Poker Words - A Poker Blog

Mostly a recount of my poker exploits along with a bunch of random other stuff just for fun.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Favorite Features of Online Card Rooms

Favorite Features of Online Card Rooms

I was thinking I’d list some of the cooler features that I’ve seen at some of the online poker rooms.  Things that I wish they all did.  Bear in mind that the number of sites I’ve played at is somewhat limited, but I think I’ve at least tried most of the major players.  When it comes right down to it, poker sites are pretty much the same.  There’s only so much you can do to make the experience at one site different than another.  In the end we’re all playing poker.  That being said, there is a huge difference between the good sites and the ones that just assume if they flash chips and cards in front of people no one will notice how much their software sucks.

Custom Avatars:  PokerStars and FullTilt.  Stars does a little better in this, allowing you to upload just about any image you want, while FullTilt has a library of avatars to choose from.  It helps you recognize players more easily (which could be both good or bad) but it also makes the game less bland.  It gets old seeing the same images or non-images at every table.  Other sites like Titan and TruePoker also let you choose your avatar, but I don’t think they have as much variety.  I could be wrong.

Winning Percentage:  PokerRoom.  When two players are all in, they put up the percentages for how likely each hand is to win, like on poker television broadcasts.  I think it’s a cool feature.  Although I guess when morons start calling all-ins with any ace and see that they have only a 23% chance to win, maybe they’ll start learning to be better players.  

Hot Keys:  PokerRoom.   I think PokerRoom and its skins are the only sites that have this option.  F1 is check/fold, F2 call and F3 raise.  This is a nice feature for those of us that are too lazy to move a mouse around, or those of us using a laptop touchpad which is sometimes a pain in the ass.  What would be even better is if you could customize this on a per table basis, so that on one table F3 is raise, but on another it would be F6.  This way you wouldn’t have to worry about which table has focus and accidentally fold your aces instead of hour 83o

VIP club: PokerStars. I’m a sucker for free stuff.  You want to reward the hundred of dollars in rake I generated at your site with a crappy t-shirt that just serves as cheap advertising for you?  Sign me up!   Most sites have programs like this.  You slowly accumulate some sort of player point, and then you can cash them in for merchandise.  Sometimes you can get free entries into tournaments or bonuses, but most of the time it just seems like you are just getting crap.  I think Stars has the right idea with their VIP club. Sure, I doubt I’ll ever see anything past the very bottom levels of their club tiers, but it is nice to know that if I ever do end up moving up in to higher stakes, I could be rewarded with iPods or flat screen displays, or entries into WPT and WSOP events.  

Deal Making  Party Poker.  Ok, I haven’t actually played at Party since they announced this feature a while ago, and I haven’t made it to many final tables, so I don’t know if other sites offer this, but if they don’t, they should.  I’ve seen some final tables at Stars where the participants basically had to contact support during the tournament and get the support person to mediate a deal amongst the final players.  Party automated this, and I think it is something that I would appreciate if I ever found myself at the final table of large tourney.  

Large SNGs  Stars, PokerRoom.  Poker Stars has 20 table SNGs.  PokerRoom has something similar with their 10 table Centurian Cup SNGs, although the fees are 50% higher than normal and it might be only a month long promotion.   These are genius.  I hate when I’m in the mood to play in a MTT, but the only ones at site I’m on have too many/few players, or the stakes aren’t what I want or they aren’t starting for another two hours or whatever.  I’d like to be able to say I want to play in a big tournament right now, and then do it.  I’m a huge fan of these tournaments, and I hope the other sites follow in PokerStar’s lead.  Of course it helps to have such a huge player base, so this one might take a while for most sites to adapt.

Game Variety.   FullTilt and GamesGrid have Razz, Ultimate Bet has Crazy Pineapple and Triple Draw, FullTilt has HORSE,  GamesGrid has dealer call it.   Some sites don’t even offer Omaha or Stud.  Sure the only game I’m reasonably good at and the only one I play sober is Holdem, but I think it’s a great idea for the various sites to offer other games.  Even though I suck at them, its fun to try something else every once in a while, and, crazy as it might sound, there are actually people that prefer other games.  

Current Position Indicator During Tournaments.  PokerChamps.  I like to keep an eye on where I’m at as far as tournament standings, as well as where the other people at my table are, and where the chip leaders are.  I usually have my table up in one window, and the tourney leaderboard up right next to it.  During tournaments on PokerChamps they put your current place right next to your name so you don’t have to keep checking and refreshing the leaderboard.  Something that not everyone might want, but I appreciate it.

So yeah.   That’s all I have right now.  I’m sure there are other things that I should have included or sites that I didn’t credit that have some of these same features but I think it’s a pretty good list.  Now someone needs to get to work and create me a site that matches all those criteria.  Let me know when you’re done.



At 11:18 AM, Blogger The poker legend "The Jester" said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 4:48 PM, Blogger Judd P said...

Very nice list of features. Funny that you didn't mention the (over)bet pot button on UB.

On a serious note, I love the idea that UB has going with the TECs (Tournament Entry Chips). It's good for a $100 tournament and if you win one you generally get the $9 that you will pay to the house when you use your chip. This is better than other satelite methods because you can win one on a Saturday afternoon and play with it on a day of your choosing. Often times satellites are played the afternoon of the tournament, so if you satellite in it could make for a 6 or 7 hour day of poker (if you do well). I like the idea of qualifying one day and playing another day. Plus, they have SNGs and tournaments (rebuy and freezeout) where you can win the TECs. Awesome idea.

At 6:24 PM, Blogger ZeRat11 said...

Yeah I don't really play on UB. I tried it once just to check out the software, but I haven't deposited there yet. Like I said, I'm sure I missed a ton of cool things that other sites are doing.


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