Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Buying fake chips for Facebook Texas Hold'Em is wrong in so many ways

So I love me some good ol' Texas Hold'Em, to the point that I was genuinely excited to spot Howard "The Professor" Lederer in person from afar during the World Series of Poker when my buddy Mark and I sojourned to Vegas a few years ago.

I've even befriended a couple of people in the flesh through Facebook's Texas Hold'Em application. I don't play as often as I once did, but it's a good way to maintain some level of skill without going broke. After all, while I covet the application's chips for the purposes of pride, I have nothing to lose other than productivity because they have no monetary value.

Tonight, I figured I'd get in a game before bed. That game never took place because I was so compelled to document the idiotic elements relating to the second-to-last option on the application's menu bar:
Yes, you read that right. "Buy Chips!" Meaning you'd pay real money for chips with no monetary value; for a game that yields no actual cash, no matter how often or many chips you win; for an application that GIVES you chips every time you sign on, albeit a small number of them.

Curious about this monstrosity, I clicked the "Buy Chips!" tab. And this order form popped up:
First came the shock that, with your credit card of choice, you could spend $100 a pop for fake chips that, once again, you could compile at no cost with just a bit of patience. Then there was the realization that the first option is described as a "better value." A better value than what, exactly? Paying $20 to get stabbed in the face with a rusty screwdriver? Not by much.

Upon closer inspection, some fuzzy math made me wonder if the person describing these "values" was ridiculously stupid, incredibly savvy or both:
For $50, you can get 300,000 fake chips -- supposedly the "best value." Mathematically, that's patently false, because with the "super value," you'd get more than twice the number of chips while only paying twice the exorbitant dollar figure.

But then kicked in my cynical side. Since only stupid people would pay money for free, worthless chips, maybe the application salespeople count on buyers who will just accept the "best value" as truth, blindly pay the $50 amount on a regular basis and never realize that they're not getting the best rate.

It's so crazy and evil, it's genius.