Wednesday, April 29, 2009

PokerStars sucks (but probably only temporarily)

Stars is my all-around favorite online site, but right now they're driving me crazy.

Everything was fine Monday night for the readers' tournament. But last night I logged on for my usual nightly HORSE sit-and-go, and had to download a software update. OK, no big deal--happens every week or two. There was no problem using the lobby, registering for the tournaments, etc. But as soon as the thing started, big trouble. The software shut itself off a few minutes in. This had never happened before.

I fired up Stars again, and within three or four minutes the same thing happened again. I shut down other programs running, and tried again--same result. I rebooted and then went back to Stars--same outcome. After busting out of the frequently-interrupted tournament, I even tried reinstalling the software. No improvement. I tried sitting in a microstakes cash game, and had the same frustration.

I emailed Stars support. They responded with a canned--and completely irrelevant--message about how to diagnose and fix connectivity problems. I fired back an irritated note saying, basically, "Thanks for nothing." It is not a connectivity issue; the software is shutting itself off spontaneously. This time they replied with a request for my log files, which I sent.

This morning I received the following email from them:

Thank you for providing these log files. At this time we are not sure what
is the cause of this trouble however it does appear to be related to our

Your logs have been sent to the programmers for investigation. Once
they have identified the cause a new update will be released to fix the issue.

In the meantime we do apologize for any inconvenience this may



PokerStars Support Team

Well, at least they are acknowledging that, as I suspected, it was their latest software update that introduced the instability.

Just now I tried again, and got the same spontaneous shutting off. There was no update available. There was also nothing in the "news" section to warn other players of the technical problem, so there are probably a whole bunch of customers trying to figure out what's going on.

I went so far as to check the twoplustwo forums, which I usually avoid. I didn't check every possible forum, but I did find this, posted just an hour or so ago, in the "Internet Poker" forum:

I am connecting from hotel in england...cut out in middle of sng i was
runaway of internet works fine but no one else has posted so
that makes me nervous

I posted a quick reply about my experience. There is currently one subsequent reply of somebody stating that he has had no troubles.

I can't be the only one affected; I think there is no way that Stars would be acknowledging that the problem lies with their software update. Instead, they would tell me that the problem is in my computer. On the other hand, whatever the issue is must affect only a small percentage of users, else I think the forums would be ablaze with alarms and complaints, and Stars would have been compelled to put out some sort of prominent announcement. If I'm right about that guess, it's too bad for me, because it means that Stars won't be in much of a rush to figure out what the problem is and get it repaired.

So I'll just have to sit and wait. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

In the meantime, if you use PokerStars on a PC (not Mac), please add a comment as to whether or not you are finding this mysterious shut-off issue. It would be interesting to get some vague sense of what fraction of users are affected.

Update, 11 pm

I took Gadzooks's suggestion about the Revo Uninstall program, and used it to thoroughly remove every shred of PokerStars, then did a fresh install, and so far it appears to be stable. 20 minutes into a cash game, and no issues.

Thanks for all the help!

Update, 11:02 pm

This is what you call speaking too soon. Posted that note, then Stars just went away again. GAAAAAAAAAAAA!


dbcooper said...

Hey Grump. I downloaded the latest update today and no problem here so far.

Unknown said...

I played last night and had an update. No issues last night. Then when I logged on this afternoon around 1pm to play a HU SNG I had another update. No issues there either. I have a PC and all seems good.

Don't worry about it though. It's rigged! :)

- Couga

sigszilla said...

Sorry, Grump. No issues for me, either, last night...

Short-Stacked Shamus said...

Played an hour or so today (post update) -- no problemo.

And yr sure you didn't take any Ambien, correct? :)

Anonymous said...

Downloaded the update, played for an hour (Wednesday, around 10:30-11:30pm Eastern time), no problems whatsoever.

gadzooks64 said...

This may be of no help whatsoever but I'll offer it up anyway.

I use Revo Uninstaller from CNet to uninstall any software I want or need to reinstall. It offers a more thorough uninstall process than can be achieved using the built in add/remove program offered by Windows.

I use the advanced level of uninstall that searches out any residual files and registry entries that might be corrupting a reinstall. Delete all items found by Revo before you attempt to reinstall.

It's worth a try if nothing else.

Unknown said...

played alot last night and tonight and no issues for me...

Unknown said...

A guess based on past windows problems is that the update didn't completely install for you (something very hard to diagnose). If you have a recent restore point or backup you could go back to those and then hope the update installs correctly the next time you open the poker stars app. With programs that update like this it can be very hard to figure out what the problem is, occasionally this happens with a windows update and it is a bear to find out what the problem is and to fix it accordingly. Better to go back in time to a backup or restore point. Good luck.

Anonymous said...

I played about an hour last night (had to install an update before I started) and I had no issues whatsoever.

Anonymous said...

Played several hours late afternoon and late evening without a problem