Poker player Dan Smith, last seen taking down the EPT Barcelona Super High Roller, added another $219,504 to his bankroll this weekend by outlasting 7,059 other players to win the Sunday Millions tournament on PokerStars. Smith is on quite a tear in 2012, having lifted his live event total haul for the year to over $3.5m. But perhaps even more impressive about Smith’s exploits this Sunday is that he earned $8k more than the published first-place prize. Smith pulled off this feat thanks to a five-way deal that gave chip leader Smith $199.5k, while the five played for the remaining $20k. Like they say, good work if you can get it.
Speaking of things that shouldn’t happen, PartyPoker is taking heat in the poker forums over a software glitch that has some players seeing one set of hole cards while they’re betting and a different set when the cards are turned over. Player names have also been witnessed switching mid-hand. The issue came to light in late September on PokerStrategy’s German-language forum by a user who backed up his claim with video evidence of the phenomenon occurring. (Read the thread – in German – here.) Soon other users were reporting similar shenanigans, which had created situations in which they’d made bets based on cards they thought they held, only to discover they’d bet their stack on 2-7 offsuit.
PokerStrategy administrator ‘HergenL’ reported to the thread – apparently after some consultation with PartyPoker reps – that the issue was related to players’ “use of additional software” specifically citing Holdem Manager 2 tracking software as the likely culprit. But other players responded that they didn’t even have such software loaded onto their computers, yet were still encountering the hole card switcheroo. The complaints kept coming, but PartyPoker provided players with no direct explanation. However, once a thread addressing the brouhaha popped up on the English-language 2+2 poker forums, a PartyPoker rep addressed it within 48 hours, saying:
“This issue occurred some months ago now and to our knowledge has not reoccurred since. The game logic is all held server side, including for example the selection of the winning hand. These servers are secure and constantly monitored. Even if there was a display issue caused by a third party tool, the result of the game would not be changed as aforementioned the logic is server side. With regard to the display issue we continue to look for a root cause and have this flagged as a priority for our technical team.”
On Monday, the Party rep reported to 2+2 that the situation had been “escalated to the highest possible level within the business. To date we have had very few reports of the issue directly to our customer service team however we continue to investigate all possible avenues including the influence of third party software’s. [sic]” Late on Tuesday, Holdem Manager CEO Jim Varnon addressed Party’s attempt to throw his company under the bus via a comment on PokerFuse’s coverage of the story. “There are several posts in the [PokerStrategy] thread that indicate that this [is] not tied to any specific 3rd party software and I am summarizing those statements below so that the public information is as specific as possible to anything that might help Party Poker resolve this.”
Needless to say, Party’s diligence in quickly addressing this situation once it hit the English-language forums underscores the company’s desire to lessen any negative attention that could tarnish their brand ahead of their upcoming appearance before the Nevada Gaming Control Board. When you’ve got not one but two Nevada casino outfits depending on your software passing muster, the last thing you need is to be explaining why your players are channeling Johnny Rotten at Winterland in 1978. (“Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?”) And we’re pretty sure the Nevada regulators would take a dim view of the stance that this glitch – which reportedly dates as far back as February and was supposed to have since been remedied – is really only happening to a few people, and besides, somebody else is to blame.