UPDATE January 14: I have received confirmation from bwin.party that the software patch will not be issued until after the conclusion of the Garden State Super Series II.
Original story follows.
In an attempt to gauge how frequent – and costly – the software crashes are, I surveyed various members of NJ’s online poker community.
My findings suggest that a resolution cannot come soon enough.
In layman’s terms, an MFC error occurs when something happens within the Microsoft Foundation Class library that is not anticipated by the software. MFC errors are limited to Windows-powered machines.
The most common causes are bugs in the software, memory leaks, or bugs in a program the software is attempting to access.
The error causes the Party / Borgata software to crash – potentially when a player is involved in a hand.
Compounding matters, when players log back in after a crash, they report often find themselves sitting out from their tables. That, or they’re unable to view their hole cards.
With regards to Party / Borgata, the exact cause of player MFC errors is currently unknown, although the general assumption is that it has something to do with poor memory allocation.
Relative to other NJ-based poker products, Party / Borgata consumes a substantial amount of memory (more than double that of WSOP/888, and on par with programs such as Skype). This usage increases dramatically with each new table opened.
In my interactions with NJ players, I found that – anecdotally – the errors occur with a higher frequency when:
That being said, casual players have also reported instances of MFC errors, albeit with lower frequency.
While it’s impossible to gauge the exact percentage of Party / Borgata players afflicted by MFC errors, my research suggests that the problem is prevalent:
On the other hand, the software crashes haven’t deterred players at large from frequenting the network.
Compare this to WSOP.com, which has experienced gains of only 27% over an equivalent time frame, despite boasting a much stronger promotional schedule.
Not that I could find, although there have been accounts of Party / Borgata crashes causing a player’s other programs (poker or otherwise) to freeze up.
However, in most cases WSOP.com and 888 Poker NJ users do not report experiencing a disruption of service when Party / Borgata goes down.
This effectively dispels the common notion held by Party / Borgata’s customer service representatives that the issue is related to a user’s Internet Service Provider (ISP).
Players that have had the misfortune of interacting with Party / Borgata’s customer service or online gaming compliance team regarding their disconnection problems have generally described their experience as uninformative and misleading at best, and at times maddening.
CS reps have apparently offered little in the way of practical advice.
In the most commonly-recounted scenario, players are told that the team is investigating the issue and will get back to them when they’ve identified the root cause. Players then receive a response 1 – 2 weeks later with one of the following explanations:
On December 29, 2 + 2 Party representative Colette posted that the Party tech team had identified the cause of the MFC errors and was working on a permanent fix.”
The patch was originally scheduled to go live on January 5, but has since been pushed back until at least January 12.
Promising news, right?
Yes, but – recall, that in September, Party / Borgata deployed a substantial software update ahead of the first Garden State Super Series.
Then on the evening of September 14, the network experienced a “major system failure” which ultimately resulted in the cancellation of the GSSS Main Event and other tournaments.
While bwin.party Group Poker Director Jeffrey Haas extended a serviceable gesture to players affected by the outage, the damage to Party / Borgata’s New Jersey brand was undeniable.
Granted, next week’s scheduled fix is more of a software patch than full-blown upgrade, but I’d be lying if I said the prospect of a patch being deployed during a major tournament series didn’t make me a feel a bit uneasy.
Members of the poker community that I have spoken with share these sentiments.
Players experiencing MFC errors – or any issues with New Jersey’s online poker sites that are not being resolved to their satisfaction – should not hesitate to file a formal dispute with the NJ Division of Gaming Enforcement.
Note that filing a dispute requires players to first seek a resolution with the operator.