Poker controller lets players relax while raising
By Aaron Todd
The makers of the hand-held controller made by PokerControls, however, believe that their product can help players avoid costly misclicks.
The controller is compatible with most of the major online poker rooms, including PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, Party Poker, UB.com, Cake Poker, Ladbrokes Poker, Paradise Poker, Everest Poker, Absolute Poker and Titan Poker. With the device, players can play their in their favorite Internet poker cash games and tournaments without having to hunch over a desk and navigate with a mouse.
The controller itself looks like a video game controller. It can be plugged directly into a computer's USB port, or can be operated with batteries and a wireless USB port. The controller has "action" buttons on the right and bet-sizing buttons on the left. The action buttons include bet, check/call, and fold, while the bet-sizing buttons include X2, X3, X5, pot and all-in. The "X" bets multiply whatever the current bet is, and can be combined. First to open a pot on the flop and want to bet six times the big blind? Press X2 and X3, and the slider will show the correct bet size. Also prominently featured on the left is the "Raise-O-Meter," a wheel that allows the player to roll the slider on the poker room's software up one bet at a time until a precise bet is determined.
Players must confirm their bet by pressing the "Bet" button on the right before their action is final. Players can also check the fold, call, and/or check buttons on the client before it is their turn to act by pushing the appropriate buttons on the controller.
Across the top of the controller are buttons for "administrative" functions, such as APB (auto-post blinds), WBB (wait for big blind), Sit Out, Lobby and Enter (essentially clicking on a button that is highlighted).
The center of the controller includes a laptop style mouse pad along with left and right click buttons, which allow players to navigate with the mouse when necessary. The last button on the face of the controller is a "Tilt" button, which locks the player out of using the controller for 60 seconds.
Players who enjoy playing on more than one table at once can take advantage of the PokerControls controller by navigating through tables with silver buttons on the top that can scroll through the tables. The table that is being controlled is highlighted in red with a "Table in Play" label across the top.
The controller itself takes a little getting used to, and the sheer number of buttons can be a little intimidating. However, those players who grew up with a PlayStation in their home will have no problem adjusting to playing with the remote. The Raise-O-Meter is the most helpful function on the controller, as bet-sizing is a cinch. The Tilt, button, however, seems almost hazardous. While it's not easy to press by mistake, a player could unintentionally lock himself out of a game. Imagine hitting it by mistake, only to see pocket aces in the hole as you time out.
In deft hands, the PokerControls controller could definitely make an online poker player more efficient. That said, players considering purchasing the controller should know that it is best used for Hold'em and Omaha games and that it doesn't work well for stud-based games, as there is no button provided for the bring-in (pressing the "Bet" button forces the player to put out a complete bet instead of the smaller bring-in bet) and no button for auto-posting antes. While these tasks can be completed by using the mouse pad included with the controller, switching between the mouse and the button controls can be a bit clumsy.
PokerControls is available for $120 at the PokerControls online store, or you can purchase the controller with loyalty points earned at UB.com.