Sunday, April 25, 2010

Followup on Full Tilt Poker possible software glitch

A couple of weeks ago, I noticed a strange series of hands during a tournament on Full Tilt. I described it in detail here.

I wrote to FTP's support department with all the details, then didn't hear anything back from them. So today I sent them another email, and quickly got this reply:

Thank you for contacting Full Tilt Poker Support.

We have reviewed these hands in depth and it appears that the player in
question, twackeditlostit, was moved to the table for table-balancing, then
moved again and reinstated back in the same seat in a very short period of time.
Naturally, once he has been reseated at the table, he needs to wait for the
blinds to pass him by before he can rejoin the action. It is very rare that this
happens, but is an unavoidable result of table-balancing.

As you are no doubt aware, table balancing occurs when there are an unequal
number of players at each table in a multi-table event due to players being
eliminated at different times. When this happens, some players are selected by
our random number generator and assigned a new seat based on their relative
position to the blind at their previous table, which remains open.

Players are moved in multi-table events as fairly as possible. If you are
on a table that breaks, you have just as much chance of being placed into an
advantageous position as you do a less favorable position.

For more information, please refer to our Tournament Rules #20 and #21 at:

If there's anything else we can help you with, please let us know. We're
always here to help.



Poker Specialist

Full Tilt Poker Support

That didn't fully address the anomaly I witnessed, so I wrote back:

Thank you for the response. That was my best guess about what happened. But the
part I still can't explain is why the player's avatar remained at the table the
entire time. I can't prove to you that this happened, because the hand history
shows him gone for one hand--the one in which he would otherwise have been the
big blind. But I know that the avatar stayed put, because otherwise the incident
would not have caught my attention. I had been in the big blind the previous
hand, then the big blind skipped over him, and that's the reason I noticed that
something weird was happening. I wondered why he got to skip the big blind. If
he had disappeared, I would have surmised that he simply got moved to balance
tables, because I know that the player about to get the big blind is the usual
target for such moves. It was only because his avatar remained, with the big
blind skipping over him, that I noticed something strange going on. Any

I again got a fast reply:

Thank you for your speedy response, and we appreciate your cooperation on this matter.

We reviewed all the data available, and I can confirm that it was down to table-balancing that the player appeared to simply skip his big blind.

As for the Avatar remaining seated at the table, I have forwarded that information on to the relevant department for further investigation.

We truly appreciate your continued assistance on this, it's caring players like yourself who help to make Full Tilt Poker an enjoyable place to play poker.

Have fun at the tables, and if there's anything else we can do for you, please feel free to contact us.



Poker Specialist

Full Tilt Poker Support

So far, then, at least they have confirmed what I had come to suspect--that the player in question was just moved to balance tables, then in a highly improbable but fully legal twist of fate was moved, on the very next hand, back to the same table and same seat to re-balance them. But how and why his avatar remained at the table is yet unexplained to my full satisfaction.

If I hear anything more from FTP, I'll let you know.


Anonymous said...

Graphics can be slower on some computers and/or over the Internet. It may had appear to you visually he did not move but it may had been your graphics was too slow and then it caught up. It could also be that it happened so quick you did not see it right away.

The Blue Knave said...

I'm with anonymous. Probably client lag.