Thursday, October 16, 2008

Objects in Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear

Objects in Mirror Are Closer Than They AppearWas idly skimming 2+2 recently and saw someone had begun a thread with some version of the “online poker is rigged” claim. A half-hearted search to relocate the thread came up empty -- I can’t remember exactly what the claim was or how it was presented. It was the usual applesauce, though. Since he’d opened his PokerStars account, the OP had discovered he was getting way, way more than his fair share of bad beats. No, really he was! He was sure of it!

For the next few pages the OP meekly tried to fend off cynics asking for further evidence. Somewhere in there a PokerStars representative joined in the discussion, and explained that if the OP wanted all of his hand histories, all he had to do was ask for them. Reading that, I exchanged messages with the PS rep and he confirmed that if I wanted all of my cash game hand histories, all I needed to do was email support and they would accommodate me.

I began playing on Stars four years ago. As I’ve written about here before, I first opened a play money account, and after spending three months or so building a play fortune decided to make my first cash deposit in November 2004.

I’d never even considered that I could request all of my hand histories from Stars. When I first started playing for pennies on the site, I had been meticulous about saving copies of all of the hand history files that get written to the hard disk. At some point -- in early 2006, I think -- I bought PokerTracker and entered all of those saved hand histories. Then in the summer of 2006 I suffered a hard disk crash. For some reason, I’d thought it necessary to make back-ups of unimportant items like bank account records and various correspondence, and completely neglected preserving the truly imperative stuff like my PT database!

So I started over with the record-keeping, then in the spring of 2007 gravitated over to pot-limit Omaha and soon thereafter stopped fretting over hanging onto hand histoires. I don’t own the PokerTracker Omaha program, and so didn’t see any need to keep the files.

Anyhow, as we’ve all come to expect from PokerStars support, the response to my request was immediate. I was sent a message with links to 21 separate .zip files -- the whole, crazy story of all my cash games (ring & tourney) on Stars. Downloaded ’em, unzipped, and did a quick count to discover a total of 254,108 hands.

I then decided to see whether other sites could accommodate such a request. I emailed all of the ones where I’ve ever played, including sites on which I no longer play like Absolute Poker and UltimateBet. The only other site that could send me my files was Full Tilt Poker, and like Stars they did so immediately, sending me a couple of attached .zip files in less than an hour. Only 38,301 hands from them -- seemed fewer than I had thought it would be, but I didn’t open my account over there until the summer of 2006. And I’ve always played more on Stars.

How many hands of online poker have I played overall, then? I suppose probably somewhere around 350,000-400,000. Hard to say, though.

Have begun entering those old hold’em hands into PokerTracker. Am also now considering picking up the PokerTracker Omaha program, as I think it would be very revealing to learn more about what I’ve been doing in PLO over the last year-and-a-half. (Anybody out there ever use PTO?)

Thought my readers who play on PS or FTP would be interested to hear that those sites can provide such a service. As I say, none of the other sites could send me my requested hand histories. Absolute Poker (for instance) sent me a form letter with instructions about automatically saving hand history files to my hard disk. (Duh, thanks.) Bodog simply said “we can’t” and also told me how I could see the last hand I played.

But Stars and Full Tilt came through. Another reason why those two sites are well ahead of the rest of the field.

To commemorate the occasion, please enjoy my very first real money hand on Stars, at the $.01/$.02 limit hold’em tables. (RSS readers might have to click through to see.) Oh, how cute and innocent we all were...

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Blogger gadzooks64 said...

Ronalxavi is a spammer. If you have your pop up blocker off his site pops up Party Poker.

Just FYI!



10/16/2008 4:09 PM  
Blogger Short-Stacked Shamus said...

Thankee, Zooks. Into the trashbin it goes!

10/16/2008 4:14 PM  

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