Those of you who play on Empire Poker might have heard a growl from across the ethereal poker room last night. It wouldn't have been hard to spot the source of the noise. It sprung, nay, erupted from the avatar known as Otis.
While I'm the first to defend online poker rooms for the massive task of managing tens of thousands of players at once, I'm also not going to be a mindless shill for them either.
So, please step inside for a rant against my homesite and, well, one of its players.
Rant #1: I bought in for this?
In recent days, Empire's multis have been experiencing a problem so serious that it threatens to discredit the effort to be a serious, reputable poker room. In two consecutive tourneys I've played, the entire game locked up. Every player is forced to sit and watch the screen do nothing. If you leave, you lose your buy-in. If you sit there, you're forced to watch mindless chat among bored players. You're also forced to watch the blind level go up without having a chance to play. After 30 to 45 minutes, the game springs back to life, but the blinds are a few levels higher. The crapshoot begins.
This first happened to me when we were two from the money in a 145-player multi. I ended up cashing in 9th place, but I can't help but think it hurt some of the other players. It happened again last night on the second hand of the tourney. Many of the other players said this has been happening for a while. It's a major bug in the system and severely discredits Empire's already weak tourney schedule.
Rant #2: You unbelievable weakling
This is no new problem, but it was the first time it cost me money.
I was in a $200 PL game last night. I raised on the button with AKs. The player UTG re-raised $20. I called. The flop came ATT rainbow. UTG (JacksRHI) bet the pot (~$50+). I thought for all of two seconds. Right now, AA, TT, and AT, and Tx beat me. I figure he's not going to re-reraise UTG with AT or any other naked T. The only way to know if he's holding American Airlines or TT is to...of, course, re-raise the amount of the pot.
When he didn't call for ten seconds, I knew I was out in front. No way he's going to think that long if he's holding the boat or quads. But then he didn't call for another five seconds. Then another five seconds.
The sonofabitch timed out and used his disconnect protection to see of his 77 would turn into a boat. To see those cards fairly, it would've cost him the rest of his stack.
My hand held up and I raked a sizable pot. But it should've been $87 bigger.
I know some sites have gotten rid of their disconnect protections for tourneys. I'm starting to think they should get rid of them all together. It's one thing when it only means the difference between winning and losing a few bucks. But when it's a few hundred bucks, that's a different story.
Disagree? Wait for it to happen to you.
Rant #3: My atheletic supporter works better than this
After both of these issues happened in the same night, I clicked on the 24-hour support button. I'd noticed several weeks ago that the 24-hour support function was inoperable. Turns out, it still is. When I e-mailed the off-line support about the tourney problem, I didn't even get an automated response.
True Poker, while replete with flaws, at least always has a host online to answer questions. How in the world Empire can operate without online supoprt is beyond me.
So, there ya go. I'm unhappy with Empire Poker. Perhaps I'm more unhappy because I'm more successful at this site than at any of the others I've played. The players are weaker, the pots are easier to rake, and they offer a variety of good games. Their multi-table tourney schedule sucks, but I probably shouldn't be playing too many multis anyway. Despite the great overlay on Empire's guaranteed tourneys, my EV is never that great.
I'd be curious to hear what other Empire players think. I'd also be curious to hear from Party players who also play at Empire about which skin they'd rather play at.
Rant ends here. Better writing to come later.