Zen Poker Room - Video Poker Tournaments

Discuss video poker programs for the home user
SleazyRider
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Zen Poker Room - Video Poker Tournaments

Post by SleazyRider »

This topic is about the Video Poker tournaments in the VideoPoker.com poker room run by Zen Gaming at the Zen site.  The advertisement with the link is prominantly displayed on the home page when you log in here.  It is one of the rotating ads in the large window, the one with the poker tournament table.


The initial announcement of the VideoPoker.com poker room by Webman and the resulting discussion thread is archived further down in this group of topics on "Video Poker Software".
 
I note that there are about two weeks a month when there are no contests at this site.  Those members here who are looking for some action when there is not a contest going on at this site might find it worthwhile to play in the videopoker cash prize tournaments at the Zen site.  The concepts between the contests held here and the tournaments are different.  In the contests, only your best score from roughly a week of play counts in the standings.  In the tournament play, each tournament is independent of the others.  In the contests you are competing against all those who entered the contest at any time, while in the tournaments you are competing against only those playing in that particular tournament.  In the contests, those who can devote more time to playing in the contest have a better chance of winning the contest.  In the tournaments, those who can play in more tournaments have a better chance of winning more tournaments, but each person entered in a given torunament has (in principle) an equal chance of winning that particular tournament.  At this time, Members have a much better chance of winning prizes in the Zen VideoPoker Tournaments than they do in the contests here.  It looks like there are only about 500 of our members  playing in the tournaments at present, while about 8000 members participate in the contests.  However, there are a large number of the players in the Zen Videopoker Tournaments who are not members here.
 
Previously I posted a question about why more of our members weren't playing in the Zen VideoPoker Tournaments.  There was quite a bit of a negative reaction about the Zen site, particularly about Zen Tech Support.  It would seem to me that the potential benefits from playing at the Zen site would be worth a certain amount of effort to get started there or resolve any problems there.  Besides, maybe we could get some of the problems fixed at the Zen room if there were more interest from the members at this site in playing in the tournaments there.  Since there is little information available unless you can download the software, I suppose that there is little incentive to persist if you have problems.  So I will summarize what is available that you should want, so that you will have an incentive to persist if you are having problems in installing the software.
 
Note that the Zen Tournaments are void where prohibited by law.  At last report, I heard that they are prohibited in Okla. and Miss.  In the rest of the states, they are considered a Sweepstakes, not gambling.
 
I would like this thread to collect various facts and issues in one place.  Hopefully, we can find out what some of the problems are.  We can probably provide some community-based support for known problems if Zen Tech Support is slow or lacking.  As well, members can report new problems as they arise, as well as any known work-arounds for them.
 
In the VideoPoker.com room at the Zen site there are 30 videopoker tournaments daily with a $5 cash prize.  There is a weekly Championship Tournament, which requires qualification, with a $100 prize pool, including a $50 first prize and $25 second prize.  The format of the cash tournaments is 100 deal triple play draw poker. The 100 deal cash prize tournaments last 16 minutes.  The software appears to be derived from the triple play software used here, with a clock and leader board added.  The daily tournaments alternate between Double Double Bonus Poker (9/6) and Deuces Wild Bonus Poker (99.45%). All times are given in Eastern Time.  The cash prize tournaments are on the hour and alternate on a fixed schedule with Double Double Bonus at 5 PM.  In addition, there are also cash tournaments on the half hour in the evening between 6:30 PM and 11:30 PM, alternating on a fixed schedule with Double Double Bonus at 6:30 PM.  The Weekly Championship Tournament is always Double Double Bonus. In the daily tournaments, the minimum number of hands to complete is 2.  In the Weekly Championship, failure to complete 100 hands results in disqualification.  The credits won in playing during a tournament work similar to the system used in our contests here.  Only the credits won are recorded.  Clicking the "max bet" button sets the credit total to "0" and deals the first hand.  Afterwards, only the winnings are recorded.  The highest total score in the tournament receives the $5.00 cash prize.
 
