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comments about PlayOK
#1
Well, at this point we have no reason to believe that Yahoo is ever going to revert to a play-for-free model; they're directing us to a site where there's a fee to play. Not a large fee, to be sure, but still a fee. That doesn't really appeal. Everywhere else I've tried, has tons of issues. PlayOK at least keeps the overall play environment clean and simple.

They have a timer on everyone ALL the time. The length is set when the table is created, and this is something to be wary of. Longest I've seen is 30 minutes (per hand); shortest has been 7 minutes. That's for you to make every bid and every play. I won't play on a 7 minute table; there's NO time for any consideration. Even a 10 minute table is problematic if the game runs on for quite a few hands. To me, as well, people setting tables that short, are much more likely to be...bad players. They play without thought so they want to force their opponents to do the same. If you're at all a slower player...you prefer to take your time counting meld, for instance...pay attention to the time setting before you start a game.

Standard of play: miserably low, BUT the problem may be that there hasn't been enough time/play to really get a player spread. Yahoo had social/beginner/intermediate/advanced rooms; that doesn't exist here. Everyone starts at 1200; the ratings spread in the one room with a decent number of players, is from 1555 down to 1043. OK, I'll be the first to tell you: ratings mean very little. But they do help give *some* separation. Or perhaps it's the fact that there's classification to the rooms. Here, so far, I'd say almost everyone is at social/beginner level; I'm seeing so, so many basic mistakes...holding all remaining aces, and some 10s...but playing the ace...playing a suit where you hold ALL the remaining aces...pass-50-51, the absolutely worst bid you can make IMO...it goes on and on.

And the attitude is pretty much equally bad. Bad players *KNOW* how to play...they read Pinochle for Dummies and it's their bible. So *expect* accusations of cheating all the time, if you actually make a tactical play that works. Like this hand. East was declarer, in clubs. I sat South with

AHXHXHXHACTCKCKCADADADTDQDJDASASASKSQSJS

At trick 1, East cashed AS; nothing interesting showed. At trick 2, East exited with a QC. HECK YEAH, I ducked. Why not? I have spades locked. I can let West cash 1 diamond ace, probably. I *am* worried about hearts; East could have them. If West wins this trump trick...I'll find out the heart position (mostly). BUT...maybe it goes Q, K, T, to my partner's ace...or Q, K, J to my partner's 10. The first is nice, the second is awesome. IIRC, it went Q,K,T to my partner's ace. He cashed AD and AH then returned QC, KC to my TC. And at that point, East was convinced we were cheating. EVERY card played by us was an easy, easy play to a thinking player, but East wasn't one of those.

PlayOK also has no chat capability in the lounge. This is both good and bad; social/beginner rooms on Yahoo often got totally trashy, but noting those who did heavy trash talking, helped identify the morons to avoid. AND, it would help maybe set up one room (there are 7 or 8, but you automatically get dumped into the first non-full one) for the higher-rated players.

Unfortunately, tho, for right now it's the best site I know of. Hopefully when the ratings spread more, some of the issues with terrible players and their often equally terrible attitudes will disappear. And even with these warts, PlayOK still seems better than anywhere else I know of right now.
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#2
I just linked this post from the front page. Would love to hear of other's reviews of PlayOK pinochle.
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#3
I played there tonight. It takes some getting used to. The interface is super simple. I wonder how much it would cost to create and maintain our own pinochle playing system.
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#4
Simple is good, with regard to interfaces. Overly complex, busy graphics do little or nothing but create distractions.

Building the program would be non-trivial, ergo probably not cheap. Then pay for hosting/traffic.
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#5
I wonder how much the hosting/traffic/maintenance would be.
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#6
Getting annoyed with PlayOK more and more. The player base is weak, but more and more, it's the dealing that's been getting to me. I just don't know if I trust it. If I'm bidding with an 8 card trump suit, there's 12 remaining. They should generally be evenly distributed; 4-4-4 and 5-4-3 should be the most common. On PlayOK...doesn't seem that way. Might be selective memory...but man, it seems like when I've got 8...someone else has 7 MUCH too often. Sometimes defense, sometimes dummy...but things aren't even. I also see more 8-7 and 9-7 and similar 2-suiters, and more stiffs and even voids. It's very hard to tell for sure; hard to build hand histories. But it sure seems that the hands don't come very close to theoretical norms.
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#7
Re: what it takes to have your own site. When I started writing my web version (player against computer) of Double Deck Pinochle a couple of years ago I looked around at what was out there. I had played a few games on Yahoo several years ago, nowhere else.
I saw there were a couple of game engines which looked like they could be configured to control the flow of players to play any game based on rules set up. As I recall it was just a software package to buy, don't recall any details. But it beats writing a multiplayer from scratch.

Hosting wise, I think some of the software I saw was Java and that limits hosting options somewhat but maybe there's one that's PHP.
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#8
Play ok spades is full of cheaters. the site  allows logins from the same ip addy.. you can tell when your being cheated by the cards their partner leads. People are very rude!!
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#9
People can be rude, but players from the same IP are also flagged now.  As for leads...sometimes that holds, but often what might look like cheating, has a solid basis behind it.  Then you have to consider the wildly erratic bidding and play.  Unless something's seriously egregious, I want to see a recurring pattern, not just a single incident.

EDIT:  argh, can't find it.  Had a game in the last few days that could *easily* be read as cheating, but it's PlayOK bidding.  My partner grossly overbid twice...hit me with a run in his poor trump suit, and he needed it all, and caught me with a big, passed hand on another.  By the same token, I believe it was the same game where I gave partner 30 meld, and my net contribution was 40.  We were set by 8...not 2 or 3, but 8.  OK, that one I can find.  My partner's hand is highlighted:

           S AJJJ

           H KJJT
           D AKQTT
           C AAAKQQT

S KKJT     +-------+  S AKKQTT
H AAKQTT   |   N   |  H AAQJ
D KQ       | W   E |  D AAKQQJJT
C AKKKQJJJ |   S   |  C QT
           +-------+

           S AAQQQT
           H KKQQJT
           D AKJJT
           C JTT


[Auction "N"]
50 53 Pass 54
65 Pass - 70
pass

I show 30;  he's got 6, and on a GOOD day, 9 tricks (6 trump, 2 diamonds, 1 spade).  He needs me to kick in 12-16 more than I've shown.  Get real;  it's not going to happen very often.  

Oh, here it is.  I was looking at the wrong game.  South was dealer, so West opened.


           S AQT
           H AKQQJJT
           D AQJJJ
           C AQQTT

S AKKQQJ   +-------+  S AKQJTT
H AKQT     |   N   |  H T
D AAKQQ    | W   E |  D AKKQJTTT
C AAKJJ    |   S   |  C AKKQJ
           +-------+

           S AKJJT
           H AAKKQJJT
           D KT
           C KQJTT



[Auction "S"]
53 55 70 Pass
Pass 75 Pass

I've got the South hand.  I don't like 75 there when we've only got 45 meld.  I've only got 7 tricks, no texture, and no shape.  But my partner has *less* shape and *less* texture...he still bid 75.  OK, I can have a fair bit and still pass, but really?  He doesn't have tricks...3 side aces and probably only 3 trump tricks, with that suit.  Of course we pull 36 in the end because everything's working almost perfectly.  Would I blame the opponents for muttering about cheating?  NO.  Was it?  Absolutely not.  It was typical PlayOK bidding...part clueless, part dare, mostly stupid.
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#10
that don't have nothing to do with what I said.. There is a private chat built right into the software, where 2 partners can share information about their hands. AND THEY DO!
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