From the earliest days of online poker, Sunday has been the main tournament day of the week. It is an opportunity for online sites to show off their product, and guarantee large prize pools that can award life-changing money to fortunate winners.
At least those events can occur if the servers keep running.
That all was not well on partypoker on Sunday evening in Europe became apparent through Twitter and Discord posts from frustrated customers. To their credit, partypoker acknowledged they were having problems promptly on Twitter:
“We can confirm we have reports of connection problems on @partypoker which we are investigating as top priority. We will update further when we have more information. MTTs will be paused immediately.”
A little over half an hour later, it seemed the gremlins were in the process of being forced back into their cages:
“Update: The intention is to restart at or around 10pm UK, 11pm CET. We Will update further if this changes further. Many apologies for the severe interruption to our services tonight.”
Unfortunately for the site and its customers, the subsequent update was an announcement that all tournaments in progress had been canceled:
“With sincere apologies we are unable to resume tournaments quickly enough this evening. Therefore we are cancelling the games and our refunds policy comes into effect, sums will be paid within 48 hours see https://help.partypoker.com/en/general-information/security/disconnection-and-cancellation.”
The responses from customers were swift and mostly vitriolic, both on Twitter and partypoker’s Discord server. Some were prepared to cut partypoker some slack, if only via backhanded compliment. As Discord user “Chris/punish” noted:
“To be fair, been a while since they shit the bed. Almost overdue.”
It is also worth pointing out that partypoker at least has a Discord server where customers can share concerns and suggestions. That’s a far cry from the accessibility afforded to U.S. online poker players on WSOP.com. Customer service on that regulated site is restricted to email. Typical response times are four days, and the quality of the information provided is typically poor.
Even so, it’s been a difficult year for partypoker on the technical front, thanks largely to the controversy surrounding an apparently-bugged seating algorithm in their fastforward games. Today’s cancellations further erode trust in the brand.
Compounding customers’ irritation is the fact that the end of the month also creates a time crunch for completing rake-back challenges, as well as points competitions on the site based on volume. And some on Twitter went as far as to suggest that the cancelation of tournaments was triggered by several MTTs overlaying.
Operating in a difficult market
While the frustration expressed by customers is understandable, it’s worth pointing out that partypoker is compelled to operate in a difficult, semi-regulated market. In Europe in particular, ongoing changes in legislation in multiple countries have a knock-on effect to the technical side of online poker operations.
Software updates in particular may be subject to different verification requirements, leading to different iterations of the client software being run simultaneously in different legal jurisdictions.
Legal consistency and uniformity would therefore have a positive impact on all online poker sites currently attempting to serve the international market. Equally, by exhibiting business and technical competence, online sites might encourage legislatures to treat their product in a more positive and helpful fashion.
Featured image source: Twitter