Entry into a tournament requires a "buy-in" of a certain number of points.  The buy-in for the cash prize tournaments is 500 points.  The buy-in points for a tournament form a "prize pot" which is divided among the top finishers in the tournament.   Points can be obtained in various ways.  Zen comps you 5,000 points when you first log in each day.  In addition, you earn an additional 500 points by taking a short daily survey from Zen.  Additional points can be earned by participating in offers from advertisers.  Watching short videos (commercials) is an easy way to obtain some additional points, but be wary of videos that also require you to download and install some software or something.  The points earned by watching a video will usually be credited correctly to your account.  With regards to participation in other offers, complaints (numerous?) have been reported about not receiving credit for points earned from an offer.  My attitude is "take the points that Zen comps you, and maybe watch a few short videos when available, and you have plenty of points to enter cash prize tournaments with, even if you don't win any additional points in the cash prize tournaments".  A "leader board" is maitained of the players' point bankrolls for the week.  The top 2,000 players receive an invitation to the weekly Championship Tournament, which has a free buy-in.  In addition, invitations to the Championship can be won in qualification tournaments, but they have a 350 point buy-in.  Invitations are issued based on the standings at about 6:01 AM ET Sunday, and the players totals are reset to zero.  In summary, take the points that you are comped, and you can play in plenty of cash prize tournaments per week.  If you do reasonably well in the tournaments during the week, you will probably qualify for the Weekly Championship Tournament as a matter of course.

 
Do not play in the Single Person Video Poker games.  Numerous complaints have been reported about problems with them.  The only thing that you can do in Single Person games is win or lose points from your bankroll, since you have to bet with real points from your bankroll.  And the only thing that you can do with your bankroll is win an invitation to the weekly championship, as far as I can see.  You get to keep 10% of your weekly bankroll as a separate Permanent VideoPoints Total, but I have yet to see anything that you can do with the permanent points.
 
I would like to have more of our members play in the cash prize videopoker tournaments in the Zen room.  After all, if more people play in the tournaments, maybe we could get some better prizes for the cash prize tournaments as well as add more cssh prize tournaments.  After all, the Texas Hold'em Weekly Champioship tournament has a $1000 prize pool, while the Videopoker Weekly Championship tournament has a $100 prize pool.  In addition, it looks like somebody is now sponsoring a $2000 prize pool Monthly Championship for Hold'em.

 
With regard to posts about possibly having a problem with the download from the Zen site I would like to make the following observations.
 
The download may not have installed properly.  When you tried to download it, it probably gave you a choice of either downloading or running the GameInstaller.exe file.  If you chose to run it, it should have installed an icon on your desktop for "VP Poker Room".  If  you downloaded the file, you have to find where you downloaded it and execute it.  Once you install it, double click on the icon to log in to Zen.
 
Note the way the poker room works. This point was initially made by Webman.  You do not access it via your web browser.  Instead, you download and install a program onto your computer.  You then run this program on your computer, which goes out directly over your internet connection and connects directly to the Zen servers.  There is no web site involved, such as a hypothetical Zen.com website which would be accessed via your web browser.
 
Since this is a program that runs on your computer, you need to make sure that your system meets the minimum requirements for the program.
 
I am running Windows 7.  I downloaded and saved the GameInstaller file on my hard drive.  Then I executed the file to install the program.  I did not have any problem installing and getting the software to work.  I have been playing in the Videopoker tournaments since Sept. 2010.

If your are running Windows Vista, there may be problems with installing due to User Account Control settings, which may need to be changed.
 
When software updates were automatically issued by Zen in January and February, my Windows 7 had problems with User Account Control settings which required a workaround.  I assume that it will happen again in the future.  In addition, it is possible that new installations of the Zen software on Windows 7 may now be having problems with User Account Control settings.
 
 
I would like to have people post any problems that they are haveing with the Zen Videopoker Tournaments or software.  We will see what the Member Community can do to help.  I would like to know if anyone is having problems with screen freeze-ups during the Tournaments.  This used to be a common problem before new Zen software updates were released in January and February.  If it is still a problem, I will post the workarounds that I know.  In addition, I am planning a post about what  to do if a Table Window or the Main Program crashes or is closed by Windows.  I have seen this problem, including recently.
 
When posting a problem, please include the version of the Windows operating system that you are using as well as how how you connect to the Internet (Cable, DSL, etc.).  Any other relevant technical information about your system would be helpful.

 
The best time to sign up for the Zen Poker Room is probably on Sunday after 7:00 AM.  That way you will have the whole week to play in the tournaments and may even qualify for the Weekly Championship.  In addition, Zen will probably comp you a signup bonus to add to your bankroll for the week.
 

Casino Knight
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Joined: Thu Oct 05, 2006 12:14 am

Post by Casino Knight »

SleazyRider,Terrific review of Zen.  I've been playing there for almost a year. I have a folder with scores of responses from their tech support about the issues they are having on the VP side.  As far as I can tell they make no effort to address any of the problems, as I have yet to receive an email telling me that its fixed. Just "that we are aware of the problem, and are working on it", when I send a report/request.I bet our very own Webman could make a small fortune as a consultant to them, and have them squared away in no time.


