Sunday, June 28, 2015

The less things change the more they stay the same

In which we conclude that WSOPcom isn't even trying.

Those of you who read this blog with far more care and attention than it is written may have noticed that Part 3 of this series seemed to peter out unexpectedly. Specifically, neither the problem of mine that had been "escalated" nor its resolution were ever described.

Believe it or not, there was an excellent reason for this. Almost two years to the day since the problem in question arose, it re-arose [1]. And since I wanted to wait and see how everything panned out the second time, I decided to save the details for this final installment. Not surprisingly, the waiting took a while.

Rewind to a few weeks after the WSOPcom launch. Word began spreading [2] that the online site would "tier match" the loyalty level players had reached in the bricks-and-mortar properties of the Caesars Empire [3]. Of particular interest was the fact that the higher your tier level at WSOPcom, the higher your rake-back. (As I described in "A tale of two sisters" the more action you give a room, real or virtual, the bigger the benefits.)

Many of us who play poker at Caesars properties put in enough hours to earn the coveted "Diamond Card" which gives customers daily access to free chicken wings. We quickly ran the numbers and realized that a tier match to Diamond at WSOPcom would be worth enough to pay for a couple of dinners a month at a more pleasant venue than our usual choices [4].

I promptly wrote to WSOPcom support asking for a tier match.

Support thanked me for my e-mail and cut-n-pasted a bit from the website describing how many APPs [5] were required to reach each tier level.

I replied to the e-mail in considerable detail.

The reply to my reply made it clear the customer rep had no idea what I was talking about.

The topic appeared at the WSOPcom 2+2 thread in which the forum rep suggested we e-mail support with our Total Rewards number and WSOPcom screen-name.

Seventy-three posters found different ways to tell the rep we'd already tried that, six of whom also managed to work in flattering remarks about Allen "Chainsaw" Kessler.

A mere forty-eight hours later the rep returned with new, exciting information. After a couple of paragraphs that seemed mostly concerned with how hard the rep had worked doing this wonderful thing for us (i.e., giving us access to a promo his company had allegedly launched), and several other innuendos that we had no idea how lucky we all were, the exciting information was revealed. It was an e-mail address that was to be used specifically to request the tier match and for no other purpose.

Nobody asked why this was necessary.

Actually there really wasn't time for much further discussion because almost immediately we all discovered exactly the same thing.

The fucking e-mail didn't work.

I don't mean that sending the required information to this new, super-special e-mail address failed to produce the desired tier match. That would be wholly unremarkable and frankly par for the course. No. The e-mail address didn't exist.

I forget how this was eventually sorted out. I think we were advised to e-mail regular support again and ask them to forward the e-mail to "bonuses and promotions." Suffice it to say that even once the correct party got the information it took another seven days for the tier match to go into effect. And during the intervening period none of us were getting our increased rake-back. It was costing us money, and costing WSOPcom action and any remaining credibility it might have had with its customers.

Then we found out the tier match was only good for a month.

It almost appeared that WSOPcom was doing its best to be so utterly incompetent that it forced its fuming customers back to its own bricks-and-mortar card rooms. Which is where I was a few weeks ago when a fellow grinder mentioned to me that the tier match was back on! It was again for a limited time, with the boost to rake-back applying for the calendar month in which it was granted plus the entire following month.

Being something of a nit, I e-mailed in my request for a tier match a few minutes after midnight, June 1st.

I won't reproduce all the e-mail exchanges since some of you may have just eaten, but here are the salient details and a few excerpts.

June 1st: I requested a tier match and sent all required information.

I got a response within a few hours which I will include in full because it hopefully demonstrates I'm not making this up, plus getting such a speedy response is something of a record.

Hey Meowlzebub,

Thanks for contacting us; my name is Brandon and I'll be helping you today.

I understand you would like to have your status matched with your Total Rewards Account.

Please be advised, I have escalated your request to our Promotions team to be reviewed. There is a timeframe of 7-10 business days for this to be completed/ an update sent to you.

On another note, I have reviewed your account and see you have been doing well with us so far. I would like to wish you continued success at the tables.

It's a pleasure to have you as a player, and we look forward to helping you again in the future.

Okay, I included it because Brandon for some reason felt it was necessary to look at my win-loss record and frankly I'd been crushing it.

It occurred to me that if WSOPcom employees chose to mind their own business it might cut down on the 7-10 business days required to comply with this simple request, but I was so surprised to get a competent response at all I let it go.

