The software over on Absolute seems fine and while the default skin is a little busy for my tastes, the look doesn’t bother me. I have noticed a few things over on Absolute I haven’t seen on other sites before. For one, it appears that Absolute has no restrictions about using profanity in the chatbox. Noticed that today when one player rudely invited another to have relations with himself -- and instead of “****” we all got to see the verb with which he’d chosen to express said invitation. Only a matter of time, I suppose, until a well-timed check-raise from me will solicit a similar summons from one of my opponents.
Another difference I’ve noticed is that on Absolute the 6-max tables (where I usually hang out) actually have nine seats, although three remain empty. At first I thought the extra seats made no difference, but I soon realized this meant more seating options when one first comes to a table. I sometimes will watch a hand or two before sitting down, and the extra seats mean I have a choice who I want on my left and/or right -- even if there are five already at the table. [EDIT (added 10/23/06): Logged onto Absolute today and they had done a software upgrade; when I sat down at the six-handed table, there were now only six seats. So never mind on this one.]
Another difference I discovered when I first set up my table preferences under the “Options” menu. First I chose the four-color deck (as I always do). Then I turned the sounds off (as I always do). Then I noticed something called “rabbit cam.” Is that what I think it is? I put a tick in the box and went back to playing. Sure enough, the next time a hand was folded on the turn, there appeared an animated rabbit surrounding what was apparently the now-meaningless river card. (See picture.)
This “innovation” (I use the term loosely) reminded me, of course, of my brief investigation last summer of various sites’ shuffling programs. In those posts -- where I described myself “Doing the What-If Shuffle” -- I had written to various sites to determine whether their shuffling software randomized the deck one time and then “set the deck” for an entire hand, or randomized each time a card came off the deck. Most sites replied that they ran their randomizing programs with each card; only PokerStars said they “set the deck” at the beginning of the hand.
Back then, I didn’t ask Absolute Poker whether they “set the deck” or not. If they don’t, then this “rabbit cam” feature is not just meaningless, it is misleading as well (since the card it reveals wouldn’t necessarily have been the next one drawn).
I recall a hand from the 2006 WSOP Main Event final table -- hand no. 93 -- involving Jamie Gold and Allen Cunningham. Gold had made a standard raise with and it folded around to Cunningham in the BB who called with . Both players checked the flop. The turn was the and Cunningham bet 1,100,000 million chips. Gold raised to 4 million and Cunningham mucked. On ESPN’s edited coverage, we saw via the “rabbit cam” that the river would've been the , giving Cunningham the straight. Odds-wise, Cunningham obviously made the right play, even if the “rabbit cam” might have suggested otherwise to some viewers.
Absolute’s “rabbit cam” feature was cute enough the first dozen times or so, but I ended up turning it off. No self-respecting existentialist is going to concern himself very long with non-existent, hypothetical futures such as are suggested by such things. Truth be told, whenever somebody tries to throw some “what if” nonsense at me, my usual response is to duck.
Image: Absolute Poker.
Labels: *on the street