Saturday, June 09, 2012

Bovada sucks

I just tried using Bovada (aka Bodog) for the first time since the name change. They had given me a free ticket to a $75 WSOP Main Event satellite (actually a satellite to a satellite, but whatever). OK, it wasn't just a name change; Bodog per se still exists, but no longer operates in the U.S., instead leasing its software to another company that offers games here. The software underwent a major overhaul at about the same time as the market/company change.

How do I hate it? Let me count the ways.

First, I tried changing the background color to red, then to green. It wouldn't do it. Those options were clearly shown, and I clicked on them, but the background stubbornly stayed blue. If you can't actually change it, why do they show it as an option that you can?

Second, at seemingly random intervals, the software would not obey my pre-selected action. Below, for example, you can see that I have elected to fold my 7-2 while the action is still three players to my right.

But when it's actually my turn, the software acts as if I had not made any selection, and waits for me to tell it what to do:

Mind you, this doesn't happen every time--just once in a while, for no obvious reason. After I recognized it as happening enough not to be just a one-time fluke, I started doing a screen capture every hand just to catch it with these before-and-after shots, and it behaved correctly four times before giving me the opportunity you see above. Why? I have no idea.

Third, the anonymity is terribly annoying--much harder to keep track of players mentally as they move in and out of the table.

Fourth, you are no longer given the option of a preferred position at the table. (For those of you who don't play online, this doesn't mean that you can actually choose which opponents are on your right or left; it's just a virtual rotation of the table so that you see yourself in the same screen location every game.) I like being at the bottom of the screen, and it won't let me choose that, at least not with anything I could find.

Fifth, you can't selectively turn the sounds on or off--you either get all of them or none of them. If you want a little "ping" when it's your turn and a more insistent warning when you're running out of time, fine, you can have them--but you also have to accept the cacophony of other sounds: cards being dealt, chips sliding across the table, etc.

Sixth, when it was my turn, the amount of the current bet was highlighted, as you can see toward the bottom right of the second screen capture above. I should be able to either just type a different amount to bet/raise, or first erase the amount shown with the backspace key, then type in an amount. Sometimes I could do this, sometimes not. On the "not" occasions, it just ignored my keystrokes--and that was the same whether I was using the laptop's built-in keyboard or the full-sized external keyboard (connected via USB) that I use when I have serious typing to do. As with ignoring pre-selected actions, this appeared to be completely random.

On those occasions when I couldn't use the numeric keyboard to enter a bet amount, I had to use the slider. I HATE using bet sliders generally, and this particular one is especially awful. It's way too sensitive (i.e., small movements change the bet by a large amount), and it doesn't stop at pre-specified intervals. If I wanted to raise to, say, 100, I'd have to settle for 108 or 93 or whatever other odd amount in that general vicinity the slider offered me. Trying to nudge it just a wee bit more one direction or the other would result in it being much higher or lower than I wanted, or my turn timing out. The only fixed options available with dedicated buttons are 1/2 pot and pot. I most commonly want to bet somewhere between those two choices, something like 2/3 to 3/4 pot. Good luck with that on this platform.

Seventh, the "spotlight" feature is not nearly as prominent as it used to be. This had previously been one of Bodog's better touches: The player with current action had a virtual spotlight shone on him to indicate whose turn it was. Of all of the online poker platforms I have used, I found this one by far the easiest to follow, in terms of being able to tell at a glance where the action was. Now that light has been turned down so much that you have to go searching for it. You can see what I mean in the second photo above. You just see sort of a half-assed half-circle of slightly lighter blue below my spot. (By the way, I'm player #1 solely by virtue of having been the first to register for this event.)

Those of us who have been using computers for a couple of decades know that there is a long history of software companies rolling out a grand "upgrade," only to be met with howls of protest from users about how they screwed up everything that had been good about it. Twitter recently did that with TweetDeck when they bought it and issued a new version. (I found a way to install the last good version--v0.38.2--with all of the flexibility it had due to using Adobe AIR, on my new computer, and have embedded deeply in my brain a stern reminder to always decline offers to install any newer version, at least until I'm sure they have restored all of the options they killed off in the "improvement.") seems to be the latest victim of this. I used to use it as my URL-shortening utility, but it no longer works as easily as it did before, instead requiring me to make a bunch of choices I'm not interested it. As a result, it is now dead to me; I removed it from my old computer the day they screwed it up, and I'm certainly not adding it to the new machine. From what I've read of Windows 8, Microsoft may be on the verge of surpassing all of these, and making the most monumental "New Coke" blunder in the history of software.

To this list must surely be added the "new and improved" Bodog/Bovada. You can read the press release, bubbling over with giddy anticipation, here. A "huge leap forward" they said. Yeah, sure it was--a leap right off of a cliff, if you ask me.

After we lost PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker, Bodog was far and away my favorite of the platforms that remained usable in the states, both in terms of ease of making money and in terms of how the software functioned (with the exception of hand histories). But the "upgrade"? It's hard to be more succinct, accurate, or forceful than I was in my title above: Bovada sucks.


Memphis MOJO said...

If you want to fold, click "fold to any bet" which is just above the box you are checking.

Rakewell said...

Why should that be any different than the large "fold" button?

grrouchie said...

Good review, I have not used it in ages but after reading that I don't have any plans to either.

geezer said...

min amount to withdraw funds is 3000 I opened my account with 50 and have a just over 200 in it at the rate i play it will take me over 4 years to get to 3000..
I do like the anonymity but it makes you pay attention and takes away that edge the youngins have on me

Memphis MOJO said...

I have to disagree with geezer (unless something has changed recently). I withdrew twice from this site recently, both times for $1000. There was no problem whatsoever.

Halbonzo said...

max amount to withdraw for FREE is 3000 a month . no min..50 dollar fee on every 3000 after the free one that month .....the blue background you see is the background they use when your at the FINAL fold to any bet, not just fold.