When you contact customer support you expect a polite — if boilerplate — reply from an underpaid temp. Not, as happened to Terrence Chan, a text from the company’s owner asking: “are you dumb?”
Poker Shares is a company owned by Mike McDonald. And it’s one of the few places you can reliably get a line on whatever non-mainstream nonsense the poker world is up to. If you need a line on the latest heads-up challenge, they’re the place to look.
The lack of competition in this sphere seems to have taken a toll on the professionalism of its operators though, as evidenced by Chan’s weird experience.
Chan relayed his tale in a long Twitter thread that began: “This is a tweetstorm I never thought I’d write, and I’m disappointed I had to write. In it, I’m going to call out [Poker Shares] and [Mike McDonald], a site and a person I’ve been a fan of.”
Nine big blinds per hundred
The problem centers around the Landon Tice v. Bill Perkins heads-up challenge. Poker Shares had both players listest at -109. If you prefer decimal odds, then that’s 1.92. If you prefer fractional odds, then God have mercy on your soul. The key thing is, Chan was thrilled to be able to bet on the poker pro over the business guy at even odds.
But the challenge is not an even match up. Tice is paying Perkins a handicap of 9bb per hundred hands. That means, in order to break even, Tice will have to come out ahead by $720,000 over the course of the 20,000 heads up poker hands.
Chan claims not to have known about this handicap. Customer support sent out an email clarifying that the bet pays out only if Tice beats the handicap. They allowed that if Chan did not understand this, he could cancel the bet, just so long as it was within 24-hours.
“They email me to “clarify” the terms of the bet,” Chan tweeted. “I say, wat, and send them the screenshots (from above) which clearly indicate no such thing.”
The maximum bet was $1,000. So one must remember that what follows is entirely a matter of honor for the two high stakes gamblers.
Chan didn’t want to cancel the bet. But he wasn’t accepting the handicap either. He seems to have written back suggesting that the mistake was Poker Shares’s not his, and that his bet should stand without the handicap.
This is when McDonald, owner of Poker Shares, got involved. He and Chan know each other personally, and McDonald did not take Chan’s request kindly.
Chan explained: “Almost immediately I get a private message from [McDonald…]. Note that this isn’t trimmed at all; the first words of this conversation are in fact, “are you dumb?””
Chan tweeted out a copy of the full conversation. Ever the charmer, McDonald took to Twitter to defend his name.
“If Terrance needed a few grand he could have just asked,” he tweeted at one person who took his side.
Soon both sides were accusing the other of angle shots. Unsurprisingly with poker Twitter the claws came out, and everyone was suddenly an expert on customer relations and gambling Ts & Cs. There are plenty of takes to be found, from Melissa Burr’s nugget analogy to Todd Witteles “Timex should eat this one,” or Norman Chad’s simple: “Really, Terrence?”
What makes the interaction stand out is the total lack of professionalism from McDonald.
Instead of trying to calm his customer, or apologize for the confusion, he flat out insults him. It’s either obnoxious or refreshing depending on your stance, but it probably comes at a price for his company overall.
Chan may well have been in the wrong, but either way, if you lack a stomach for confrontation, you might end up looking for another bookie. And that can’t be good for the price of Poker Shares’s shares.
Image source: Twitter