SleazyRider
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Post by SleazyRider »

When I came up with the idea of a  Member community-based Tech Support topic, I assumed  that we would also have Forum Private Messages available for sending information as well as posting here.  An example might be a screen image.  However, Private Messages have been phased out.  If someone needs help with the Zen site, program, or tournaments, or wishes to call something to my attention, but does not wish to post it here, I can be reached at the following:
 
                     videopokerforumsr @ gmail.com
 
Note that the contact above has some extra characters added to impede "bots".  The contact follows the same convention as the forum contact that Webman has posted as:
 
                     forum @ videopoker.com

SleazyRider
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Post by SleazyRider »

Casino Knight:



 
Thanks for the info.  I would be interested in looking at what are some of the outstanding issues, if you would care to send me a copy of some of your correspondance with Zen Tech Support.  I had a major exchange with them, with even less satisfying results than you had.  I will summarize the exchange about screen freeze-ups below.
.

I sent Zen Technical Support the following message:

[QUOTE]
 
I have an ongoing problem with tournament window freeze-ups during VideoPoker tournaments. I have attached a Notepad text file that describes the problem in detail.
 
I would like to know what is the cause of the problem.
 
[/QUOTE]
 
The Zen Technical Support response was:
[QUOTE]
 
Our software creates a log file on your pc; that file may contain info that will help us determine the cause of this error.
 
logon and play as you normally would.  as soon as the error happens capture a screen shot of the error (instructions below) and shut down the software.

send us the resulting log file.
 
[/QUOTE]
 
With great difficulty, I eventually sent them a copy of a screen shot and log file of a freeze-up incident.

In the meanwhile, I had noted that AnneC had posted on the forum:


My game keeps freezing up so sometimes I don't even get the tourn. finished.
I don't like having to wait for the game to start when you just want to play a few hands either.
I tried it without the ads and it still froze up.
So, I deleted it. Not worth the hassle.
Anne
 

 
Eventually, Zen Technical Support responded with:

[QUOTE]
 
Thanks for the info. We passed it to the engineers; there's nothing in the log that explains why the tournament froze. The problem may be related to the ads - they use up a lot of system resource which may cause problems with the software's ability to keep going. The Elite membership turns off the ads. Upgrade your account - there's a seven day free trial and you'll only be charged if you keep the membership after the free trial expires - to see if you have better performance.
 
[/QUOTE]
 
My reaction to their response was pretty much unprintable.  All I can say is:
[QUOTE]
 
I can't get no satisfaction.
 
[/QUOTE]
 
In the long run, maybe my inquiry did had some effect.  Over time, the freeze-ups became more frequent.  I saw three freeze-ups during a single tournament several times.  There was a software update release around January 25.  Since tnen, I have seen a few crashes of the program, but only one possible screen freeze-up.  There was also another software update release on February 14.

If any of the players in the Zen Tournaments are still seeing screen freeze-ups during the Tournaments, I would like to hear about it, either by posting or email.

UofU #1
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Post by UofU #1 »

I became a member of Zen this week...Played a lot of tournaments...Wins are far and few between but enjoy the site.  I earned an invite to the tournament tomorrow for cash prizes also.  I don't care for the 3 minute timer on some of the tournaments and always end up at the bottom but I play.  I had the game won on a 3 min and couldn't finish with only 2 deals left and naturally lost...what a bubble buster...I wish we could chat with VP people while playing on Zen... Don't care for Zens chat..ThanksJan

SleazyRider
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Post by SleazyRider »

I would like to call attention to a condition in the Weekly Championship Tournament that some players may not be aware of.  In the $5 cash prize tournaments, players are required to complete at least two of the 100 deals.  In the Weekly Championship tournament, players are required to complete all 100 deals.


In the August 8 Weekly Championship Tournament, a player had a Royal Flush (4000), but only completed 92 hands and was disqualified.  The score would have been good for fourth place ($5 prize).
 
In the Weekly Championship, it is imperative that if you lose your internet connection, or the program freezes or crashes, that you attempt to rejoin the tournament and complete the required 100 deals.
 

