Reflection on the PokerStars Update that Broke Poker Copilot

As is now clear, PokerStars released an update on Saturday that broke Poker Copilot. Fortunately I was able to quickly release an update that fixed the problem. (Download Poker Copilot 2.101 here if you are still affected by the problem).

I woke up on Saturday morning and checked my emails before getting out of bed. Bad habit, I know. My Poker Copilot inbox was overflowing so I knew something was afoot. I read the first few messages and they were all variations of this:

“help! after the PokerStars update, my HUD is not working!”

Okay, I thought…let’s do this right. Shower first and have some breakfast – including a nice strong café con leche. I had a suspicion of what the problem might be, due to something I had encountered and fixed for the new PokerStarsDK (Denmark-specific PokerStars) a few days earlier.

Before doing any coding and answering any emails, I read through all the emails and the Poker Copilot discussion forum. I have some clever users who often work out the problems for me. And there it was: a clever user indeed posting as ‘nerd’ had found the problem: a slight change to the first line of each PokerStars hand in the hand history file.

I had already fixed this in the latest unofficial Poker Copilot release. I updated PokerStars, tested it with Poker Copilot, and found it worked as expected, so I could simply make the unreleased 2.101 update the official update.

However there was another problem: a flaw in Poker Copilot’s ‘auto-detection of updates’ code. It thinks that 2.101 is an earlier release than 2.99, because mathematically, 2.101 < 2.99. So nobody is being automatically informed that there is an update. This means that I've received a steady flow of emails reporting the problem. I've been doing a lot of 'copy & paste' emailing.

The variety of tone in the emails is fascinating. A few are slightly panicking. One or two people are rather demanding, some are apologetic as if it is their fault, others admit they’ve become addicted to playing with the HUD. Most people are warm and civil.

Secretly I like these emergency problems. They are highly motivating and they give me a chance to demonstrate speedy support. In the first year or so of Poker Copilot these situations happened often and I always seemed to have a uptick in sales afterwards.