Monday, 26 October 2009

Trouble in Paradise

Saw a notice on a forum about the launch of the Paradise Poker Tour, run by the online poker site, which kicks off on London in December. I have a long standing hatred of the Paradise site, since their promotion of satellites for the Scottish Open in 2008. To recap briefly, they advertised a series of tournaments leading up to a super satellite, with 10 seats guaranteed, each winner getting a €2500 package for the event in August of last year. The Super satellite was only a €109 buy-in so it looked very good value, even more so when I was able to win into that via a feeder for only a few Euros. When the evening of the super satellite came, I settled down to play it, along with only another 151 runners, and was quite pleased at the prospect of an overlay of €8541 or €9900 if you exclude registration fees.

Strangely, at the appointed hour, the tournament failed to start. Their helpline person said there was a technical problem that they were working on, and to hang on, they expected it to commence soon. I thought, that's funny, every other game on the skin is kicking off on schedule, but for a while at least I believed the lie. About two hours later, my final call to the helpline got the response that "Oh, that's been cancelled now, players will receive an email tomorrow".

In fact, no email from Paradise was ever received, but I heard on the grapevine that a new satellite had appeared in the lobby the next evening. This time the buyin was €165, not €109, and there were NO guaranteed seats. Everyone had been given a €109 tournament token, plus a cash credit for €56, to make up the difference. I used the token for a sit and go, withdrew the cash, and watched amazed as only thirteen players started the rearranged satellite - which naturally generated no seats.

I thought that was a huge mistake by Paradise - their pathetic attempt to save the overlay would surely backfire on them? Giving away the €56 Euro credit to everyone cost them €8456, not to far away from what the overlay would have cost, so it just seemed so stupid. The bad publicity would hurt them, I thought. I fired off an email to them complaining about them welshing on their promotion, and pointing out that the positive publicity of having 10 players wearing their logos at the event in Edinburgh, one of whom may well have won it, would surely have been worth the comparatively small cost of the overlay. Paradise/Sportingbet never even bothered to reply to my email, the poker magazines made nothing of it, for fear of offending an advertiser, which pissed me off, and I vowed never to play on there again.

Until today. I admit I was weak and tempted by the thought of a tour event in London with a £500 buyin. So I shoved a few quid on the site and played a feeder satellite. During the game I had the good fortune to hit my second-ever Royal Flush, which was very nice. The only other time it has happened was about eighteen months ago, on a 12c/25c cash table, and it earned me about $30. On this occasion, it would be nice to report that I went on to win the satellite, but that didn't happen, due to some muppet who limped in the small blind. I looked down at AQ in the BB and shoved, "arsenal110" clearly thought it was worth calling with K6 off and duly hit a 6, which decimated my stack. In the next three hands I had Queens beaten by 9h 10h (all in pre-flop, he hit a flush on the turn), Q5 failed to outdraw pocket 6s (yes, just a suggestion of tilt there, I'll grant you), then Ks9s let me down, allin on a KKA flop, when I found myself up against KJ and A6. Maybe me and Paradise really should just leave each other well alone.

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