Friday, August 27, 2010

Hand, Interrupted

Sorry for the interruptionHad kind of an interesting situation occur this week while playing a hand over at PokerStars.

I’d been playing for a short while, long enough to have noticed an announcement or two about how the site was soon going offline for a few minutes for a reboot. I had a couple of tables open at the time (pot-limit Omaha, six-max., $12.50 buy-in), and didn’t feel any particular urgency to log off. Figured when the time came for the reboot, we’d all get kicked off and have to log back on -- no biggie.

In other words, I hadn’t really considered what would happen if I were involved in a hand at the moment the site went offline. Which, as it turned out, is exactly what happened. Was a semi-interesting spot, too.

A player sitting UTG had put in a minimum-raise and gotten several callers. I was in the big blind and called as well holding J-J-x-x. (Forgive some fuzziness with the details -- there’s a reason for my not being exact here.) The flop then came J-3-2 with two clubs. I can’t remember the suits of my cards, but I know I didn’t have two clubs in my hand.

I checked, and the preflop raiser put out a small continuation bet, like 50 cents. Really just a blocking bet. Whatever it was, it caused all to fold around to me. I check-raised to $1.50, and my opponent quickly called.

The turn was another deuce, giving me jacks full. I checked again, and watched my opponent’s avatar/username blink on and off as he contemplated what to do. Fifteen seconds passed. Then thirty.

Then I realized... we were offline.

The pot was only a few bucks, to which I’d only contributed a couple. And really, my prospects going forward in the hand weren’t all that exciting. Probably not going to get a lot of action, unless by some wild chance my opponent had quad deuces, in which case I’m losing a bundle. He hasn’t committed a lot to this pot, and probably is shutting down if the hand were to continue.

But it didn’t. And ten minutes later, when we were back online, the hand had vanished into the virtual ether. I had no hand history on my hard disk. It appeared that the stacks had returned to what they were before the hand began, and indeed I was later able to confirm that was the case.

I was curious, though, and so sent a note to PokerStars support about what had happened. As I explained to them, I wasn’t looking to get any money from the unfinished hand. In truth, I could well have been poised to lose money there, although it seemed like I had been in a good spot.

Rather, I just wanted to let them know what had occurred and how I didn’t realize the shutdown meant I might have an incomplete hand like that. Could have been a real downer had it been a bigger pot and/or a more obviously profitable situation for your humble gumshoe.

As always, Stars support was most accommodating, and after a couple of emails back and forth just to sort out details, they gave me 450 Frequent Player Points (FPPs) for my trouble. A small gesture, but much appreciated.

I could go on about the contrast between PokerStars’ responsiveness to their customers whenever even the smallest of issues arises and what tends to happen at other sites, a couple in particular the ownership of which apparently changed hands yesterday. But that’s become a tired drum to beat.

Did get a chuckle at the way a certain limit Omaha/8 tourney hosted on one of those other sites yesterday failed to allow players to bet fixed amounts. Here’s hoping that site figures out a way to do right by its players the way PokerStars always seems to do by theirs.

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