Fix Coming For Party / Borgata Online Poker Software Crash Issue

UPDATE: Party / Borgata NJ Players Hampered By Software Issues; Network Says Fix Imminent

Party / Borgata Software Error
This article may be outdated. Get the latest news on New Jersey here.

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. 


New Jersey poker players experiencing MFC errors while playing at Party / Borgata can expect an attempt at a fix this week.

That’s per a post from Party’s representative on their dedicated 2 + 2 forum.

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.

The impact of MFC errors

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.

What is causing the MFC errors on Party / Borgata?

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:

  • The player has 10 or more tables opened at one time.
  • Tournament announcement pop-ups appear on screen.
  • The player is concurrently running other another online poker client or a HUD such as Holdem Manager alongside Party / Borgata.

That being said, casual players have also reported instances of MFC errors, albeit with lower frequency.

How widespread is the problem?

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:

  • A 2 + 2 thread entitled “Borgata / Party crashes on a nightly basis” has generated over 120 replies from over a dozen unique users since started in mid-November.
  • A similar post on PocketFives.com suggests a bevy of grinders are having issues with the Borgata client.
  • My own surveying of PocketFives members has resulted in more than 20 unique accounts of players experiencing software crashes on multiple occasions.
  • The majority of players have indicated that the crashes are occurring more frequently now than they did prior to September’s software upgrade – although this could just be coincidental or a result of the issue gaining visibility.

On the other hand, the software crashes haven’t deterred players at large from frequenting the network.

According to Poker Industry PRO (formerly PokerFuse PRO) via PokerScout , 7-day average cash game traffic on the network is up 32% since October 31.

Compare this to WSOP.com, which has experienced gains of only 27% over an equivalent time frame, despite boasting a much stronger promotional schedule.

Are players on WSOP/888 experiencing similar issues?

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).

How has customer service dealt with player complaints?

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:

  1. We’ve identified that it’s an issue with your ISP (clearly not the case). OR
  2. Regrettably, we were unable to identify the cause.

Patch to be deployed during GSSS II

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.

What can players do in the meantime?

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.

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Robert DellaFave
- Robert DellaFave is a game designer and avid poker player. He writes for several publications centered on legal US online poker and the regulated online gambling industries in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.