Full Tilt Poker, one of the most popular online gambling sites, had its operations suspended by regulators in the British Channel Islands, delivering another blow to an industry already reeling from a U.S. crackdown.
Until recently Full Tilt was the second biggest online poker room. In my opinion they were the leader in online poker innovation. I also considered Full Tilt’s online poker software to be the best in the business.
So how can commercial software exist and thrive where adequate free alternatives exist?
I’m not quite sure. But I’ll have some guesses:
Commercial software has better marketing
Consider Bugzilla’s top-listed “feature”: Optimized database structure for increased performance and scalability
JIRA says this at the top of their feature list: JIRA simplifies every step of tracking bugs for everyone involved.
I know which one is more likely to convince me it is software worth trying.
Commercial software often has better support
The financial imperative is a powerful one. When people are paying you for your software – and you require good word-of-mouth advertising – or you are trying to convert potential customers into paying customers – you have a strong motivation to support customers quickly and effectively.
Free software often costs less money but more time
Consider my free competitor, FPDB. Want to install it? Check out the instructions here. If you are brave enough and eager enough to take on that task, go for it. Otherwise, come back here and get Poker Copilot on your computer using our simple-as-can-be process.
Commercial software often does more, looks prettier, has better user guides, and is easier to use
The rule of “you get what you pay for” applies generally in software just as it does anywhere else in life. Yes, there are some notable counter-examples though.
Although I develop commercial software, I use free software everyday, as well as software I pay for. This is no “commercial software is better” manifesto. Just some reasoning going through my head that I felt compelled to blog.
Those of you with big Poker Copilot databases are probably familiar with the longish “Optimising Poker Copilot database…” process that runs whenever you start Poker Copilot. The next update partly eliminates this. The optimising will only be performed if there’s at least 10,000 additional hands in your database since the last optimising process. This means Poker Copilot will start up much faster.
I’ve never had a complaint about the slow starting up, but it certainly affects me when testing new features and searching for bugs. So I guess I’m the main beneficiary…
I’m the author of poker software called […]. I’ve read through your blog posts. I see you have a deal where you offer a free license to bloggers in exchange for a review. i really like that idea and am thinking of offering it myself. i was just curious how you handle the disclosure? Do you allow or want the bloggers to disclose to their readers that you offered them a free license in exchange? i would think that would taint the review, even if you obviously allow fully unbiased reviews.
A good question. My answer:
I tend to be very open to my customers about how I publicise my software. I’m quite happy for bloggers to disclose or not disclose, as they choose, that they got a free license. I’m also happy for them to write positive or negative reviews, short ones, or long ones, in a language I may not understand. With this promotion I’m seeking links in context, that help my Google ranking. I’d never do paid links to promote my software. That’s a big Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) no-no.
I _have_ learnt, however, to hold back the free license UNTIL the review is posted… Otherwise sometimes the review never materialises…
Therefore I have cancelled development of the next major version of Poker Copilot for Mac OS X, Poker Copilot 3. This was not a knee-jerk reaction. I’ve spent much time in the last two months contemplating how best to act.
But not all work on Poker Copilot is over. I’m going to take some of the planned – as well as some already-added – improvements from Poker Copilot 3 and add them to Poker Copilot 2. These will be free updates for all existing Poker Copilot 2 customers. All current and future Poker Copilot customers will continue to receive full support. I’ll keep fixing problems that arise as the online poker rooms update their software.
Support for PokersStarsBE (Belgium-specific PokerStars) added.
Merge Network stats now back to normal.
Note that the Merge Network all-in EV values are still wrong in some cases, and are likely to stay wrong. This is because of Merge’s idiosyncratic hand history format. In some situations there is not enough info in the Merge Network hand history file to calculate this correctly.