partypoker suffered the embarrassment of a critical server error in the middle of what should have been one of the most talked about Sunday’s in the online poker room’s modern era, dividing the poker community, and tarnishing the company brand.
As I watched the new partypoker LIVE advert on YouTube, promising the world, I looked at Philipp Gruissem and couldn’t picture a more perfect looking German.
I never did German in school. It was French and Welsh for me. But I do know one German word, and I see it used all over the poker community, today.
I’ll save you a Google search.
Schadenfreude means to bathe in someone else’s misfortune, and after partypoker suffered a night that made Gabriella Papadakis’s embarrassing Olympic nipple slip seem standard, there are many bathing in that pool of blood.
Ask any photographer the secret behind the perfect poker shot, and they’ll tell you it’s in the eyes. Before the weekend came to save the nine to five, Mike Sexton voiced a video that had a lens peering through the windows to the souls of Sam Trickett, Anatoly Filatov, Philipp Gruissem, Roberto Romanello and Johnny Lodden in a bid to dramatise a new beginning for the online giant.
Sunday was the date.
The final day of the $10m GTD KO Series.
Sexton called Sunday the ‘birth of new partypoker.’ The former WPT demigod raged enthusiastically about the poker rooms new software, new table layout, new weekly $10m guaranteed online mtt structure, the $20m guaranteed Online MILLIONS and over $200m in guarantees scheduled for partypoker LIVE events over the next 12-months.
And then it happened.
The needle crossed the record. The pen ripped through the paper. The guy tossing the dough into the air dropped it.
It all went tits up.
Dozens of tournaments cancelled. Cash games disrupted. And, who knows how much damage the brand sustained, at a time when we were beginning to believe they could seriously challenge PokerStars dominance.
The site was quick to apologise.
Tom Waters, MD, wrote on the partypoker blog:
“It was a disaster for us as well as the players, the night of our biggest ever PKO tournaments and on the eve of the launch of our new Power Series. I understand that some players may not immediately return to partypoker given their experiences in the last 24 hours and I expect to see some sizeable overlays in the new Power Series MTTs that run from today.”
The cause of the disruption was a server malfunction.
The cleanup operation has begun with promises to make affected players whole, and $2m in additional guarantees added to next Sunday’s Power Series schedule.
Too Big For Their Boots?
As I ploughed through social media rants about the screw-up, it seems the community is divided on this one. partypoker’s loyal supporters, beefed up by the wave of enthused fans who have been caught in the vortex of the MILLIONS branding success, fighting against the naysayers and trolls.
The biggest criticism seems to be levelled at the frequency of these types of incidents and partypoker’s lack of instant feedback and solution-orientated responses.
One question many are asking is if partypoker have the capability in hardware and operational human resources to deliver all of these proposed changes in the next 12-months? Are the powers to be promising the undeliverable?
Time will tell.
I doubt it.
The online and live tournament marketplace has not had this level of competition since American online poker players were able to get fat playing online poker instead of getting fat watching dumb TV shows.
Party has the pedal to the metal. It would be nice to allow growth to happen organically, but Waters, Sexton and co., are standing over the bloody mess that is PokerStars and they know they have to go for the kill. The fires have gone cold. Axes diverted from the chopping of wood, and instead, to the mammoth that is PokerStars.
Patience by young padawans.