February 2009
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Ten billion silver jubilees

This is really only marginally interesting, even to geeks like me, but it grabbed my attention for a few minutes.

PokerStars are approaching their 25 billionth poker hand, and promotions abound.

This includes a 25% deposit bonus up to $250 maximum which sounds great, until you realise the daily deposit limit on almost every payment method is $600.

I already emailed support and got my limits increased just for this, which was pretty easy but it took a few hours to get it cleared so if you’re planning on maxing out this bonus don’t leave it until the last minute.

Every million hands leading up to #250,000,000,000 some fireworks will go off and the table that’s dealt a hand number ending in six or more zeros will have some free money thrown their way.  Expect to see more 1c/2c tables running than you ever thought possible as the big one approaches.

Anyway, I noticed something funny was going on in the lobby this evening as they began streaming a live update of how long until the next hand, and who got lucky in the last one.

Turns out you needed to restart the client and download an update for this to work properly, otherwise it scrolls through this code, which I’ve crudely pasted together:

After the update, this is what you see:

Unless the milestone hand is actually in progress, in which case the message is slightly different.

So what do we learn from this about the the PokerStars software?  Not much, only that the scrolling text area in the lobby is not just displaying a fixed message pushed down from the server – it’s actually capable of some rudimentary program logic.  Why?  I don’t really know.

And we can see that inside the brain of the operation they actually refer to every billionth hand not as a "milestone" but as a "jubilee".

As I said, marginally interesting at best.

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