SleazyRider
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Post by SleazyRider »

I suggested in the past that those members here who are looking for some action when there is not a contest going on at this site might find it worthwhile to play in the videopoker cash prize tournaments at the Zen site.  Under the new format for the Contests, there are Daily Contests held for the first 21 days of the month, and then the Monthly Contest for the rest of the month.  The number of sessions is still unlimited for the Monthly Contest.  However, players are limited to 5 or 8 sessions for each Daily Contest.  Now with the new Daily Contest format, I suggest that members play in the cash prize tournamets at the Zen site if they want additional playing time.

gtc
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Post by gtc »



I play the Zen $5 cash tournaments on a daily basis & it seems like the only time I have trouble with the site is after they require an update to their software. Last month, the video poker games on the site were down for about a week for "routine maintenance" which I didn't find out about until several days later and after sending numerous emails. Since then the site was working fine until today. When I logged on this morning, I was unable to access the server without downloading an "update". I downloaded the update only to find out that all the poker games, i.e. Tx hold'em, UFC hold'em, & royal hold'em were listed as usual on the site but video poker was not. I emailed the support desk who first told me that they were able to find the video poker games on my site, but I don't know how since when I logged in, it still was not available. So I emailed again & after waiting most of the day, they responded saying that with their new update, I needed to go into the control panel on my computer & set the display to the highest resolution. I checked & it was already set at the highest resolution (1600x900-recommended). It makes no sense to me how the display resolution would affect whether or not video poker was an option on the game list. Like I said, the other 3 poker games that are always listed were still there, just not the video poker. I emailed them again but as of yet, no response. I signed into the chat room on that site to see if anyone else was having a problem but got no response. Is anyone here that plays that site having a problem now since the upgrade? If Zen is having trouble with the server, I wish they would just say so, and inform us about when they think it will be fixed. I'm going nuts trying to figure out if it's something I'm doing, if anyone else is having the same trouble, or if it is just their site!

flamingomom
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Post by flamingomom »

I, too, play the Zen $5 cash tournamets almost daily.  Up until today, I haven't had any major problems with the site.  When I logged on today, an "update" ran and then the site loaded.  However, the poker screen now seems to have shrunk and the ad space to the right is overshadowing the area that shows your position in the rankings of that particular round as well as the clock.  Hopefully, this is a "glitch" that will be corrected soon.  It is too distracting, and I don't intend to play until these problems are corrected.

SleazyRider
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Post by SleazyRider »

gtc & flamingomom,
 

Thanks for posting.  Yes, I did have problems.  Your posts gave me some ideas to try and I did get it going finally.

I am running Windows 7.  I couldn't install the update because of the User Account Control settings, but I expected that because I had seen it before on previous Zen software updates.  If you are running Windows Vista or Windows 7 you probably have to turn UAC off, install the software, and then restore the UAC settings.  So I installed the software, and the VideoPoker button was there as expeced, but the Lobby window seemed a bit squashed in width.  When I got the Tournament "Table" screen, it was as flamingomom described it, squashed in width and missing the leaderboard, clock, and deals played. 
 
 I sent the following email to Zen support:
[Quote]I have attached a screen shot of the table window from a videopoker tournament with the new software release. How can your release such screwed up software? I hope that you will reinstall the old software. At least it sort of worked.
[/Quote]

In the automated Message Acknowledgement, it contained something about  screen resolution and recommended 1280 x 1024.  I couldn't see how that could affect it.
 
gtc, I noted that they told you to go to the highest screen resolution possible, which you said was 1600x900.  I use an old 19" CRT monitor (4x3 aspect) with a 1600x1200 max res. I normally run at 1024x768.  I logged in at the 1600x1200 res. and the Lobby looked ok.  So I switched to 1280x1024, logged in and played a tournament, and the window looked normal but a little small for my taste.  I eventually got it going at 1152x864, but this was difficult.  I think that I had to log in at 1280x1024, wait for the tournament to start, then kill the Table window and possibly the Lobby window, and then reset to 1152x864 and rejoin the tournament.

All I finally got in an email from Zen Tech Support was to set the monitor to the maximum resolution possible. 
 
I think that the new software must contain a width in pixels hard wired in that must be greater than the 1024 that used to work.
 
gtc, I think that the missing Videopoker button is something else than screen resolution.  The automated response also mentioned Flash problems.  (Zen: "3.  Getting a Flash error?  Our software looks for the MS Internet Explorer version of Flash.  If you have installed Flash using some other browser you will need to re-install it using MS Internet Explorer.")  Once you get the button, I don't know if 1600x900 is going to be enough.  I eventually got 1152x864, but I had to start at 1280x1024.  If the problem is the width and not the height, it might work.

If either of you still have problems, if you have another computer on your network with a 1280x1024 monitor, it would be worthwhile to download the Zen software onto it and give it a try.  I have an older XP computer with a 19" CRT monitor on it and I did download and install the Zen software. I haven't tried to play in a tournament with it.

I am out of time and energy for now.  Keep me posted.


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