RANT -- Why is the Poker Industry not customer-centric?

    • brian997
      brian997
      Bronze
      Joined: 07.04.2008 Posts: 475
      It Fucking Pisses me off that these poker rooms are still in existence, robbing people of their money.
      No, this isn't a rant about online poker being rigged. This is a rant about poker rooms and their enticing bonuses/promotions which they use to lure people in. They make these promotions sound so good to most people, but when it comes time to pay out, its a whole other story.
      Now when I say 'most people' I mean the general public, not the semi-pro, or even the seasoned gambler. I meant the person who googles "online poker site" and downloads the first program he sees just to try it.
      They offer things like 100% deposit bonus, I'm sure you've all seen it before. To a player who is just starting out, this is enticing. But wait! Heres the first catch, you need to deposit a minimum amount in order to get it! So the average person who was just looking to spend $20, now deposits $50, just to get the extra bonus. They use terms like raked hand (which has no standard definition), or points (which again, changes from site to site).
      Then, the player wants to make a withdrawal, but finds he doesn't meet the conditions. What conditions? Well there is the minimum time (most sites require you to be active for 30 days or more). Then there is the minimum number of raked hands (which are often at an excessively high limit level, such as NL50 or more!) Finally there is a minimum amount to withdrawal. Which is often higher than the minimum deposit level!

      Don't even get me started on the rake levels. A poker site charges, on average, 5% rake per hand. With the largest sites having on average 10-15k players at a time (some are way higher), that means that they are dealing an average of 100k hands per hour. If you say the average pot is $1 (again, very low as it is probably much higher), these sites are making $5k/hr. There is no way that the server costs/overhead/employee costs total more than $1k/hr.
      After a quick internet search, it appears I am correct, last year Poker Stars made 280 million.

      So what are they doing for the customer?
      Not a whole lot. Other than providing a very basic service, when was the last time that a poker site did something for you?

      Sure they may give you a rakeback deal, through an affiliate. Or they'll offer a 'reload' bonus. But really only high volume players get good deals. What ever happened to the little guy? Without low stakes players, these poker sites would be broke.
      Its time that the online poker industry became more like the rest of the casino industry, and start doing a little bit more to provide good customer service.
      Let me put it to you this way.
      You walk into a casino with $50. Then they tell you that you can't come in unless you have $100 in your pocket. Does that seem fair?
      Then you start playing, maybe for about three hours or so. They take away 5% of your winnings. In this situation it may be fair, because they have a lot of expenses, but running a server is not that expensive!
      Then you want to leave, but the pit manager tells you that you can't go until you've played 100 hands, at the high limits. So wanting to get your money back, you go ahead and do this. Then you get lucky perhaps you break even (after more rake of course). Then he tells you that you need at least $200 to be able to cash out.
      Tell me a time that you have ever seen a brick and mortar casino do this! Its time that the online poker industry realize that they need to be a little more focused on providing customers what they want, a fair service for price paid.

      [/RANT]
      Flame away now & thanks for reading.
      -Brian
  • 10 replies
    • Vargan
      Vargan
      Bronze
      Joined: 07.03.2008 Posts: 565
      PokerStars support is VERY GOOD. Seriously. Last big thing they did for me was retracking me to pokerstrategy.

      I gotto ask - I know its a rant but what is it about? Pokersites lures in new players who used google? Oh no. Do you have any idea how much shit you buy because of advertising? In a way its the same thing.

      I do think most sites care alot for their customers. Its not their fault some people are better than others at playing.


      What happened to you?
    • brian997
      brian997
      Bronze
      Joined: 07.04.2008 Posts: 475
      Originally posted by Vargan
      PokerStars support is VERY GOOD. Seriously. Last big thing they did for me was retracking me to pokerstrategy.

      I gotto ask - I know its a rant but what is it about? Pokersites lures in new players who used google? Oh no. Do you have any idea how much shit you buy because of advertising? In a way its the same thing.
      The quoting of Stars earnings was in no reflection to their service. Stars and Titan do have really nice people working for them. I'm talking about a lot of the other sites, the smaller ones, not the big 5.
      Again the google thing was just explaining the average player.

      Originally posted by Vargan
      I do think most sites care alot for their customers. Its not their fault some people are better than others at playing.
      This I would disagree with :P And this has nothing to to with playing poker, its the polices regarding deposits and withdrawals.

      Originally posted by Vargan
      What happened to you?
      I had my bankroll seized and my account closed by PokerTime. I deposited, play zero hands, then tried to withdraw. They denied it. I then played the minimum number of raked hands at much higher stakes than I should have been playing at. Tthen attempted a withdrawal again, then they closed my account and seized my funds. They sent me this email:

      Dear Mr. blank
      Due to a breach of our terms of service, security has locked your account and your funds have been temporarily seized.
      Please contact us if you have any further questions regarding this issue.

