Most helpful critical review
6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Clock runs really slow
on March 3, 2010
It's unfortunate that I have to give this product such a low rating, because there are good aspects to this product. We used it in custom tournament mode rather than letting it set up a tournament for us, although I did test that a bit in a non-game setting. Mostly, it did seem to work as advertised. However, there were several issues we found.
On the good side, it does have a good, bright easily-read display. Also it remembers whatever custom tournament settings you put into it after you unplug it, at least for a few days (haven't tested this over weeks or months).
The main issue is that the clock ran very slow. We discovered this by accident during our first round when a clock in the house with a chime "beat" the poker timer to the top of the hour, and not by a small amount. A timing test using a stopwatch on a smartphone during the second round showed that when 30 minutes elapsed, the poker timer was still showing 1 minute and 20 seconds left in the round. Some jokes were made about being on "poker time" (think "tropical island time"), the clock moving near lightspeed, or suggesting we break it open and try to figure out to overclock it to get it back on pace. We did continue to use the clock by mutual agreement through the rest of the tournament, but it was disturbing that a modern digital timer would be that far off. Maybe I got sent a bad poker timer, but it made us question the quality of the product , considering what I'd paid for it.
Other issues were less serious, but are noted below.
As other reviewers have pointed out, the alarm sound is loud and annoying, although fortunately it only lasts about 5 seconds when it goes off and it would be nice if it had a volume control. Also people have pointed out the lack of an on-off switch -- you pull out the power plug. You do have to hold a button down when powering up to set up a custom tournament, and also to erase those settings.
An annoyance in custom tournament mode is setting up the big blind. When you program the small blind and then move to the big blind, it defaults the big blind to the value of the *small* blind, meaning that you'd generally have to change it. It would make more sense to default the big blind value to double the small blind (the typical value) to make the setup of a custom tournament much quicker.
The manual is understandable, although there are a few places where there were supposed to be symbols (indicating buttons and such) which were replaced with gibberish (accented letters) and you would have to figure out the intended symbol.