Poker News

Ultimate Poker downgrade; 888 says off with their heads; PartyPoker closed beta

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ultimate-poker-888-partypokerNevada’s first and only licensed online poker site Ultimate Poker suffered from a bad bout of performance anxiety over the weekend. Just hours after the company rolled out the first major software update since its late-April launch, the online poker forums lit up with tirades about crashes, random disconnects and disappearing tournaments. Ultimate’s point person/abuse magnet Chris Danek was quick to apologize for the kerfuffle, reassuring players that the site had kept track of all relevant data and that while the situation would take a while to un-botch, “full restitution” would be forthcoming.

Elsewhere, other players were kvetching about disappearing tables, except these seats vanished by design, not accident. Over the weekend, a 2+2 member posted a message from 888 Poker support declaring that the site “had made the business decision” to remove Heads Up cash games “in keeping with our strategy to make our poker room more competitive and more fun.” The move was subsequently confirmed by an 888 rep. Cue the predictable howling from bumhunters about being deprived of the ability to sit idly at a HU table for hours waiting for a demonstrably weaker opponent to appear. In related news, elementary schools in markets where 888 has a presence have been alerted to the increased likelihood of grown men challenging eight-year-old students to fights during recess.

888 Holdings will deliver its quarterly earnings report on Wednesday, and City analysts believe 888’s increasingly popular poker product will help boost H1 revenue by 7%. Rival operator Bwin.party’s earnings report comes out Friday, but the struggling firm has already warned investors to brace for impact and expectations are that Bwin.party will report revenue and earnings down 20% and 30% respectively.

According to Bwin.party lore, PartyPoker’s shocking decline will be attenuated by the oft-delayed release of its new software, but the new product is currently mired in private beta testing and is likely to miss its latest release deadline as well. A Pokerfuse source claims the much-touted software is more of a tweak than an overhaul, focusing more on bug fixes, better multi-table support and an improved lobby design than on reinventing the wheel. The new site will reportedly offer some new social elements such as an “achievements” list that allows players to compare the length, girth and overall aesthetic appeal of their penises, er, poker prowess with their friends. Wonder if PartyPoker would be willing to match its poker ‘achievements’ with 888?