million Americans who play poker. And while most of them don’t play online, the thought that their Congress won’t let them play poker, even if they wanted to play, is simply un-American.

Mitchell Cogert is the author of “Tournament Poker: 101 Winning Moves.” It is the only reference book to reveal the plays the Pros use to win a poker tournament. These plays are based on reviewing 20 years worth of tournament poker strategies and by actual play against Daniel Negreanu, Erick Lindgren, David Pham and other top pros. The book is highly rated with 4.5 out of 5 stars on amazon and a #1 best seller in it’s category.

The Online Poker Rigged Debate – Revealing Both Sides

As with any controversy, argument or debate, there are always two sides of the story. In this expose we will reveal both sides of the online poker rigged debate, and let you decide the truth.

Online Poker Is Rigged

Browsing forums, chatboards and even poker sites themselves, one can always find plenty of players claiming that online poker is rigged. Yet few of these posters are able to give real concrete proof that online poker is rigged. Responses such as ‘rigtards’ or ‘you play badly’ come from opponents of the argument, yet they also fail to provide proof.

The actual proof is not so much in the fact of whether the sites are fixed, the real proof is in the way in which poker sites deal and shuffle, thereby creating poker hands that appear to be outside of the statistical norm as opposed to live poker.

First let us examine the ways in which all poker rooms deal and shuffle their cards. Since it is a computerized game, and lacks real human intervention in the shuffling and dealing, they must use a software program to do the job of a poker dealer. That software is commonly referred to as a random number generator (RNG).

Now most people will accept the fact that a RNG is truly a fair and honestly random way to deal and shuffle a deck of cards,. However, the fact is that a RNG lacks the ability to truly be random. Randomness, by definition, is the absence of any such order, in other words, if I were to ask you to give me 20 different alphanumeric symbols for a password, you could easily create a RANDOM sequence (such as 45tsk3uyeasa9j2udt1), and that password would clearly and truly be a random number as there is obviously no ORDER in the way you selected it. (Your brain simply rattled off 20 random numbers and letters).

On the other hand, if I use a software program, such as a hardware random number generator entropy source (a popular way sites ‘deal and shuffle’ decks) to create the 20 character password, it WILL have some order to it as a computer program is restricted in its ability to truly choose a random sequence. Although poker sites will claim that their software is highly unpredictable and no person or program could truly crack poker, the truth remains the RNG is NOT and can NOT, by any scientific definition, be random.

Furthermore, in an effort to prevent anyone from cracking the RNG and gaining an unfair advantage, every poker site uses additional poker algorithms with the specific design of preventing a player from continuously winning poker hand after hand. This was accomplished in response to the Absolute Poker scandal wherein a player, using inside information, dominated a $1000 buy in tourney and won every single hand in the tourney except the first two.

The fact that internet poker uses a computerized mathematical function to create an appearance of randomness combined with additional poker algorithms to prevent players from winning consistently certainly lends credibility to the Online Poker is rigged debate.

Online Poker Is NOT Rigged

Those that claim online poker is not rigged will point to the fact that hand histories reflect the true statistical odds of the game and combined with the poor playing style of many players is what actually results in why too many suckouts occur in online poker.

In addition, these debaters will add that a poker site would not jeopardize their relationship with customers or their profits by rigging the games. Although online poker is a multi-billion dollar industry, the bottom line is their profit margin and keeping customers or creating new customers.

Most of the online poker is not rigged arguments come from those that have faith in the RNG and the integrity of the internet poker sites themselves. However, no concrete proof has ever been offered from anyone on the online poker is not rigged side as to the truth about whether the poker sites are rigged or not. In fact every major poker site, such as pokerstars or full tilt poker will simply state that they are certified by auditing concerns as to the integrity of the software.

Yet definitive proof that shows their poker algorithms and software for examination by outside sources is lacking. In addition, the poker rooms will not offer complete hand histories of all poker hands dealt on their site for analysis by outside sources. Therefore, the ‘Internet poker is not rigged’ side of the debate expects all players to just take their word for it, that the poker sites are being fair and honest.

You decide! Take their word for it that they are fair and honest or examine scientific proof that online poker is rigged.

Paul Westin is a professional poker player on several online poker sites and a former software engineer for a gaming company.

His latest research on poker code algorithms reveals the inner workings of the online poker sites and how the software programs used on the pokersites affect the outcome of your play.