Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Shooting Stars

As long-time readers of the blog are aware, I've been a little unhappy with Full Tilt in the recent past. They've closed an account of mine a few months ago, stating that I can have only one user account. No problem; I was in fact in violation.... but then when I closed the account and transferred my money back to the old account, Full Tilt confiscated all my frequent player points and tokens I had accumulated under the new account and never reimbursed me for them. Bastards.

About the same time, Full Tilt basically accused me of colluding with Mr. Multi on my old account. Never mind that any analysis of our hands played together would show no such thing ever occurred, and, in fact, would have shown that we tended to play harder against each other than anyone else at the tables. Didn't matter. We were summarily banned from ever playing at the same table or tournament (up to 180 man) and put on a watch list. Bastards, part deux.

Then, a few weeks ago, FT went and froze my account for three full days, evidently believing that I had somehow done something hinky with the Guru online, which, of course, was absurd. Full Tilt had me feeling like I was living in Mexico, the land of guilty-until-proven-innocent. After reviewing my log-in history, FT realized I had done nothing wrong and unfroze my account... but not until after three days of worry that I was going to lose my bankroll. During that entire period, by the way, I only got a form email from them (in response to my repeated emails to Support, Security, and the Cashier) that said they'd received my complaint. There was basically no way to get in touch with a live person to work out the problem. Instead, I was at their mercy, waiting and just hoping they would come through. Bastards Cubed.

Well, today I went and transferred some of my valuable FT 'roll over to another site. No, I'm not going to quit Full Tilt completely in the near-term. For one thing, I've got a lot of frequent player points accumulated there, plus some tokens I'd like to use. I also like some of the tables and features they offer. That said, I am going to start giving some of my business to their main competitor: Poker Stars.

So, tonight, after transferring my dough over, I took a little time and set up PT3 to run in 'Stars, and then I poked around the site, figuring out how to sort and scout tables, set my options up properly, etc. I watched a few tables and just got into the groove of the interface. A few things immediately came up:

Pros:
  1. The fish pool on 'Stars is three times bigger that 'Tilt. Tonight when I played, there were over 200,000 players betting on 30K tables. Pretty impressive. Better yet, it seemed relatively easy to find fish-filled games without trying too hard.
  2. There's rake-back on 'Stars. Well, not exactly rake-back per se, but they do have something called the VIP club which takes a multiple of your frequent player points (FPP) you accumulate and awards something called VPP points. If you play enough, the VPPs can be converted directly into cash. To be honest, I'm not entirely sure how the VPP system works yet, but the folks over on the 2+2 forums have said it's a pretty sweet deal when compared to rake-back on other sites like Full Tilt. I was essentially getting zero rake-back on 'Tilt, so this is potentially a big plus.

Cons:
  1. The user interface on Poker Stars sucks. It's hard to tell when someone has left a table, the avatars can't seem to be turned off (and, worse, they're annoying pictures that the players have uploaded). The bet slider bar is also crappy; it's just not conducive to point-and-shoot multi-tabling. This is an area that 'Stars could learn something from 'Tilt.
  2. I don't have Mr. Multi's cool Full Tilt 4-color deck to use on 'Stars. Believe me, I've gotten spoiled using that deck. Maybe I can bribe MM into creating some similar cards for 'Stars....
  3. The 'Stars game filters don't seem to have quite as many options as the filters on 'Tilt. Not a big deal, but it is noticeable. For instance, I don't think you can set a minimum $-amount for average pot size to filter on. I've found this to be a useful feature on 'Tilt to aid in table selection.

Okay, so, after saying all that, and after poking around the site I bit, I went and jumped into 4 simultaneous tables of $10NL 6max. I did some simple pre-game table selection (table VPIP and average pot size), and once I got playing, I didn't hesitate to leave a table when the situation changed for the worse. I ran a very solid 17/14 game, picking on the weak players and avoiding the sharks. I only got in 200 hands, but I posted an easy $10 in profit (knock on wood this can/will continue). Winning was due mostly to the mistakes and bad play of the opp, versus anything I did particularly clever. In fact, per my own "luck" analysis of W$SD, I ran a little worse than I usually do, but I still posted a tidy profit. The secret was just ABC poker, almost no bluffing, exploiting position, squeezing a few times when their were multiple limpers upstream, and betting for value whenever I thought I was ahead. Like I said: nothing particularly clever.

The bottom line is: playing on 'Stars was a nice change of pace from 'Tilt, and I'm definitely planning on hitting their site a fair bit in the coming weeks. In fact, I may try a YIPES-type experiment and see how much (if any) I can build my measly initial $100 transfer (now: $110) bankroll up on the site. I'll keep you posted.

No I gotta go get some work done....
All-in for now...
-Bug

1 comment:

  1. Bummer on Full Tilt!! To have something happen once is bad enough, but twice, particular when they hold all your hard earned $$$ is downright scary. I'd seriously think of switching to another site as well.

    As to Poker Stars, as you know I've liked that site, as it is where I spent most of my time while earning my $50 signing bonus.

    One of the features I like about Poker Stars is you can create and use your own icon. I have one and would love to be able to use on Full Tilt.

    My bankroll has run down on Poker Stars so I've not played there much lately, but will get back one of these days and build it back up again.

    Keep up the good, winning play there.

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