      Best regards,

      PokerTime: E-cash department
      support@pokertime.com
      So I emailed them asking what the fuck they were doing. They said that my funds would be returned after they verified my account (I now have to send id check and other things), and waited the minimum 3 months for a withdrawal.
      Then, to top it off! They gave me a fucking reload bonus code to deposit more money!

      PS I'm off to work now, so don't take my lack of further replies as me ignoring you :P
    • Vargan
      Vargan
      Bronze
      Joined: 07.03.2008 Posts: 565
      Then play the big sites. Its insanly hard and compepetive market, thats why everyone is shooting reload codes at you. Once you get really big in an industry you get very hard to break.

      Pokertime? Sounds like shit. Both the site and the treatment you have gotten. Why is their suport so bad? They probably dont pay that much, have few people/stressed people, lack of policies, bad leadership - could be many things to be honest. I would do my standard "how about I report you to my bank and they handle it" routine. Takes a few emails but they give up eventually. I have an advantage though as I live in a country with extremly powerful consumer laws.


      About deposit/withdraw policies. Ive been annoyed with FTP, as they have $100/$100 limit on VISA transactions. But Pokerstars are great! I deposited $600 to get the full 2X WCOOP reload bonus, and I have withdrawn them again no questions asked. Yes I am pokerstars biased, with good reason! HAH!


      ps: DONT INGNORE ME! :P
    • luxdelux
      luxdelux
      Bronze
      Joined: 03.01.2008 Posts: 140
      vargan i tried everything, how did u manage to get your account retracked?
    • LuborC
      LuborC
      Bronze
      Joined: 20.04.2008 Posts: 1,243
      Most importantly how did you get Stars to retrack your account? I wrote them a couple of emails myself but they always said there was nothing they could do for me..

      I think that Poker Time is part of either iPoker or Microgaming. Either way its one of the bigger networks so I can only imagine what the really small sites are like..

      My experience is with Action Poker they gave me really nice 40 bucks no deposit bonus shich is great but they have no traffic at all so it is basically impossible to get the 400 points needed to cash out.

      So yeah I kind of know what you mean but still I think you will get your money back eventually and the sites that suck will either improve or go out of business.. Till then I am staying at Party.
    • Vargan
      Vargan
      Bronze
      Joined: 07.03.2008 Posts: 565
      Originally posted by luxdelux
      vargan i tried everything, how did u manage to get your account retracked?
      You are going to hate this but I got lucky. Really. Its what happened.
      If they tell you it cant be done, it cant be done.
    • SonicXT
      SonicXT
      Bronze
      Joined: 15.06.2007 Posts: 4,736
      7 big blinds/100 at NL100 is really a sick amount ... gotta agree with that
    • Velak
      Velak
      Bronze
      Joined: 19.04.2008 Posts: 542
      Originally posted by Vargan
      Then play the big sites.
      I'm pretty sure he DOES play big sites now. I think it's due to the fact that.. you know, before he knew any better.. he clicked on a banner.. and..

      well, here.. maybe following this backstory might help:

      In the beginning... (the backstory)

      I can certainly see the point of the rant. I'm sure he wasn't intentionally trying to claim that PokerStars had anything to do with any of it.
    • MacDos
      MacDos
      Bronze
      Joined: 23.01.2006 Posts: 44
      Well i have to say that I am, too, astonished how sites are dealing with their CUSTOMERS. Maybe it's because so many Casinos join the action... maybe it's just my point of view, but the reason I like Pokerstars more than other sites is, that I've got the feeling, that they are a poker room and no casino, that tries to lure people into gambling...
      I think it's a standard casino line "you can't cash out unless you deposit more" (and lose more of course)
      maybe I'm missing the point, but I think sites that treat their players more like customers that play on their property (servers) will benefit more than the standard casino that offers poker just because that will make their site more interesting for gamblers..
    • ManniXXX
      ManniXXX
      Bronze
      Joined: 05.09.2007 Posts: 707
      Originally posted by brian997
      when was the last time that a poker site did something for you?
      Earlier today, they allowed me to play poker on my computer against other real people! Great thing this internet.

      Really though your whole argument about the low stakes player being misfairly treated is ridiculous. Yes they are making a lot of profit but most of this profit comes from the high stakes players and not the low ones, think about it. To compare them to a brick and mortar casino is also ridiculous, brick and mortars have a house edge in every single other game than poker and in poker they don't need an edge because of the rake; of course they are going to treat you like royalty.

      The bonuses really aren't that hard to clear, Pokerstars gives you 6 months which is more than enough time even at NL10. You are also missing out the countless low stakes no fee tourneys that stars hold, the free play chips tourneys and ring games that any brand new player can use to practice on, get a feel for the game and how it all works, for absolutly no cost to themselves.

      Also, minimum deposit @ stars is $10 so I don't know where you pulled your figure from.