Thursday, January 29, 2009

Keep Your Mind at Ease (Play at PokerStars)

Edvard Munch, 'The Scream' (detail)Had a little moment of anxiety yesterday when I discovered that for some reason my password was no longer working for one of my email accounts. Tried five times, and the sucker kept coming back “incorrect username or password.”

I knew it wasn’t the username that was the issue. My password just wasn’t working. What to do?

As it happens, the problem was with the email account that is connected to my online poker accounts, and it didn’t take long for me to conjure up some worst-case-scenario-type paranoia that perhaps somehow, some way, some rat was at that very moment stealing all my cheddar.

You recognize, of course, that detail from Edvard Munch’s 1893 painting “The Scream.” Munch created a few versions of the painting, and at least a couple of have been stolen over the last couple of decades. When one was stolen in 1994, apparently the theives left behind a note saying “Thanks for the poor security.” No shinola.

Well, suddenly, amid an otherwise placid, adequately-caffeinated morning haze, I found myself thinking intently about security matters.

Perfectly silly, of course. I honestly had little reason to worry about my smallish online poker rolls. If someone had hacked my email account, it really didn’t make much sense to think they could then successfully move on to my poker accounts. Even so, I was stuck at my place of work -- where, of course, I do not have the poker site clients on my work computer -- and so had no way of checking whether or not all was well with my accounts.

I was able to reset my email password, then decided to fire quick emails to support over at PokerStars and Full Tilt, the only two sites where I have significant moneys at the moment. Explained the situation and just wanted confirmation that my money was still there, safely waiting for me the next time I logged on.

It took PokerStars exactly 18 minutes to write back. Brett, of the PokerStars Support Team, told me there had been no real money deposits or withdrawals over the last 48 hours. “To further put your mind at ease,” wrote Brett, “I have attached a report that shows your full real money activity at PokerStars for the past 24 hours.”

The file was a nifty “audit” of my play from Tuesday afternoon –- that brief session I was referring to in yesterday’s post from which I came away with a small profit. Shows me what I bought in for, notes that I rebought for an extra $10 at one table at one point, then shows what I had when leaving each of the tables. Also notes all of my VPP & FPP accumulation (for session, month, and year).

I realize my request was a simple one. But Stars showed yet again they’re simply awesome when it comes to this sort of thing.

Meanwhile, Full Tilt has yet to respond to my request, which will be 24 hours old a little later this morning. Though I have received a tip from Keith Sexton about raising with a draw.

Once I got home yesterday I logged onto FTP and saw all was well with my account. I’ve never had too much trouble with FTP support (as others have from time to time), though during the years I’ve played on both sites I can say unhesitatingly that Stars has always outdone FTP support-wise.

Over the last few months, PokerStars has soared well past all competitors in terms of numbers of players. For the last month or more, Stars has consistently been attracting more than twice the number of cash game players than does Full Tilt, its nearest competitor, with the iPoker Network, PartyPoker, and the Ongame Network far behind.

When I checked PokerSite Scout last night, Stars had over 25,000 playing cash games to FTP’s 12,000. Among the other American-facing sites/networks, the Cereus network had just 2,500 or so playing for cash, Cake Poker had about 2,000, and Bodog was way down under 1,500.

My buddy Mark wrote an interesting post last week over at Plan3t Gong where he speculated a bit over why it was Stars had taken such a significant traffic lead.

Mark weighs several possible reasons, then concludes that the 100% match up to deposits of $50 has a lot to do with Stars being able to attract new players.

What? Yr not familiar with that? Hmmm. Wonder how you could find out more about that offer...?

Says Mark, many newbies generally don’t want to start out shipping too much into the sites, and so the humble-seeming offer to match up to $50 actually works well as an incentive to take that first plunge. Makes sense, frankly.

Of course, what we’re also clearly seeing happening over at Stars is the same phenomenon that occurred at PartyPoker back in 2005-06 -- right up until they pulled out of the U.S. post-Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. Namely, the biggest site getting bigger and bigger and bigger. Always lots and lots of active tables from which to choose on PokerStars, which is the main reason why I generally am logging onto Stars first when I’m ready to play. I prefer the software, too, though I think that is always a more subjective preference for most players.

But for support -- and security -- I think most would probably agree PokerStars is way, way above all the rest when it comes to putting yr mind at ease.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...


1/29/2009 9:30 AM  
Blogger Short-Stacked Shamus said...

Thought it could be, but when typing my username the capslock was obv. off. Could've mistyped five times in a row, I guess....

1/29/2009 10:49 AM  
Blogger joxum (Denmark) said...

PokerStars have a way better support than any other site. No question about it.

My own, recent experience with PokerStars support is here. They basically let me break a rule, just because I asked:

Actually, the crappy support at Full Tilt was what made me open up shop at Pokerstars. So there...


1/29/2009 2:26 PM  
Blogger Greylocks said...

I'm not as gung-ho on PS as others seem to be, and there's a fairly lengthy list of things PokerStars does wrong that they should fix but have stubbornly refused to address, such as not handling all-ins correctly in limit games. But they are definitely the best all-around site.

One reason they've become the only place I play any more is that they don't make it an expensive pain in the ass to withdraw your money. The other sites have just made it harder and harder to withdraw your cash if you live in the US.

1/29/2009 3:25 PM  
Blogger Short-Stacked Shamus said...

Quick update -- Full Tilt did get back to me about 30 hrs. after I emailed them to tell me all was well.

1/29/2009 6:51 PM  

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