Saturday, June 26, 2010

The other day after compiling my list of HORSE and razz daily online tournaments, I got to wondering whether UltimateBlecch might have added such events since the last time I checked the site, which was months ago.

When UB's troubles first became public, I made a feeble attempt to withdraw the $40 or so that I still had on account there. It proved to be too much of a hassle, so I just left it there. Every once in a while I remember that it's there, and I go play a $5 or $10 tourney. I haven't won anything since then, so now the amount is down to about $10.

Not surprisingly, I had to download a software update to check the tournament lobby. For all its faults, at least the UB client software has always been functionally stable. Until now. I have no idea what the problem is with this latest version, but it's a dog.

When I tried to run it, the windows weren't showing fully. The top bar wouldn't show up unless I hovered the cursor over it. Other portions of the window would disappear when the cursor was over them. It was all completely unstable. I thought maybe it was because I had both Stars and Full Tilt open at the same time, and they were interacting badly. However, I could get just enough of a glimpse of the lobby to see that there were some HORSE and razz listings, which had not been true before. I wanted to explore that, so I tried again later when the other games were closed. Same thing.

Next I uninstalled the UB software, then did a fresh reinstallation. It became a little more usable, but was still wonky. I closed all other applications. No improvement. I rebooted, so that UB was the only thing running. Now I could at least use the tournament lobby. However, it induced vertigo, because it randomly jumped around instead of scrolling smoothly. When I found a HORSE tournament in the list and wanted to read the details, the stupid thing would sometimes just suddenly flick up or down as if I had clicked on the scroll bar when I hadn't.

Finally I found a $5 HORSE tournament that would be starting in about 10 minutes. I wanted to try it. I clicked on the "register" button. Nothing happened. I clicked on the "tournament lobby" button. That opened a new tab on my task bar at the bottom of the screen, but no window--nothing I could use. No matter how many times I clicked on either that task bar icon or the tournament lobby button, it would not open an actual tournament lobby window in which I could see the details of the structure and from which I could register. Six people were signed up for it, so obviously others are able to use the software, but for whatever reason, this new client does not play nicely with my computer. (My computer is not some offbeat weirdo. It's a run-of-the-mill, off-the-shelf Acer, four and a half years old now, but still running everything else without problems, and with plenty of memory.) I couldn't even exit the site normally. Clicking the "X" box in the corner of the window did nothing, and I had to resort to having the Windows Task Manager force a shut-down.

With that utter failure, I decided to try another approach: Absolute Poker. Presumably these are now just different skins of the same underlying software. I used to play on Absolute quite a bit when it first came online, but the amount I had dropped to zero before I moved to Vegas four years ago, and I haven't used it since. (My computer tells me that the software was last used March 7, 2006, to be exact.) I opened the client, and, of course, it wanted to install the newest software version. Fine. This one doesn't have the technical glitches that the UB one does, but as a practical matter I still can't use it. It recognizes me from years ago, but won't let me log in. When I try, a screen pops up that says "Your nickname has already been changed." I'm guessing that this happens because it knows that I'm the same person with a different screen name on UB. But the only option it offers me is a button that says "Update profile." I click on that, and nothing happens.

So I uninstalled the software and did a fresh reinstallation. It prompted me to create a new account, which I did (without depositing any money). That has allowed me to see the tournament lobby, and, unlike UB, it scrolls normally. I assume that the games are the same as one gets to via UB. There are definitely cash games, SNGs, and multi-table tournaments in both razz and HORSE. But, just as with UB, I can't get to the tournament lobbies in any usable way. Clicking on a tournament listed in the lobby gets me a task bar tab, but no window, no matter what I try. It's useless.

What a complete joke of a company. They can't even get a lousy software update right, which is on top of the revelation a couple of months ago that they had such an obvious security hole that anybody could read the datastream (including your hole cards, your password, etc.) if you were on a wireless Internet connection, which was on top of the news that they occasionally awarded the pot to the losing hand. If you've been keeping up with Haley's Poker Blog, you know that the refunds they gave for the cheating scandal were basically completely arbitrary amounts, and that if you haven't been given the complete hand histories that you might have asked for and that the company long ago promised to deliver, it's probably because they know that there are other cheater accounts involved in them, so they have selectively withheld the hand histories so as not to open up demands for further refunds, which they have no money to give. Having the poker world's biggest buffoon as their high-profile spokesman is now the least of their woes.

How is this company still in operation?

No comments: