Summertop: If you look at the number of members (paid or free) then compare that number to how many are playing poker, you will see that the poker tables are not well received. If you then look at the throngs of people playing on other poker sites (that do not offer real money tables)...well it doesn't paint a pretty picture.
Well, one should take into account that this site is mostly visited by people wanting to play turn-based games. Poker is the odd-one out, as it's played real-time. The fact I seldomly play poker is that it requires my constant attention - if I play a chess or backgammon game, I can walk away at any moment.
But I'm not claiming there aren't any bugs. Nor am I disagreeing with any of the points you're making. I've been here for several years as well. I've seen the site grow, and I've seen Fencers attitude change. But the site costs only a few bucks/month, and each year I can decide whether I will stay, or spend my money otherwise.
coan.net: The typical way of avoiding people "sitting out" when it's their turn to be a blind is to require people to pay a big (or small) blind when joining a game in progress. Either by having them wait until they the big blind rotate to their seat, or by having them pay a big blind for the first hand they play after joining.
Alternatively, one could get rid of the blinds all together and require everyone to play an ante. But it's common for Texas Hold Em to have blinds instead of antes.
Czuch: The audit is that if there are any problems or cheats, nobody will play at your site.... poker sites are likely some of the best managed sites for bugs and hacking that there are!
Considering people are complaining that there are players here to use multiple nicks to inflate their ratings, I'm won't bet my money they won't use multiple nicks to play poker.
Note also that my main worry isn't bugs and hacking. How would I know of a poker site, that the software isn't rigged against me? How what I know which laws apply to a poker website, and how (if at all) those laws are enforced?
puupia: Players with 100k chips can force you to go all in all the time
Actually, they cannot not. They can do that 6 times, the 7th you will have 63.000 chips against their 38.000 chips (assuming you win - if you lose, there won't be a 7th time). While it's certainly an advantage to have more chips (although the advantage is less with limited bets), it's not a situation they can maintain for ever.
Fencer: Would people be interested in real cash games here?
No doubt some people would. I will not be any of them. And even if I were to play poker for cash in real life, I wouldn't do so on a website. There's audit that garantees me everything works as it should work.
Modified by AbigailII (24. February 2009, 08:57:11)
Summertop: I bet there aren't even a million chips in play yet.
Brainking claims to have 78992 players at the moment of this writing. That means close to 80 million chips where available the first day Poker was available. Granted, the overwhelming majority of those players never actually play here, so the total number of chips "in play" is less. But it only takes a 1000 players to have a million chips.
Summertop: These tournaments typically run a week. A week long tournament? How's that supposed to work? Not many people will be able to go without sleep for a week.
Note that in my suggestion, once you start the tournament, you got to stay till you're eliminated - there are no time outs or breaks. Now, a time limit may be a good idea - let the tournament run for one or two hours, and count the chips at the end. (To avoid people waiting till the last second before raising/betting/calling/checking/folding once they are ahead close before the time runs out, hide the exact time when the tournament finishes, or let a tournament be "1 hour + 20 hands", meaning that the tournaments ends 20 hands counting from an hour after the tournament started).
To come back of my promise of last Friday, here's is my suggestion on how poker tournaments could work.
Tournament creation First step is to create the tournament. The organizer sets a start date and time, and defines a few parameters (limit/pot limit/no limit; stakes seconds/move, max/min number of players). (S)he also has to define the number of chips a player starts with - the "buy in". I can imagine two variants: 1) players bring in their own chips (as is done now for the existing poker tables) and 2) tournament chips are not related to the total number of chips a player owns - you get a number of chips to play with, and they're gone afterwards. There should be some checks so that the combination of parameters are sane (stakes 5/10 with 10000 starting chips or stakes 500/1000 with 750 starting chips are not desirable parameter combinations)
Tournament signup There will be no advance signup. The table(s) ought to open for players a few (10?) minutes before the sceduled start of the tournament. Players should be seated before the tournament starts - or else they cannot participate.
Sitting out You cannot leave the table - once you're in, you have to continue playing.
Winning condition The winning condition is simple: last person to have a positive number of chips wins the tournament.