It was a little disappointing to not hear from them again until June 8th, when I was sent instructions on how to link my WSOPcom and Total Rewards accounts. Since they were already linked (the former shows up on my monthly summary from the latter), it was apparent to me that we were in the early stages of a fuck up. However, in an effort to minimize any further delay I followed the supplied link to an obscure part of their website and filled out a form linking the accounts that had been linked for the last two years.

On the third attempt at pressing the button I did not receive a stream of C++ and a browser freeze. Instead the pop-up told me I'd been a good boy.

On June 10th I received an e-mail apologizing for something and which informed me my accounts were now linked.

I replied that they had been linked for the last two years and that what I actually wanted was a tier match.

One June 11th I received another apologetic e-mail:

Hey Meowlzebub

Thank you for contacting us. My name is Marcia and I will be assisting you today.

Let me take this time to commend you on being at Gold status. It is indeed a pleasure to see you doing so well.

In regards to your query, the Tier Credits for a given month will be credited by the second week of the following month.

This is why you are not seeing anything as yet.

Nonetheless, for every 1 APP earned on, you will be given 1 Tier credited.

It's a pleasure to have you as a player, and we look forward to helping you again in the future.

I appreciate that if you don't live in this sort of hell it may be a little difficult to follow the details here. You may therefore simply prefer to take my word for the fact that what is being described in this e-mail has absolutely nothing to do with getting my WSOPcom tier status matched to my Total Rewards Diamond status. And while you, the reader, may not know that, it is something that customer service reps for WSOPcom would readily understand if only they were given the necessary training and information.

I explained that the APP-TC exchange rate was completely irrelevant to what I had, for the past eleven days, been trying to accomplish, and got another e-mail:

Hey Meowlzebub,

Thanks for contacting us; my name is Clinton and I'll be helping you today.

With regards tyo your request, I have forwarded this off to be looked into. Please allow up to 72 hours for an update on this. 

We apologize for the inconvenience and thank you for your patience in this matter.

Forwarding things off to be looked into sounds like sending a tissue sample to a lab for a biopsy. Except for a WSOPcom tier match it apparently takes longer. And by the morning of June 13th I was steaming:

This matter has still not been resolved. It's absolutely pathetic that you offer a TR/WSOPcom tier match for a month and nearly half the month has already expired without the match being made. Either discontinue the promotion or expect to explain this laughable incompetence to the Nevada Gaming Control Board.

Seventeen minutes later I received the reply:

Hey Meowlzebub,

Thanks for contacting us, and please accept our apologies for the delay in responding. My name is Imani and I will be assisting you today.

Please be advised that your WSOP account matched to your Diamond status on your TR.

I logged on and found that, indeed, my WSOPcom account now showed as Diamond.

And I concluded that WSOPcom is just fucking with us. Getting this tier match should be as simple as pressing a button, even if it takes three tries. It should not take thirteen days. And I can only speculate how much more time and money I would have lost had I not uttered the magic incantation.

Nevada... Gaming... Control... Board.

That's how you get your problem "escalated" kittens. You threaten them with the grown ups.

[1] I tried that word without the hyphen and it looked like a reference to some sort of colonic irrigation therapy. Since I feel I have conclusively demonstrated that WSOPcom can't (or won't) get its shit together, this struck me as overkill. 

[2] I use this construction deliberately. There was considerable doubt as to the reality of this offer for a couple of weeks because it was apparently announced on part of the website that would periodically disappear.

[3] I'm sure I'm not the only one to imagine departing, corpulent supremo Gary Loveman wearing a toga and playing a violin as flames from The Mirage volcano set fire to the roof of the Forum Shops.

[4] Most of us can only afford to eat out if we use comps; typically a pastrami sandwich at Nosh.

[5] I have no fucking idea.


  1. A case study in how to run an online poker site and guarantee failure. Amazing, actually.


  2. Hey Meowlzebub,

    So, yeah... we made a mistake. The July promotional email we sent yesterday mistakenly listed the starting time of today's Online Bracelet event as 3pm.

    This tournament will actually begin at 12pm, with late registration extending until 3pm.

  3. And this is easier and less stressful than teaching college students physics how? Slinkie M Katard

  4. No grading. How you doing, Katie?

  5. wow ! still alive and kicking .. and wit and repartee to boot, fucking loving it



  6. In case anyone still checks this thread: how does one go about linking TR with Have (unsurprisingly) little luck in asking

    1. I got an e-mail about it just after the switch. No idea if it actually worked.

    2. Thanks! Still engaged in back-and-forth (mostly forth) with