Haley's Poker Blog

No bad beats, but still a poker blog... hence the anguish.

Monday, March 13, 2006

SITE REVIEW - PACIFIC POKER

Well, let's see... since I've been thrashing and trashing all day while writing these reviews, I may as well sit down and take a few swipes at Pacific Poker, one of my least favorite online poker sites. With a heavy heart and a Diet Dew-flavored sigh, here we go again...

To me, Pacific just isn't worth my time. Despite having some of the easiest online ring games you'll find --- no matter what stakes you choose --- Pacific's drawbacks override the easy action to turn this into a negative for me. That said, there is one situation where I could highly recommend playing at Pacific. I'll get to that in a bit.

So what bugs me about Pacific? It's hard to define, exactly, but there's a back-alley, sorta-sleazy feel about the whole operation. Maybe it's because Pacific is part of the 888/Casino-on-Net family of online gaming interests, and they're habitual spammers: I tend not to keep in high regards those who believe they have some sort of right to deposit their ads, hijacking mail servers and falsifying return paths in the process, onto other people's private property. Had I received any of the 888 spam before I joined Pacific --- or remembered that I had, lol --- I probably wouldn't have given them a shake in the first place. But c'est la vie. And tempis fugit, too.

Let's consider the here-and-now, where we realize just how inadequate Pacific is when compared to its competitiors. When's the last time that Pacific did a significant software upgrade? "Never" seems to be the working answer. As with the first time I played there, several years back, users can still only play one table at a time, and user play is still negatively impacted by those hot-key macros Pacific insists on including for "player ease." If only. What this refers is to is that actions such as call, fold or raise can be taken simply by pressing the appropriate key: a "C" for call, an "F" for fold, and so on.

Das ist nicht gut? Nein, liebchen, nein! Because, let's just say you want to take a note on Fish_Face across the table, who sees half the flops and tries to cap it before the flop every time he does. So you want to type in your "manic pre-flop raiser" type of note --- guess what happens if a new hand starts and it's cycled through to your position when you type the "F" in "flop"? Pray that you don't have rockets; either that or swear off the taking of notes. And it happens the opposite way, too: I can't count the number of times I've made an accidental donkey raise with a hand like the 10 of hearts and the 3 of clubs. I'm bad enough already, Pacific; I don't need the additional help.

Why an open "notes" window on Pacific isn't programmed to lock out the hot-key macros is something left for the historians to debate. All I know is that it really, really sucks. And after about the 100th time of having the wrong action taken accidentally, I'd flat-out had enough. Pacific is easy pickings for a better-than-average player, but it's frustrating to give half or more of your hourly rate away due to keyboard errors you shouldn't be suffering to begin with.

So it doesn't matter if Pacific offers an okay sign-on bonus (it's okay, but not great), or if the programming runs quick and easy --- it's just not worth the aggravation. Pacific's one-table-only poker engine ought to be much easier for the site's programmers to code and maintain, but I think this is a steady-state site: what you see is what you get, and it ain't likely to change any time soon.

Let's "Float" That Baby: A major gripe with Pacific among online players is the abnormally slow turnaround when processing withdrawals. Pacific waits five business before handing over either your winnings or the remainder of your initial investment. I don't know why they need so long, and they're not telling, so you'll just have to deal with it. Again, all these things are contributing factors as to why the action is so easy here: many of the better players have fled for other sites, where they often can achieve a greater throughput for their time. I just think Pacific is cheap: We know they don't stick anything into program upgrades, so there's no reason to think they wouldn't want to take advantage of banking-system float, keeping your money tied up in their account a few extra days for whatever extra interest it earns. Call it that spammer mentality, like some doof claiming $3.2 million in revenue while living in a room in his mom's basement.

Customer service isn't the best, either. I had a fun time while changing my primary e-mail account here --- despite submitting multiple forms and using their live-chat feature twice, I had the hardest time in convincing them that they really couldn't receive a confirmation by sending a note, requesting same, to my old e-mail address. If that account was still in existence, would I need to change where I was having my e-mails sent? Major "duh" points there. This is where worn-out Hardee's employees relocate to, I believe.

I'm done with the trashing, seriously. Maybe it is better to have a site that adheres to the KISS approach --- Keep It Simple, Stupid. And, I said there might be a good time to play Pacific? Well, here's a possibility. If I had two computers hooked at once, one adjacent to each other, I'd consider using the cheaper, junkier computer to play a single table at Pacific while I used my good machine for bigger and better things. And I wouldn't worry a snoot about taking notes; I'd just find a cheap fixed-limit table, glance at it every so often, and slap the C, F or R key, as needed.

Pacific is an okay place to visit, but it should not be your primary site, regardless of its easy games. There's just so much more to online poker than what Pacific offers.

Remember, there's just not a whole lot of tender lovin' care here. And since they don't care, neither should you.

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