Friday, 26 November 2010

VC moves to Entraction. Bad for players?

It has been announced that VC Poker are moving, in mid December, from iPoker to Entraction.

Regardless of the whole ‘did they jump or were they pushed?’ discussion, we are interested to consider the various ways that this affects the poker player with a VC account.

Obviously, the first thing that becomes apparent is that the player has to move Networks without having a say in it. (please ignore the fact, for the time being, that the player can switch back to iPoker at any time if he wishes)

Let’s assume that VC Poker have made the decision purely from their own business point of view. This has the following implications for their customers……

1. The player now has to use software that is completely different to that he has been used to.

2. The player numbers on the new Network may be such that he cannot play at his preferred time and preferred game due to lack of tables running.

3. All the data that players have built up over months and years in software like PokerTracker or HoldemManager is now redundant and useless.

As far as point 1 goes, you have to assume that in most cases, this is going to be a negative for the player. Except in certain circumstances, it is fair to say that if a player liked the software at a different Network, he would play there. One exception may be that he plays at high limits and there is no action at other Networks so he has to put up with software to play the game he needs.

However, a huge portion of the online community, including VC customers, are playing at levels with a Big Blind of $1 or less. Entraction is currently ranked only 13th busiest by PokerScout but there is still plenty of action at most times for these limits.

It surely follows, then, that if players preferred Entraction software to iPoker, they would already be playing there.

Point 2 is related to point 1 in as much as the player numbers will dictate to some players where they choose to play. If Software is not an issue then the real hardcore grinders playing 16 tables 6 hours a day is not going to want to move to a Network that has a significantly smaller player base.

There may just be enough tables to get going but the option of good table selection may be taken away due to the fewer player numbers.

The subject of the ‘grinder’ brings us nicely to point 3.

Many players on VC will have a database of players built up over hundreds of thousands of hands.

They rely on this data in their PokerTracker or HEM to maximise their winrate.

That will disappear OVERNIGHT.

Bear in mind this example from an iPoker player that I know personally.

He has been grinding out rake in the region of $10-$15k a month for maybe 3 years now.

His deal on iPoker is good but he is maybe missing out on an extra 10% return each month by not switching to a more beneficial VIP deal that is STILL ON THE iPOKER NETWORK.

The one and only reason he will not switch is because he wants the other players to know who he is. He is aware that all the stats that players have on him for NL200 and up will mean that he can more readily adapt his game in different situations.

In other words, he knows what they are thinking.

If he were to switch to another deal on iPoker, he would be anything from $1k to $1500 better off each month in terms of his VIP return BUT even though he still has all the player stats in his own database, his winrate will likely be affected by the fact that the opposition will be less predictable than before.

This change in winrate, he estimates, would likely cancel out his increased VIP return.

Admittedly this is an extreme example but there are many players in exactly the same situation.

Let us not also forget that VC were the worst kept secret at iPoker when it came to attracting high raking grinders on high return deals, ‘illegal’ or otherwise.

So, in conclusion, I feel that this can only be a negative move for VC’s players.

It is not often that a site has moved, apparently voluntarily, to a different Network and all it’s players stayed as they preferred the new home.

Some sites have even moved to bigger Networks with massively increased player numbers and the players just didn’t like it.

The whole focus of Poker sites nowadays is to promote player loyalty.

What a shame for all those loyal VC players who are now rewarded with unfamiliar software, smaller player numbers and redundant player stats.

On the other hand, I would invite comments here from VC players that are happy with the move.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

November already!

Wow, I can’t believe I missed a whole month without posting here.

In fairness, we were away in holiday for half of the month.

Obviously it’s great to go on holiday but there is always the dilemma about how to keep in touch with our players while we are away.

When we had a lot fewer players we would leave the automated vacation response on the email and then hope that nothing major would go wrong while we were away.

However, now we have a much bigger player pool we need to make the effort to keep in touch as much as possible without spoiling our well needed break from poker.

Unfortunately, staying online is not easy when you are on a ship in the Atlantic Ocean!

When there was internet access the charges were extortionate and the connection speed was not what you would call ‘fast’.

It was not unusual for us to take 10 mins just to open an email, read the contents and write a simple 2 line reply and send it.

Fortunately nothing much happened during the holiday and we are fortunate to have some very patient and understanding players too.

At least by answering some of the emails and filtering out the junk and spam, there were not 350 mails waiting when we finally returned.

We’ve been back 6 days now and probably just about caught up.

I think I need a holiday…………….