Friday, May 01, 2009

PokerStars is making me VERY grumpy

Tuesday night, after downloading the latest software update, the PokerStars client began giving me fits. It shuts itself off every three to six minutes or so when I'm playing. Wednesday I wrote about my initial contacts with the support team.

Nobody who left a comment on that post has been having the same problem. Nothing I have tried has remedied the situation. The subject sure doesn't seem to be burning up the chat forums, as it undoubtedly would if a large percentage of users were affected.

Last night I tried my usual nightly HORSE sit-and-go, and the software quit at least a dozen times. EXTREMELY annoying. Intolerable, actually. I won't do that again until they get this fixed. They will not be getting my daily $1-$2 in tournament fees. That'll show 'em! I will bring them to their knees by withholding my mobneys in protest!

To make matters worse, PokerStars support, for the first time ever in my contact with them, is acting about as incompetent as the average counter person at McDonald's.

After the maddening experience with the SNG last night, I fired off another email to support, asking them for a progress report. This is what I received in return:

Thank you for your email.

I can confirm that we have not had people reporting similar problems. Can
you make sure that your computer is not infected with a virus or other similar
program that would cause this to happen. If that is for sure not the case then I
am afraid that we need to wait until the programmers have investigated the
problem from your log files. I am very sorry for the inconveniences.

Thank you for your patience and understanding, meanwhile, if you have
any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us again. Good
Best Regards,
Tarvi R
PokerStars Support Team

Huh? First they told me that the problem was, in fact, due to their software update, and now they're saying it's not.

So I wrote back:

Yes, I am very confident that I have no virus or other malware. Why was the
previous message (see below) that the problem was related to the recent update?
And when will your programmers investigate the log files?

A short time later, this message hit my inbox:

Thank you for your email.

I am sorry for the confusion, the message was true. Apparently we have been
reported similar issues from a few other players, I am sorry that I was not
aware of this!

I mentioned the virus possibility just to make sure, as this has been a
case in the past. Good that that is cleared.

Now I can only apologize again for not being informed enough and also
apologize for the inconveniences. I hope the issue will be handled soon.

Good luck!
Best Regards,

Tarvi R
PokerStars Support Team

So first it was due to their software update, then it wasn't, then it was again. Whatever is going on over at Stars, it seems that the right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing. I love the wording that the writer can "confirm" that nobody else has the problem, followed, upon my further questioning, with a retraction. Thanks for that in-depth investigation you did before announcing what you can "confirm," Tarvi R. First-rate work you're doing there.

This does not inspire confidence that they have their A-team working day and night to get the issue resolved.

I didn't really think it would accomplish anything, but I wanted to express my irritation at the completely useless wording of that last message, so I sent this back:

With all due respect, your "hoping" that the issue will be resolved soon and
wishing me "good luck" accomplishes nothing. I need answers and time frames. Are
we talking tomorrow? A week? A month?

Predictably, I got basically a bedbug letter in reply:

Thank you for your email.

Unfortunately I cannot promise you anything as this is out of my hands. As
you were told, our programmers team is working on it. I am very sorry and I hope
for understanding. We understand that nobody benefits from the issues and the
team is working hard in order to have it solved as soon as possible.

Again, I am sorry, and thank you for your patience and
Best Regards,

Tarvi R
PokerStars Support Team

Yeah, right. The team is "working hard." So hard they didn't even bother telling you, Tarvi R, that there was an issue. So hard that they haven't put up any sort of notice on the sign-in page explaining to customers what's going on, thus leaving us to waste time with steps like I took, thinking the problem might lie in my own computer.

The claim that the team is "working hard" to resolve the issue made me think of "Raiders of the Lost Ark." Toward the end, Indiana Jones tries to find out what the government is doing to locate the Ark:
Maj. Eaton: We have top men working on it now.
Indiana: Who?
Maj. Eaton: Top. Men.

You may recall that that last line is uttered with a withering, shut-the-hell-up look and tone, leaving no doubt that the subject is closed. Permanently.

Stars is handling this in about the way I would expect from UltimateBlecch--sweeping it under the rug and pretending like nothing is going on, while lying to its customers--rather than in the straightforward, up-front way that I would have expected based on my previous dealings with the company. To say I'm disappointed and disillusioned would be a gross understatement. I am, frankly, appalled and disgusted.

And very, very grumpy.


Pokerwolf said...

Try re-downloading the client from the Stars website. I had an issue where the client wouldn't even LOAD a few days ago (Error: Cannot connect to the internet?!), I did that and it works fine now.

Apparently, sometimes their updates completely bork the client. So, go grab another copy and give it a shot if you haven't done so already.

Michael said...

Just some tech insight from my previous careers and current job. You are in support limbo, for lack of a better term, programmers are 'delicate geniuses' (Seinfeld reference) and don't typically deal with end users. So first level support who handles your calls is essentially handcuffed. The geniuses don't talk to 1st level support either, so they get to hear the customer's complaints with no resolution or insight into the matter.

Only suggestions I could provide and you might have done so already would be to completely uninstall Poker stars software and reinstall a fresh version, it's possible something went wrong in the upgrade or during the upgrade they didn't anticipate something that your particular system had installed and is causing the issue.

Some of the other options, would be to self troubleshoot. Since it's working on other's systems, Try to turn off anything in the background, virus checkers, web browsers if running, etc. You might have nothing running with it, but again just a suggestion. What you are shooting for here is a clean slate in order to try and determine the problem, doesn't mean it's going to be fixed, but if you discover what program maybe interfering that knowledge should help the developers zero in on the problem.

Hope it gets resolved for you soon though.

Philly said...

I had a problem (it's been months ago) and I had to deal with the Pokerstars support people. I will tell you that they were very helpful. It turned out to be my router. Once I switched it out, everything was fixed and I have never had another problem. Before that, the software was giving me fits...or so I thought. Actually, as they explained to me, I wasn't online continuously. It was cutting out sporadically, and because the "image" remained on my screen, I did not realize that I was going on and off line. I wonder if your problem is similar?

Shrike said...

Sorry to hear about your difficulties with the Stars client. I have to say, invoking the end of the Raiders of the Lost Ark is very apt -- truly a hilarious denouement that goes a long way to satirizing humourless bureaucracy at its worst.