Blinds Blinds should be automatic, and there's no sitting out.
Stake increase Over time, when players get eliminated, the average number of chips/player will go up. Stakes (including blinds) should increase during the course of the tournament. To pull some numbers out of thin air: a 10% increase each time a player gets eliminated from the table, or if the button (dealer) has passed around the table twice, which ever comes first.
Timeouts Eliminating a player if (s)he timeouts is perhaps a bit harsh. However, keeping her/him in and having him/her timeout over and over again is very annoying of the other players. So I suggest the following. Once a player time outs, (s)he goes into "time out mode". A player in time out mode always puts in her/his blind (if (s)he is a blind); otherwise, as soon as it is her/his turn, (s)he folds. That way (s)he doesn't hold up the game, nor can (s)he win. Also, if a player times out, a button appears on his/her screen. Pushing the button brings her/hime out of timeout mode, and back into the game.
More tables If a tournament has 10 players or less, the tournament can be played on a single table. Otherwise, the tournament has to start on more than one table. As soon as 5 (or, in rare cases less) players are left at a table, they advance to the next round (keeping their current number of chips). Repeat until there's one table, with one winner left. Of course, another cut-off number could be picked as well (perhaps only the top 3 should advance).
Fencer: I'll be away most of this weekend so I probably won't participate in any discussion the next 48 hours. But I do have some ideas on how to have Poker tournaments on BK. I'll write it up on Monday.
coan.net: There are various ways. A house can take a percentage of the buy-in, or a percentage of the pot (sometimes capped at a maximum). Or it can take fixed fees. For instance, having the dealer pay a fee each round, or asking a fixed fee of every player every X minutes. Or they organize tournaments, and ask an entrance fee of all the participants. The difference between the sum of the entrance fees and the prize money is the rake of the house. Or the casino makes it money through other means, and uses poker to attract people that spend their money buying expensive drinks or something else.
There's of course the matter of 'inflation'. If new chips are injected into the system on a regular basis, one year from now, 1000 chips won't be worth what it is now today. Things that could be done to counteract this:
Once a day (or week, or 10 days), a tally is made of all the chip counts. Points get awarded to the N people with the highest chip counts, and all chip counts are reset to 1000. Statistics could be created for people having the most points, and having scored the most points in the last D days (D=365 gives you a year).
On a nightly or weekly bases, everyone who has more than Z chips will be deducted by Q%. This requires some tuning for acceptable values of Z and Q.
"Glamour" tables, in which you can only participate after paying a significant amount of chips as house stake; but that only works if there's something to force players to participate at such tables. One way of 'forcing' people is to barr players having a large number of chips on "regular" tables if they haven't played at a "glamour" table in the last W days.
But these are just some wild ideas, I'd expect many people not liking them.
Fencer: Well, here's my suggestion then: every day, everyone who has less than X chips, get Y new chips, (maxed out at X). Suggested values for (X, Y) are (1000, 250). You could even have different (X, Y) for different membership levels, so pawns refresh slower and are maxed out on a lower level than rooks.
Eventually, my chip count will drop below 250, and I can no longer join a poker table. Will be get new chips? If so, how often? Do we have to buy new chips? Can I rob other players and get their chips? Can I play a chess game for chips?
I noticed that if you timeout while having to put in a blind, you're kicked from the table. But when you timeout while you have to fold/check/call/raise, you just fold and remain at the table. Earlier today, I played some poker when one of the people repeatedly timed out. It wasn't until he was left of the dealer he got kicked.
IMO, it would be nicer for the other people if a timeout means the player gets kicked - he/she can always rejoin if she/he returns to the screen.
I'm trying to figure out the usefulness of the buy in. Except from barring people having less chips than 250 to play poker, what does it do? If the buy-in on a table is 400, and in total I own 800 chips, I can bring 600 chips to the table. Why would (wouldn't?) you do so? Now, I understand 'buy ins' if there's a house raking in a percentage, or if everyone starts with the same amount, and you play to some people are eliminated, but here there's no house and people are free to enter/leave each round. So, how much does the 'buy in' enhances the players experience here at BK?